God Our Father
In every age, people ask the question, “What is God like?” This is a question of great importance because it is impossible to have a true and vital relationship with God, without a correct understanding of who He is and what He does. A flawed understanding of God leads only to a flawed relationship. Thankfully, God has not hidden Himself from us. He has not left us to create a God in our own image. He has revealed Himself in our world and in the pages of the Holy Scriptures, so that we might know Him, love Him and find true life in Him.
In the Old Testament, God revealed Himself by such titles as Elohim, the great Creator; El Shaddai, the all mighty One who blesses and enriches; El Alah, the ever faithful God, and He revealed that His personal name is Yahweh, the great “I am.” But God also called Himself by these wonderful names:
- Yahweh-Jireh: I am He who provides
- Yahweh-Rapha: I am He who heals you
- Yahweh-Nissi: I am your banner and victory
- Yahweh-Rohi: I am your shepherd
- Yahweh-Shalom: I am your peace
- Yahweh-Tsidkenu: I am your righteousness
- Yahweh-M’Kaddesh: I am He who sanctifies you
- Yahweh-Shammah: I am there 43
The Old Testament declares our God to be holy, righteous, all-knowing and powerful. We see that our God is glorious and full of splendor and majesty. But the Old Testament does not fully explain God. The New Testament brings us a fuller and greater knowledge of God. It does not negate any of the truths we previously learned, it only adds something new and wonderful. And the truth that is presented to us is that God is our Father.44
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Behold, now we are children of God . . . (1 John 3:1-2a)
This is one of the most wonderful truths presented in the Bible. God, Elohim. El Shaddai, Yahweh is our Father! Nothing will more radically change the way we look at life and our circumstances than the reality that God is our Father. The crucial question before us now is this, what is our Father like? The New Testament has much to say, so let’s begin by looking at the relationship between God and His Son Jesus Christ.
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold; the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16, 17)
Immediately after Christ’s baptism and before He began His ministry, the Lord Jesus heard His Father say, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” In the Greek manuscript, the word translated “pleased” is eudokeo. It means to have strong delight, joy and happiness in something or someone. What has happened here, is that the Spirit of God came upon Jesus. And by means of this Spirit the very essence of God’s life and nature was in the Lord. And God was pleased and delighted to see His own life in His Son. What God is doing is expressing His joy in the Father and Son relationship.
This is just like when parents have a new baby. When they see their child for the first time they are full of joy and delight. Now, what has this new baby done to bring its parents such delight? The answer is nothing! The baby is simply their child. So it is with God and His Son Jesus Christ. And so it is with us once we are God’s children filled with His Spirit. Let’s look again at 1 John 3.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God! (1 John 3:1)
The word “children” is translated from the Greek word teknon, which means a child by natural descent. Ephesians 6:1 states: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord.” This verse is talking about real, natural children in a family. And the Greek word translated “children” is teknon. Believers are true and genuine children of God.
But as many as received Him [ Jesus Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12) 45
When we come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God performs the miracle of all miracles and we are born again, born of God’s Spirit. We become true children of God—God is our Father! And God our Father is pleased with us. He finds great delight and joy in us. God has the same pleasure in us that He has in the Lord Jesus Christ, simply because we are His children.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom [which] we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ Jesus, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:14-17)
Those people who are led by the Spirit of God, who have the gift of the Spirit because of their faith in Christ, these are all sons of God. God is their Father. He is our Father. The word “sons” is translated from the word huios, which has reference to our origin and nature as children of God. God is our Father. We have His life within us through His Spirit. 46
When this section of Scripture speaks of “the Spirit of adoption” in verse 15, this refers to our legal standing before God and the world as His legitimate heirs. In the Roman culture of the time even if you were a natural born son, your father had to publicly and formally adopt you to be his legal heir. Therefore by means of the Spirit within us, God publicly declares that we are His children and that we will inherit all of His everlasting blessings. You and I can live with the sure and certain expectation of inheriting God’s entire fortune along with the Lord Jesus Christ. God loves us because He is our Father and He freely shares with His children all that He is and all that He has.
Once again let us look at the Lord Jesus Christ to see something about our heavenly Father.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1)
The context here is Christ’s last supper with His disciples before His sacrificial death. The Word of God tells us that Christ loved His disciples to the fullest extent that He could. And He knew these men better than they knew themselves. He knew that Thomas would doubt Him. He knew that the disciples would all run and hide during His arrest and crucifixion. He knew that Peter would deny Him. Yet He loved them passionately and faithfully. In John 14:9, Jesus Christ said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” In other words the life of Christ shows us the heart of our Father God. God loves us passionately and faithfully even though He knows all about us. He loves us simply because we are His children.
I love my children when they are good or bad or indifferent to me. I may discipline them when they are bad, but even this is an act of love, just like our heavenly Father’s discipline. 47 I cannot but love my children, because I am their father. Am I then a better father than God? Certainly not! Our heavenly Father’s love is strong and sure and we are secure forever in His love. Once we are born again of His Spirit, God is our Father, and we are His children. Nothing will ever separate us from this love. 48 Our heavenly Father will meet our every need as we look to Him with confidence and trust.
Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about your body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?
And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. (Luke 12:22-31)
Our heavenly Father knows our every need, every single one of them. In fact, He is aware of future needs that we do not even know exist. And He is more than willing and able to supply those things we need.
It would be horrible if my children had to worry about food, shelter and clothing. Only a heartless father would cause fear and worry in the hearts of his children due to his actions or lack of concern. Most fathers care more about the welfare of their children than their children will ever know. Sadly, not everyone has had a father that is good and kind. For some people the word “father” does not bring forth thoughts of loving care. But a person’s bad experience with an earthly father does not mean he or she cannot experience the heavenly Father’s true love. Fatherhood does not define God’s character as much as God’s character defines what true fatherhood is like. Our heavenly Father loves us and will meet every need. He will even make sure that His children enter His everlasting kingdom.
Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32) 49
God our Father will meet our every need here and now, and He will give us the kingdom to come. And as we wait for this kingdom, He will equip us with every spiritual enablement for His glory and our own good.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:3-9)
From God our Father comes grace, His divine favor and goodness, and peace the result of that grace. Our Father has and will enrich us with every spiritual gift and ability to meet all the demands of living a holy and powerful Christian life.
Do you need wisdom, strength or patience? God will provide it!
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
If earthly fathers provide what their children need, then surely our good and perfect heavenly Father will meet our needs when we trust Him to do so.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:2-4)
Our heavenly Father is full of mercy. He will treat every one of us with kindness and tenderness. Our Father is the God of all comfort. He will always be there for us to guide us and strengthen us and encourage us. This comfort is not just a soothing spiritual hug. Rooted in the word “comfort” is the idea of encouragement. God will exhort us to move forward. He will give us the boldness we need to be obedient to His Word 50. God our Father loves us more than we will ever know in this life. But one day we will understand and experience His love in a fuller and greater way.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God, and such we are . . . Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that when He appears we will be like Him . . . (my emphasis in bold—1 John 3:1, ) 51
Think about this awesome truth. Elohim, El Shaddai, Yahweh, is your Father. Let Him love you. Let Him be the Father you’ve wanted all your life and let this relationship change you.