Is He Your Father?
Author: John A. Witmer
Week of November 19, 2017
Liberal Christian theology speaks of “the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.” This is true in the sense that God is the Creator of all men (cf. Mal. 2:10). It is not true in the spiritual sense that every man possesses a spark of divinity, however, as liberal theology insists.
God is also Father of Israel by virtue of His covenant with Abram (Gen. 15:18; 17:2; 7-8), confirmed with Isaac (26:3-5) and Jacob (28:13-15). God instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord says: Israel is My firstborn son” (Ex. 4:22).
The personal spiritual benefits of this filial relationship, however, were dependent on faith. When the Jews who opposed the Lord Jesus boasted, “The only Father we have is God Himself’ (John 8:41), Jesus responded, “You belong to your father, the devil” (v. 44). Their rejection of the Lord Jesus showed that they did not have faith in the God of Abraham, who was their physical but not their spiritual father (8:33-40).
Although God is identified in Scripture as Father in several ways, He is Father redemptively and spiritually only of all who believe. Abraham is the model of this saving faith in the promise of God (Rom. 4:3; 18-22). In this age of grace, faith is focused on God’s promise of salvation through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (vv. 23-25).
John explained that “to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Through the Holy Spirit the believer cries “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6).
As a spiritual Father, God supervises our training toward spiritual maturity (Heb. 12:5-13). At the same time, since “He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust....As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him” (Ps. 103:13, 14).
Question: Are you a child of God by faith in Christ? Then thank Him today for His fatherly care for you.