One of the unique experiences in my life was seeing my daughter for the first time in the delivery room. Immediately, I knew that I loved her. No experience or reciprocation earned my love. It was just there unconditionally.
Our Heavenly Father Loves Us by Adoption
Through that experience, I think I understand better why knowing God as Father is a comfort. As humans, God created us in his image. And so we can reasonably assume that our experiences reverberate even softly the life of God.
So when he calls us children by adopting us into his family, from the moment we enter into the family, we are loved unconditionally.
His love (since he is love itself) is freely shared with us. We abide in it because we abide in him: “And now, little children, abide in him” (1 John 2:28).
Like a Father who suddenly loves his child in the delivery room, so God loves his children through adoption.
And if we reflect, this is how it has to be. God is love. We cannot earn something from God when that something is God. All we can do is participate in it. All we can do is abide in him who is love—our heavenly Father.
Our Heavenly Father Loves Us Like He Loves Jesus
God has not left us without a perfect example of his love for his children. What the Father does for the Son, he does for us because we’ve been adopted into his family. Philip Melanchthon writes, “Because he favors Christ, he favors us” (2014: Commonplaces, 132).
Jesus prayed to the Father that God’s people “may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23). Note that he says, “loved them even as you have loved me.” God loves us like he loves the Son.
And God called Jesus his beloved son, watched over him his entire life, and accepted him into the heavenly places. All of this care is ours in Christ. God loves Jesus. He is the beloved son. And anyone who believes in Christ becomes an adopted child in God’s family. We then become beloved sons and daughters of our heavenly father.
Since the Father raised Jesus from the dead and glorified him, we know for certain what we too will rise from the dead and receive glory.
If you are a parent, you know but perhaps cannot explain the profound love you have for your children. It is just there. And you know that you would go to great lengths to save them from harm. The same is true with God. He sent the Son into the world to save us from sin, death, and Satan. He gave himself for us. And that’s a father’s love.