Happy Father's Day!
To the Fathers and Sons of TPC,
Father’s Day is almost here and life is anything but normal. Over the past three months, 2020 has brought an unexpected season at home and abroad, and uncertainty still lurks ahead. Thankfully we know the One for whom nothing is uncertain, but the question still looms before each of us: how do we live faithfully both as fathers and as children – in the physical sense and the spiritual sense?
For the fathers among us, we find much needed direction from our Father from whom every family is named (Eph 3:15). Looking to God as our Heavenly Father shows us the source and pattern of what it means to be good earthly fathers. Pastor and theologian Sinclair Ferguson has a really helpful reflection, in which he points out that the world is patterned after God’s work. In creation, God worked six days and then rested and walked with Adam. As a son, Adam imitated this pattern – resting on the Sabbath and listening to his Father. In this way, Ferguson suggests the Sabbath was meant to be a weekly Father’s Day.
Tragically, sin spoiled that communion, and gave rise to the Fourth Commandment – to keep the Sabbath holy and to rest from all our toil. Externally, that means not taking on normal work – instead setting aside the day to meet with God our Father. Internally, that means resting from our own efforts and receiving God’s grace. We receive that grace from the true Son, Jesus Christ, who brings a restored relationship with our Father and true rest (Matt 11:28-30; Heb 3-4). While we eagerly and confidently await the return of our Lord, we struggle and strive to enter that rest (Heb 4:11) with all the grace that He powerfully works in us (Col 1:29). The Sabbath stands as a weekly reminder that we are not yet home, as Ferguson exhorts: when every day will be Father’s day.
How does this help us as fathers and children? First, the rest that we have in Christ – the perfect Son – allows children like us to live in gratitude and grace, knowing that He has, once and for all, reconciled us to the Father. When we fail, both as children and as fathers, we can repent and rest in the all-sufficiency of His perfect work. Next, in gratitude, we look to the work of the Father – who gives us all that we need, sustains us, and works all things together for our good. Finally, by the power of the indwelling Spirit we seek to imitate God’s character of lovingly and humbly serving those around us.
As husbands and fathers, we have a special calling to gently lead and sacrificially give through that service. This pattern is grounded in what we see between Christ and his church (Eph 5:22-33). It’s something we ought to know from God’s good creation – that being a good father means giving good gifts to your children (Luke 11:13a) – and yet under the conditions of sin we neither are perfect fathers nor have perfect fathers. We constantly fail and thus rely all the more on our heavenly Father to forgive us and lead us into the best things (Luke 11:13b).
What a comfort it is to know even when we miss the mark as fathers, we have a heavenly Father to forgive us and teach us his ways. Look to Him today and rest in His glorious grace for He loves you with a perfect love.
Josh Malone & Jason Bradshaw