Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Seeing God as a Forgiving Father Prompts Our Love for Him

In his book Delighting in the Trinity, Michael Reeves compares two ways to look at God. First, there is the common view that God is the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. Reeves contends that if God is The Ruler and the problem is that I have broken the rules, the only salvation he can offer is to forgive me and treat me as if I had kept the rules. Then he gives the following analogy:

But if that is how God is (if he is primarily the Ruler), my relationship with him can be little better than my relationship with any traffic cop. Let me put it like this: if, as never happens, some fine cop were to catch me speeding and so breaking the rules, I would be punished; if, as never happens, he failed to spot me or I managed to shake him off after an exciting car chase, I would be relieved. But in neither case would I love him. And even if, like God, he chose to let me off the hook for my law-breaking, I still would not love him. I might feel grateful, and that gratitude might be deep, but that is not at all the same thing as love. And so it is with the divine policeman: if salvation simply means him letting me off and counting me as a law-abiding citizen, then gratitude (not love) is all I have. In other words, I can never really love the God who is essentially just The Ruler. And that, ironically, means I can never keep the greatest command: to love the Lord my God.

But then Reeves offers another way, the biblical way, to think about God—consider Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the beauty of the Triune God. Reeves write again:

It is a lane that ends happily in a very different place, with a very different sort of God. How? Well, just the fact that Jesus is "the Son" really says it all. Being a Son means he has a Father. The God he reveals is, first and foremost, a Father. "I am the way and the truth and the life," he says. "No one comes to the Father except through me" (Jn 14:6). That is who God has revealed himself to be: not first and foremost Creator or Ruler, but Father.

Related Sermon Illustrations

A Father Worth Waiting For

Author and YouTube video producer Kim Tate shares her story of finding an intimate relationship with her Abba Father in heaven.

It’s one of my most vivid memories as a girl: sitting ...
[Read More]

How God Feels About Humanity

We serve a God who created our humanity, weeps at the fall of our humanity, became our humanity, and is redeeming our humanity.

—Author Glenn Stanton

[Read More]