The Fatherhood of God

FATHER’S DAY is upon us, as we take time out to honor our father’s in the flesh it seems appropriate to look at how Scripture describes God as a Father.

It may surprise you to learn that the Old Testament portrayal of God as Father is quite rare. He is referred to as the Father of the nation of Israel [De 32:6; 1Chron 29:10; Isa 63:16; 64:8; Jeremiah 3:4 Jeremiah 3:19; 31:9; Mal 1:6; 2:10]. “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” [Isa 64:8]. It speaks of Him as the Father of certain individuals, [2 Sam 7:14; 1 Chron 17:13; 22:10; 28:6; Psalm 68:5; 89:26], and in other places, the idea of Fatherhood is present although the term is not used [Ex 4:22; De 14:1; 32:5, Isa 1:2; 8:18; 9:6; Hos 1:10; 11:1].

As we survey the New Testament, all that changes. The frequency of calling God the Father increases dramatically. Most likely because Jesus said, “Our Father which art in Heaven…” when He taught His disciples to pray, [Mat 6:9]. Jesus, rightfully so, calls God “Father” nearly 200 times in the gospel (over 100 times in the book of John alone). Another word for Father Jesus used was “Abba,” found only 3 times in the New Testament [Mark 14:26; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6]. In Vine’s Expository Dictionary it says about “Abba”, “It approximates to a personal name, in contrast to ‘Father,’ with which it is always joined in the NT. This is probably due to the fact that, abba having practically become a proper name, Greek-speaking Jews added the Greek word pater, “father,” from the language they used. Abba is the word framed by the lips of infants, and betokens unreasoning trust; ‘father’ expresses an intelligent apprehension of the relationship. The two together express the love and intelligent confidence of the child.” (Vines, W.E., Vines Concise Dictionary of the Bible, Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2005 print page 1)

Should we call God “daddy”?

I’ve noticed a trend among some to refer to God as “daddy” as an attempt to make God sound more familiar to them. They suggest that since the Aramaic word “Abba” is used by children and our nearest English equivalent is “daddy” we have liberty. Their reasoning is flawed since the term is used by older children and adults alike. I’m not a fan of that. Although He is called our Father, we still ought to honor Him with respect, He is still the Almighty God.

God is our Father

There should be no doubt that God is our Father. As the Creator of all things which includes mankind, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” [Gen 1:27], He is our Father. Let us never forget that. Our Father, the Creator, provides for His creation, despite our sin toward Him, in this we ought to be very grateful. “Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” [Acts 14:17]. Because of His goodness over all mankind through His creation, some make the mistake of thinking that this will equate to salvation. For that we need to consider God in another sense, as a Father through adoption.

God, our adopted Father.

Paul tells us in Galatians 4:4-7 that through Christ we may become children of God through adoption, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” It should be understood that some shall NOT be adopted by God to become their Father, and shall NOT inherit the promises. The question becomes, how do we receive this adoption?

Just a few verses earlier, Paul wrote, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” [Galatians 3:26-29]. Friends, don’t miss that. We can all become children of God, He can be our Father by faith when we obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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