Brookfield Christian Reformed Church

God, the Father

A four-year-old knelt by his bed and prayed, “Dear God, take care of Mommy and Daddy and Grandma; and please, God, take care of yourself because if anything happens to you we’re all sunk.” We believe with that boy that the whole universe depends on God. He made it. He directs it. He takes care of it. “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

We believe that God is eternal. Before time began, God already was. Somewhere in his eternal existence, God planned his universe. This is called predestination. As an architect plans a building project before the first shovel of dirt is turned, so God planned his creation and its history. Then God created this vast and beautiful universe by his word, out of nothing. And now God rules over it all, shaping us and our world to his purpose.

By emphasizing God’s eternal plan, miraculous creation, and loving providence, we don’t deny our own responsibility to believe and obey. We simply recognize that behind and around and beneath our human efforts is God’s controlling and unfolding purpose.

God could have dealt with the world’s people in a variety of ways. He chose to do it as a Father. He made people his partners by calling them into covenant with himself. Covenant is an important idea in Christian Reformed thinking. It means an agreement by which God binds both himself and us to certain terms. God first made such an agreement with Adam and Eve in Paradise. He promised to be their daily companion; they promised to obey him.

But Adam and Eve disobeyed and broke the covenant. And since they were the parents and representatives of the human race, their sin involves us all. The generations born from those first parents were all born sinners in a sinful world.

But that didn’t change God’s decision to be a covenant God. He chose Abraham to father a new community of people. With Abraham and his children God made a covenant of grace unto everlasting salvation. The Bible teaches that today all believers in Jesus Christ are children of Abraham, members of God’s covenant family.

God, as covenant Father, not only binds the whole of himself to us, but also binds the whole of ourselves to Him. Our entire being is embraced in God’s covenant and must respond in faith, love, and obedience.

God’s covenant of saving grace includes the entire family, even tiny babies. That's why we baptize the infant children of believing parents. In baptism God declares publicly that they are his covenant children, that all his promises are for them too, and that therefore they must be set apart for a life of growing faith and obedient service.

The world belongs to our Father. That’s wonderful! We are the Father’s covenant children. That’s wonderful too! But most wonderful of all, the Father himself brings us into covenant with himself and leads us to everlasting life.


 

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