Brethren Archive

The Love of the Father to the Son

by Inglis Fleming


It is well to look away from the things of time and sense increasingly, and to engage our mind with that which is eternal—with that which had no beginning and can know no end. It enlarges and enriches us if we turn in our thoughts from man’s fleeting day to that which was before the worlds began to be, before “the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy,” when

“The earth’s foundations

On nothingness were laid.”

For this the Holy Scriptures are our necessity. God alone could give us information concerning the eternal past and He has been pleased to do so in order that our renewed beings may reverence Him and delight in His unfoldings in His Word. There the glory of the Triune God, of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in various activities and relationships come before us whether in eternity or in time. At some of these—with reference to the Father and the Son we propose to look briefly.

IN ETERNITY

The only-begotten Son was in the bosom of the Father. In that hiding place of love He dwelt eternally. Ever delighting in the Father’s love and Himself the object of it eternally. This comes before us in John 1:18 (and see Prov. 8:22-3l). We see it also in John 17 where the Son is heard addressing the Father, we hear Him say, “Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world” (v. 24).

Amid the awe-inspiring recesses of eternity there were divine affections, the mutual delights of the Father and the Son. Little is revealed concerning them but that which is made known is for instruction and profit.

Then marvel of marvels we learn that in that bosom of eternal pleasures there were thoughts of us—for we were “chosen in Christ” then (Eph. 1:3), and the Son was foreordained then also to be the Lamb of sacrifice in order that redemption might be wrought for sinful man when Time had begun and sin had come in and brought ruin and sorrow in its train.

IN TIME

When ages had rolled on in their course we find the beloved Son come to carry out the Father’s counsels of grace to have many sons brought to glory, and through His atoning death to glorify the Father about the whole question of sin. Now in righteousness believers can be in joy before the Father’s face, conformed to the image of His Son, so that He may be firstborn among many brethren and have them as His companions with and like Himself, sharing with Him the riches of the Father’s love.

“The Word” which ever was “in the beginning” ever was “with God,” ever “was God,” became that which He had not been, “became flesh” and was manifested in this world—the Only-begotten Son here to reveal the Father. “God was manifest in flesh”—He who was ever the Son was now the Sent One of the Father.

IN HIS PATHWAY

And thus it is we see Him presented in the pages of the Gospels, the Object of the Father’s delight and love. His coming into the world and His holy pathway called forth the expression of that delight and love, and so the heavens were opened upon Him and the Father’s voice was heard declaring, “Thou art My beloved Son in whom is all My delight” Those thirty years of privacy at Nazareth had been an odour of a sweet smell to the Father, and on the part of the Son His delight had ever been in fulfilling the Father’s pleasure.

“Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business” He had said, when He was found in the temple by His sorrowing mother (Luke 2:49).

“I always do those things which please Him,” He could say later when declaring, “He that sent Me is with Me; the Father hath not left me alone” (John 8:29).

Then again on the holy mount, the voice is heard from the excellent glory, “This is My Son, My Beloved, in whom is all My delight, hear Him”—thus from God the Father He received honour and glory. And the Father calls attention to Him declaring His delight in Him so that we may find our delight in Him as well.

In suitability to this we find our Lord on His part delighting in the Father’s love. Rejected and opposed by men He retired into the home of affection, His Father’s love, and we hear Him saying, “The Father loveth the Son” (John 5:20). Consciously the object of the Father’s love He found His joy and rejoicing in the warmth and blessedness of this amid all the cold-heartedness of the Satan-dominated world.

“We beheld His glory,” says the apostle, “the glory as of an only begotten with a Father” (John 1:14). Wonderingly they contemplated Him in His pathway, viewing something of the glory which words could not describe. Full of grace and truth towards man, and being in the bosom of the Father in His own delight, there able to make the Father known—to declare Him.

And so adoringly we may trace Him in His ministry here—the subject One—come unto the place of dependence and obedience and yet ever remaining that which He ever was, the Son, by whom all things were made, the Son of the Father, “sanctified and sent into the world” by Him (John 10:36).

IN HIS DEATH

But with worshipping hearts we may follow Him until the hour of all hours when He who had glorified the Father in His life of ministry should glorify the Father in His death at Calvary.

In view of it He could say, “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I might take it again.” He gives the Father a new reason for loving Him, as it has been said. In His obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, He has shown His unswerving devotedness to His Father’s will.

Nothing could divert Him from that path. No deflection from it would He allow. If in His hot-hatred of sin He shrank from the drinking of the bitter cup of judgment, involving being forsaken of God when made a sin-offering, yet in His love and subjection He would take the cup from the Father’s hand and, carrying it to Calvary, drain it to its last dread drop.

We hear Him cry, “Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour! But, in His perfection He adds, “But for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy Name.”

What glories and perfections are these! And in them our souls delight and as we admire we adore. But what were they to the Father’s heart and eye? What delight was His in the love of His Son which led Him into the searchless depths of sorrow that His pleasure and purposes might be made good.

“I delight to do Thy good pleasure,” the Son had said coming into Manhood, and at all costs to Him that good pleasure has been effected.

IN GLORY NOW

Now we see Him exalted and glorified. The Father’s glory visited that dark sepulchre in which loving hands had laid His holy body. The Father had been glorified and now the Father would glorify the Son, and put Him on His throne in highest glory. “The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hand.” All judgment is committed to Him, “that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.”

The Father’s present love rests upon His Son as it ever rested upon Him. It is eternal love.

We see the Son glorified now with the glory which He had with the Father before the world was.

SHARED WITH US

But now redemption is obtained—obtained for us. And having accomplished redemption and being risen from the dead we hear the Son sending the message of His love to His own, “Go to My brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” He can introduce His own into this blessed relationship that He may share with them all that His love can share. To them He gives His peace, His joy, the Father’s words, the glory given to Him as Man, and gives them to know that the Father Himself loves them.

Thus we hear Him say, “I have declared unto them Thy Name and will declare it; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17).

In His unselfishness He withholds nothing which He can confer upon them (His own essential Godhead glory is incommunicable). Joying in the Father’s love He makes it known that we may share His joy with Him. The love of the Father not only resting upon us now but being in us—His love to us shed abroad in our hearts so that now we may find our chief joy in His deep affection, the embraces of His eternal love.

And there is added, “And I in them.” To conduct that love into our hearts, as it has been said, and every question as to righteousness being settled, knowing that we are now “accepted in the Beloved,” and “translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love,” we are free to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, and to sing

“His Father and our Father,

His God and ours Thou art;

And He is Thy Beloved,

The gladness of Thy heart.

We’re His; in joy He brings us

To share His part and place;

To know Thy love and favour

The shining of Thy face.

The love that now enfolds us

Can ne’er wax cold or dim;

In Him that love doth centre

And we are loved in Him;

In Him Thy love and glory

Find their eternal rest;

The many sons—His brethren—

In Him, how near, how blest.

I.Fleming

S.T. 1933






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