One of the books that I’m currently re-reading is Tom Smail’s, The Forgotten Father. I’d forgotten how remarkable this book is as it seeks to bring us to the heart of the Gospel in the Fatherhood of God. As Forsyth noted, we cannot put too much into that word ‘Father’ though we can, and do, certainly put too little into it. Smail begins his chapter on ‘The Father, the Son and the Cross’ by reminding us that it takes the Trinity to make sense of the atonement, and he ends the chapter by reminding us that it takes the Father to make sense of our humanity.
Here’s a quote: ‘To be a Christian is to believe that it is the Father who defines our identity and is to be believed against all inner and outer accusations to the contrary when he says to us, “This son of mine”. To know that is not to skulk in the back pew; it is to come forward with confidence to receive the inheritance. The robe which is the garment of sonship is accompanied by the ring which is the insignia of authority and the sandals that distinguish the free man from the slave. The son who comes home is invited back into his lost inheritance, to delight again in his father’s company and goodness and to rejoice.’ Thomas A. Smail, The Forgotten Father (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1980), 129.