What the Bible Teaches About God the Father
God as revealed in the Bible is Triune – He is one God made up of three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit. This means that all three Persons make up the one God. So it is actually incorrect to say that only the Father is God to which then are added the Son and the Spirit as though they are unnecessary to the Biblical concept of God.
In this post, we are going to focus on one Person of the Godhead – the Father. We will look at four aspects: Father of All Creation, Father to Israel, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and Father of All Who Believe.
I. Father of All Creation
A. There is a general sense in which God Himself (not really just the Father) is the Father of all creation and all men.
1 Corinthians 8:4–6 4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
B. As Creator, He is the originator or the Father of all things including:
- Spirit Beings – Heb 12:9 “the Father of spirits” – angels including fallen
- Lights – James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
- Angels – Job 1:6 Angels are called “the sons of God”
- Man – Acts 17:22-23 Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
- God is the God who made the world and all things in it.
- He is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in a temple made with hands.
- He needs nothing; He actually gives life, breath, and all things.
- He made men of one blood and determines our times and boundaries.
- He wants us to seek Him, feel after Him, and find Him, because He is not far from every one of us.
- In HIm, we live and love and have our being.
- We are His offspring. He is not like anything we can make.
C. As Father of all Creation…
- He shows love and compassion. 2 Corinthians 1:3 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
- He takes are of all things. Matthew 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
- In particular He cares for those who don’t have a father to look after them. Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, Is God in his holy habitation.
- He disciplines and corrects. Proverbs 3:11–12 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; Neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; Even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
What this means?
- You were brought into this world by all-powerful, all-knowing Creator God and so your life has purpose, potential, and meaning.
- You can look to Your Creator, Your Maker and know that if He can create you then He can sustain you.
- If you feel let down by Your earthly Father, God, the Father of the fatherless is more than capable to fulfil every vacuum left in your heart.
II. Father to Israel
God in a general sense is a Father to all Creation, but He is also Father in a specific sense to the nation of Israel. When delivering the nation of Israel from Egypt, God told Moses to “…say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:” (Exodus 4:22). This fatherhood of God governed His relationship with Israel and shows in vivid detail the way God is a Father:
- God brought them into being through the miracle of giving a son to Abraham in his old age.
- God blessed them and was gracious to them, using an act of treachery toward Joseph to be the means of their salvation.
- God provided for them in the wilderness and led them into a home in Canaan.
- God promised David that he would be a father to his son Solomon as he reigned. 2 Samuel 7:14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
- God continued to look out for them and be good to them even when they messed up so much. Psalm 103:6–13 6 The Lord executeth righteousness And judgment for all that are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: Neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, So great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, So the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
What this means for us?
- Everything we have and are comes from God.
- Despite our sin, weakness, and failure, God is good and gracious to us.
III. Father of the Lord Jesus Christ
Even though God is portrayed as a Father, the imagery as God being a Father in the Old Testament is quite rare (15 times). When we come to the New Testament and listen to the teachings of Jesus, we find the term “Father” exploding across the pages of Scripture.
- We first find the Father identified Jesus as His Son in Matthew 3:17 at His baptism. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
- 65 times in the Matthew, Mark, and Luke He used the term “Father.” 100 times in the Gospel of John we find Him using the term “Father.”
The term Jesus used is found in Mark 14:36 where Jesus says, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” This Aramaic term for father was a term little children used when they addressed their father and was one of great affection and closeness. The usage of this term shocked those who heard Him especially because it was a claim to be one with the Father.
John 5:17–23 17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
This new intimacy and closeness that Jesus enjoyed with the Father is one that He showed His disciples would be the way they could address God as well. Luke 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Jesus was the Son of God in a very unique way. He is the eternal Son of God, existing with the Father for all eternity. John 1:18 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
The Sonship of Jesus is therefore different from those who are “sons” of God through adoption. John 20:17 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
What does this mean?
- The only way to know the Father is through the Son. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
- To reject the Son is to reject the Father.
IV. Father of All Who Believe
Jesus who is one with the Father came to reveal the Father to us. Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
Jesus is the means by which all men and women can have the opportunity to be born into God’s family as His adopted sons/daughters. John 1:12–13 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Those who believe on Jesus are privileged to be the children of God. Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Those who believe on Jesus can then enjoy this close intimacy with God the Father. Romans 8:14–17 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
What this means?
- Sin separates you from the God who created you.
- Jesus came to rescue you from your sin and reconcile you back to God.
- You must believe on Jesus to be born again. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Sometimes due to bad experience with an earthly father, people recoil at the thought of God the father, imposing on Him their own disappointments and bitterness toward their earthly father. Luke 15 gives us a great picture into the kind of Father that God is.
The chapter begins by talking about a lost sheep and a lost coin. In both examples the shepherd goes looking for the sheep and the woman goes looking for her coin. In the same way, God goes looking for sinners who have goes been lost through carelessness and foolishness.
The final parable tells us a lost son and this is one of the most beautiful examples of the love of the Father for us.
- v.11-13 The young man takes his inheritance early and deliberately leaves His father behind and lives it up for a while.
- v.14-16 This lifestyle leaves him empty, friendless, and hungry.
- v.17-20a He remembers how good it was in the Father’s house and decides to go home, planning to only ask to be a servant.
- v.20b-24 But his father sees him coming a long ways away, has compassion, and runs to him. The son’s confession is cut off by the Father insistence on putting a robe on his son, a ring on his finger, shoes on his feet, and throwing a party for him.
In the same way, all of us taken the good things of God, go our own way and do our own thing. Life without God eventually leads to emptiness. If we will repent of our sin and come back to the Father through Jesus, He will restore us, love us, and make us one of His children.
God is not an impassive, distant, and uncaring Father. He is a loving Father, a long Father, a compassionate Father, and He will run to all those who repent of their sin, come to themselves, and turn in faith to HIm. Because of what Christ did on the cross, He can justly restore us and reward us with everlasting life and an eternal home. Won’t you come home?