It is my custom to send an email to my four sons on Father’s Day morning to thank and encourage them to be godly fathers. Early this morning, I asked the Lord to give me a Scripture that would speak to their hearts in a special way. As I prayed, 1 Corinthians 4:14-17 came to mind.
“I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church” (1 Corinthians 4:14–17).
You may recall the “jealousy and strife among” (3:3) these believers and parties had formed around well-known leaders, but they lacked the critical leadership in spiritual fathers. Paul had become a father to them “through the gospel.” The foundation of the gospel gave Paul a spiritual care for these saints that was able to handle some very difficult and sensitive issues. There are so few spiritual fathers who can father like this, but it is possible. Will you?
I will deal with other points that Paul makes in these verses tomorrow, but for now, it is vital to understand how the gospel addresses every issue in raising children, natural or spiritual. If we are not grounded in the pure gospel of grace, our fathering will turn to legalism and demand without grace and love. Without these, we misrepresent God as Father and promote rebellion.
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