In the Gospels, Jesus made over 150 references to God as a Father. He invited His disciples into this new way of relating to God by teaching them to pray as “Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9). This new relationship is made possible because of the work of the Cross which has made our adoption into the family of God (Ephesians 1:5). The essence of fatherhood is seen in God, not just earthly fathers. Below, we will discuss some characteristics of God as seen in our human fathers which should help us to relate to Him as our Father.
Legal Rights to Call Him Father
· We are not born by the will of man, but by God (John 1:11).
· God gave us the power to become His children because we received the Person of Jesus Christ and believed on His name (John 1:12).
· We are also the children of God because of our faith in Christ (Galatians 3:26).
· We are God’s children because of the great fatherly love that He has bestowed upon us (1 John 3:1).
· When Christ redeemed us from the Law, we received adoption as sons. Therefore we are no longer slaves but children of God (Galatians 4:4-7).
Fatherhood Characteristics of God
a. He is the Source of Life
God is the author of life. Every human being owes his existence to God; He breathed into Adam the breath of life and he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7; Acts 17:25). Every child bears the name of his/her father. This identification is what uniquely identifies the child in this world. Likewise, as Christians we bear the name of God through Jesus Christ.
b. He is a Kind & Good God
He will never withhold any good thing from His children (Psalm 84:11), not even Jesus Christ (Romans 8:32). He shows compassion to those who fear Him (Psalm 103:13). He freely bestows His gifts and showers us with His great love.
c. The Identity of the Child
The grandchildren of Queen Elizabeth become automatic members of the Royal House of the United Kingdom, not just because they are the best people, but by virtue of the seed of royalty they were born with. As Christians, our identity is determined by the nature of the seed that we are born with. We are born with the incorruptible/imperishable seed of God (1 Peter 1:23). The divine nature in us makes us overcomers in this world (1 John 4:4).
d. The Disciplining Rod
Just as earthly fathers discipline and correct their children to bring out the best in them, so does our Heavenly Father discipline us because of His great love for us (Hebrews 12:5-11). God as a father has adopted us into His family and desires to mold us into the image of His dear Son. He will do everything to keep us on the right track to Christlikeness, and will discipline us if He has to. The verses below expand further:
Heb 12:5-8 (NIV) And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
Heb 12:9-11 (NIV) Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Job 5:17-18: "Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal."
1 Cor 11:32: But when God does judge us, he disciplines us as his own sons, that we may not be involved in the general condemnation of the world.
Rom 11:22: Behold then the kindness, and the severity of God….
God has always desired that humankind relates to Him as a father, the reason why Jesus came to show the way by teaching us to pray to Him as “Our Father”. He is our God, yet our Father. As we celebrate our earthly fathers today, let us be mindful that they reflect just a small portion of what our Heavenly Father is.