God as Father

Lots of Christians use a prayer where they talk to a God which they call “Father”.

“Our Father, which art in heaven”

This first line from “The Lord’s Prayer” used to be one of the best known in the New Testament. Today it is much less frequently repeated. But even at the height of its use, it is to be feared that the term “Father” was used in a conventional sense without much thought about its implications.

In Old Testament times God had already revealed Himself as a “Father”.

“Israel is my son, my firstborn” (Exodus 4:22)

was His declaration to Pharaoh in Egypt. Through the long centuries of their experience the faithful appreciated the relationship:

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14).

In the New Testament the supreme manifestation of God as Father is in the person of His beloved Son. Jesus constantly refers to God as “my Father” and, when addressing the disciples, as

“your heavenly Father”.

The infinite grace of God, so dear to the psalmists and prophets, was shown in the giving of His Son as the atonement for sin. And so the faithful are granted a new relationship with God, in which they are not only “heirs with Christ” but “sons and daughters of God”. John exclaims:

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God: and such we are” (1 John 3:1, R.V.).

But in these days of casual familiarity it is easy to slip into the habit of thinking of God, and indeed even addressing Him, as “one of us”. Jesus kept his priorities clear at all times, and particularly in his prayers.

“I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth” (Matthew 11:25)

warns us that although God is truly our Father, He remains “Lord of heaven and earth” and should be worshipped as such. Twice in his prayer for the disciples shortly before his crucifixion, he addresses God direct:

“Holy Father … 0 righteous Father” (John 17:11,25).

There is no familiarity here, but a profound recognition of this “otherness” from man.

Similarly the Apostle Paul, quoting from the Law and applying the saying to the believers in Corinth, urges them to “come out” and “be separate” from the idolatrous worship and practices in Greek society. God promises them,

“I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters”;

but Paul does not hesitate to complete the quotation,

“saith the Lord Almighty”,

and to go on to urge his readers to cleanse themselves

“from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”,

that is, in reverent worship (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1).

And in the prayer Jesus taught his disciples he addressed God as:

“Our Father, which art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9).

God is indeed a Father to the faithful, showing all the care and concern that a father would feel for His children. But those “sons and daughters”, while appreciating His grace and mercy towards them, must never presume to forget the reverent worship which is His due. This balanced attitude is severely threatened in our times of freedom of expression and human rights. The Bible alone enables us to preserve that balance.

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Preceding

God’s Self-Revelation

The Greatness of the eternal God

The real God

Jesus begotten Son of God #16 Prophet to be heard

Worship and worshipping

Listening and Praying to the Father

Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition

Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #11 Prayer #9 Making the Name Holy

Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #13 Prayer #11 Name to be set apart

Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #12 Prayer #10 Talk to A Friend

Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator

Next: Born of the Father

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Additional reading

  1. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  2. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  3. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  4. Not words of any organisation should bind you, but the Word of God
  5. Troubles testing your faith and giving you patience and good prospects
  6. Humility and the Fear of the Lord
  7. We all are changed into the same image from glory to glory
  8. Faith Requires a Basis
  9. The one who set the standard
  10. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  11. Own Private Words to bring into a good relationship
  12. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  13. Behold, My mother and My brothers!
  14. One Mind, One Accord
  15. Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26
  16. We Are The Children Of God
  17. Jesus, A way given to find the right way to God
  18. Marriage of Jesus 10 Old and New Covenant
  19. Magnificent bride for royal wedding
  20. Oratory Style
  21. 100-Day Identity Makeover: Day 56
  22. To whom do we want to be enslaved

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1 John 3_1
November 12, 2018 Verse Of The Day

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