Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
Part 1. Our Father who art in Heaven.
Thus begins the familiar words that most of Christendom has known since childhood. But Jesus told the Jews, John 8:31-59, "You are of your father the devil," when they would have laid claim to being children of God and descendents of Abraham. So, you see, there are two families.
How then can we claim "Our Father…" with any assurance of truth" The Jews, addressed by Jesus, were the ones who had believed him when he spoke in the temple. Yet when Jesus challenged them, they responded, "Have we not rightly said you have a devil?" "Who do you say you are?" "Are you greater than our father Abraham?"
Saying the words, "Our Father…" is not enough. Believing is not enough. Customs, traditions, and ritual are of no use. Far from being a familiar bromide about "God being the Father of all mankind," this is a statement about a choice we have made, a declaration of our deliberate alignment with God's purposes on Earth and within His people.
"He who is of God hears the words of God: the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God," said Jesus. Abraham was called God's friend because he heard God's voice and followed that voice. If you are Abraham's children, you do the deeds of Abraham.
Perhaps you say, "I have tried with all my might to hear God's voice and do what He says. But I can't. I can't ascend into heaven to fetch His words, nor can I descend to the place of the dead to consult with the holy men of old." Moses told the Jews, "The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it."
John said, "In the beginning was the word… In him is life and the life is the light of men." Those who receive this light are given the power to become sons of God. Jesus told the Jews in the John 8 passage, "If you abide in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free." Thus you are no longer committers and slaves of sin, you are sons of the household of God. Here is your deliberate choice.
Edward Burrough states in the introduction to Vol. 3 of the Works of Fox, pp. 12-13, "And we found this light to be a sufficient teacher to lead us to Christ from whence this light came, and thereby it gave us to receive Christ, and to witness him to dwell in us; and through it the new covenant we came to enter into, to be made heirs of life and salvation. And in all things we found the light which we were enlightened withal, (which is Christ,) to be alone and only sufficient to bring to life and eternal salvation; and that all who did own the light in them which Christ hath enlightened every man withal, they needed no man to teach them, but the Lord was their teacher, by his light in their own consciences, and they received the holy anointing."
Therefore it is with the full consciousness of having been removed from the family of the devil, a liar and murderer from the beginning, and adopted into the family of God that we can say, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name."
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