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Don Stewart :: In What Sense Is God a Father?

Don Stewart

The term "Father" is employed in both testaments in describing God. Why? Does it mean that we are all children of God and that God is the Father of all humankind?

1. He Is The First Person Of Trinity

As we have already noted, God, by nature, is a Trinity consisting of three distinct personalities, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God the Father is the First Person of the Trinity, the one who sent and commissioned Jesus the Son to the earth.

2. He Is The Unique Father Of Jesus Christ

He is referred to as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

In the gospels we find the Father acknowledging Jesus as His Son:

And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17).

The Son Acknowledges The Father

The Son, likewise, acknowledges the Father:

All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son wills to reveal him (Matthew 11:27).

The terms Father and Son are used to describe the unique relationship between the first two Persons of the Trinity. The Bible makes it clear that both the Father and Son have existed together eternally. There was not a point in time when the Son came into being. Therefore we should not make an exact analogy between a human father and a human son when we speak of God the Father and God the Son. The terms are given to describe the unique oneness and unity that exists between these two Persons of the Godhead.

3. He Is The Father Of Israel

In the Old Testament, God is said to have been the Father of Israel.

They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son (Jeremiah 31:9).

Israel was a special son to God in the sense that He supernaturally began the race through Abraham and Sarah. Their child Isaac was born after they had passed the child-bearing years.

4. He Is The Father Of All Who Believe

Another designation the Bible uses of the Father is that He is the Father of all those who put their faith in Him. The Scripture makes it clear that God is not the intimate Father of all humankind, he is only the Father to those who believe in him. While it is true in a general sense that God is the Father, the Creator of every living thing, the intimate relationship a father has to his son is only experienced by those who believe.

The Bible explains the way one enters into this intimate father-son relationship with God is not through natural birth but through the new birth. This happens when an individual believes and puts his faith in Jesus Christ.

But to as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name (John 1:12).

Paul wrote to the Galatians.

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26).

In Ephesians we read Paul saying.

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19).

5. He Is The Father Of All Creation

A further way in which the Bible designated God as the Father has to do with the created universe. He is the Father as the Creator, source, and sustainer of creation. In the widest meaning of the term it has the idea as God being the Producer of all things. This includes His role as Creator of humanity. Therefore, in the creative sense, God is the Father of all humanity. The Apostle Paul said:

For in him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also his offspring,' Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising (Acts 17:28,29).

James wrote.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).

He Provides Benefits For Believers

God the Father provides a number of benefits for those who believe in God the Son, Jesus Christ.

All Things Are Given To Those Who Trust Him

The Father gives those who trust in Him all things. He showed this by not sparing His only Son.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32).

The "all things" include the following.

There Is A Special Relationship Between God And His Children

First, there is a special spiritual relationship between God the Father and His spiritual children. Jesus said.

And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven (Matthew 23:9)

Believers are part of a huge family with God as their Father.

A Believer Can Have Fellowship With The Father And Son

A believer can now have intimate fellowship with God the Father.

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3).

There Is Security For The Believer

The believer is now in the secure hand of the Father.

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand (John 10:29).

The Believer Has An Eternal Inheritance

Those who are God's children are entitled to all that is His. The good news is that everything in the universe belongs to God. Therefore the believer will inherit all these things.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:17).

God the Father has made a number of provisions for believers. He alone is their spiritual Father. He allows them direct access to Himself through the person of Jesus Christ. The Father has provided an eternal inheritance for His children. They will be heirs to everything that is His. Meanwhile, He is keeping them secure while here upon the earth.

Summary

God is designated as the Father in a number of different ways. God is called the Father as the first person in the Trinity. He is also the eternal Father of Jesus Christ, God the Son. Theirs is a unique relationship. In the Old Testament God is called the Father of the nation Israel. God is the Father in an intimate relationship to all those who put their faith in Him. Finally, God is the Father as the Creator and sustainer of all creation.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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