There is rarely something more beautiful than a changed life like the story of the prodigal son who from spiritual destitution and being alone is restored back into the Father’s house. In the loving embrace of arms that stretched out wide to greet him, pain, fears and failures were washed away in the overwhelming love that his father had toward him. So also for us. We too have come to know the Father’s love, and through our relationship with Him are finding the place of healing, confidence, identity and all the blessings of what it means to be a child of God. This was Jesus’ heart for us, that we would know the Father and His great love for us. John puts it beautifully when he writes in his first letter 1 John 3:1 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God, for that is what we are.”It is quite clear that the focus of Jesus first coming was to restore us into a loving relationship with the Father. It is no wonder then that there is a natural concern when considering the implications of the Bridal Paradigm and how this may affect our relationship with the Father. And so it should, because it reflects our love for Him. But let us be reassured that He will always be our Father and that because we are being awakened by a new romance with the Son is in no way a replacement of our love for Him, indeed it remains necessary for us to remain in the Father’s house, because it is here that we grow into the maturity that is capable of marriage, and this is the Father’s heart for us that we should mature and be ready as a Bride for His Son. It is only because we are first children of the Father, that we are able to be a Bride for the Son. And just as it is not possible to come to the Father except through the Son, John 14:6 neither is it possible to come to the Son except through the Father. When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane He said John 17:9 “I pray for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.” It is the Father who gives us to the Son. Let us then continue to grow into maturity that comes through a right relationship with the Father, but let us also embrace that that maturity is one which prepares us for the deepest love of all. What glory awaits us of which we barely conceive, yet the Spirit bears witness that what we are now is only the foretaste of what shall be. I will close with a favourite scripture of mine in 1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
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