Brethren Archive

The Father’s Love

by Inglis Fleming

The love of God the Father to God the Son is revealed for our souls’ blessing and enjoyment, and furnishes food for our thought and delight now while on earth as it surely will for ever when we joy with Christ in His home of love, the Father’s house. Knowing the value of the redemption work of Calvary, and standing in the blessed results of it with our sins blotted out and our conscience cleared from every charge, we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus we are free and at leisure to have our hearts engaged with God’s thoughts of His Son through whom all our blessings have come to us.

The first declaration of that love was made at Jordan after our Lord’s baptism by John the Baptist. In “fulfilling all righteousness” He took His place with the godly remnant who were baptized in Jordan, confessing their sins. He, the Sinless One, thus linked Himself with these sinful but repentant ones in taking their first right step. But at once He was singled out from all, as heaven opened upon Him and the Father’s voice was heard saying, “Thou art My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11); while the Holy Ghost, as a dove, descended and abode upon Him.

May we not say that this declaration was in view of all his previous years spent in the privacy and retirement of Nazareth, while He awaited His Father’s word to go forth in the ministry of grace and goodness. Through all those years He was growing up as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground, and His perfect subjection and obedience were His Father’s delight. The incident in the temple where for a moment the veil was drawn back tells us where the Son’s delights were found. “How is it that ye sought Me?” He asks, “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” It was this that held His holy thoughts. The circle of the Father’s interests was that in which He moved. With what joy those words were uttered. With what joy those words were heard. And if His “Father’s business” should be His subjection to His parents He would go to Nazareth and remain with them there.

And this was the testimony at the close of His ministry even as it had been at the beginning. On the holy mount He was transfigured before the astonished disciples: Moses and Elias appearing in glory to speak with Him concerning His departure to be accomplished at Jerusalem. Peter rejoicing in the vision and wishful that the glory might be detained, proposes three tabernacles, one for the Son and one each for the honoured servants. But the glory will brook no such thought. The glory-cloud covers them and the voice of the Father from the cloud says, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him.” Moses and Elias must pass. They have no glory by reason of a glory that excelleth. The Son has come, and all others must be hidden. He must be heard, and all other voices be hushed in His presence. And this looks back upon His whole pathway of diligent, faithful service. His every step had been for the glory of His Father. His steps were those of the good man ordered of the Lord who delighted in His way.

The love of perfect complacency is before us in these passages in order that we may learn the Father’s deep delight in and affection for His Son.

And this love which was thus expressed on these two occasions was known and enjoyed unhinderedly through His goings. In John 3:35 we read of Him, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand.” He was the object of the Father’s fullest pleasure, for in everything He stood for the Father’s interests and glory, as we read, in chapter 1, He—“the only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father”—had come to declare Him. In chapter 2, His zeal for His Father’s house consumed Him, and alone He would cleanse the temple from all that was offensive and derogatory to His Father’s glory there. In chapter 4 He is seen going through Samaria to find a worshipper for the Father and so meeting all her need and freeing her in the presence of the giving God that she might be happy in His Presence, the well of water in her springing up to everlasting life. And so it is throughout this wonderful Gospel. It is the Father’s honour He seeks, the Father’s words He speaks, the Father’s works He does. The Father’s glory is ever before Him and He can say, “He that sent Me is with Me, the Father hath not left Me alone, for I do always those things that please Him.”

Again in John 5:20, and this time from His own lips we read, “The Father loveth the Son and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth.” That perfect love of complacency was ever His joy. In the sense of the Father’s love He moved from scene to scene of His way, supported in the midst of every ill, and retiring into that love as a place of refuge from every storm and conflict which He experienced in His path amid man’s scorn and hatred. He had come to do His pleasure, as it had been written of Him, “I delight to do Thy will, yea Thy law is within My heart.”

Then in view of the cross He could say, “Therefore doth My Father love Me because I lay down My life that I night take it again” (John 10:17). Now He who had ever been loved was giving a new motive for that love. His obedience was to culminate in death. In order that the Father’s will might be accomplished, He would go down even to Golgotha’s gloom. It was the Father’s will that many sons for Himself and many companions for the Son should live before Him. But for this the Son must go into death. From this, in His perfection, He shrank, for it involved His being forsaken of God. But in His perfection He went on until the work given Him to do was finished.

Now we know Him risen—raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. Blessed answer to all that our Lord had known of shame and ignominy here. “Of righteousness, because I go unto the Father,” He could say in view of that place of honour in which we know Him. For that glory has welcomed Him now as it saluted Him before on the transfiguration mountain.

But still we are to know Him as “The Beloved,” and our souls should rejoice to know Him thus, and to learn that to the praise of the glory of the grace of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ we are accepted in Him as “the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). His place of nearness is the only true measure of ours. We stand before His Father as our Father, before His God as ours. We are for ever associated with Him. He and we (who through His redemption work are for ever cleared of every charge) are identified. May we not say, as our hearts delightedly rejoice in this, that Christ is never seen apart from His own, and that His own are never seen apart from Him.

And again, if we turn to Colossians 1 we learn that we are called to give thanks to the Father for all that which He has wrought for us . . . “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Happy are His own who are brought under such a sway. The Son of the Father’s love has rule, a rule of love over all whom the Father translates into His kingdom, there to rejoice with Him in all the fatness of His house.

Well then may we rejoice now in the Father’s love to the Son as we wait to dwell in the home of that love for ever.


S.T. 1923

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