The Father

by Elmer Towns
(For after these things do the Gentiles seek.) for Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Matthew 6:32


     A father should be the key individual to make a great impact on the life of his child. But the greatest influence on man will be by the Father in heaven. The concept of the fatherhood of God comes from the first Person of the Trinity, who is addressed as "Our Father which art in heaven" (Matt. 6:9).

     In God's original design for the family, he placed a father at the head of the home. God established three institutions—family, government, and church—to assist us in our lives and to demonstrate an aspect of his relationship with us. Often the Bible uses the term "family of God" to speak of the spiritual kinship of all believers with each other and to God. The biblical pattern of the family, when practiced, is a tremendous aid for parents concerned about teaching children the fatherhood of God.


     When a father properly fulfills his role in the family, he is fulfilling a picture of the heavenly Father's relationship to his children. We should not reverse this picture and say our relationship to God is a reflection of earthly fathers. If we do that, we are making God follow our earthly example. Since God was an eternal Father when man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26, 27), he was given the potential role of father to earthly children.

     A father gives life to his children. A child is the result of a physical union between a man and a woman. Our heavenly Father is responsible for our spiritual life in a similar way. Every member of the family of God becomes a child of his heavenly Father when he is born again. They are those “which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13). Until we have been born again, we are not members of the family of God. Though God is the Father of all by creation, God is not our spiritual Father until we are his children. We can be children of the heavenly Father by placing our trust in Jesus Christ and receiving him as our Savior by faith. "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" (John 1:12).

     A father loves his child. When a father gives to his children, he is demonstrating the strongest expression of love possessed by human beings. In his teaching, Jesus used the example of a father's willingness to give good gifts unto his children: "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13).

     Jesus told the parable of the prodigal son, demonstrating both God's love for sinners and a father's love for his children. The apostle Paul wrote: "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" (Rom. 8:15). The term abba is similar to a child's crying "Daddy." The picture here is one of warmth and compassion between a father and his Young child.

     A father protects his children. A good father desires to protect his children, which is carried over into his duties and responsibilities. How much more does the supernatural love of God cause him to step in and protect us.

     God protects his children today in working all things for good (Rom. 8:28). This does not mean that some will not be martyred or be victims of war or crime. God's protection extends to our spiritual welfare and, in many occasions, our physical protection. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31).

     A father will provide for his family. The father is the provider for the home. The father who loves his family is a willing provider. Our heavenly Father is much more a provider. "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" (James 1:17).

     A father will teach and train his children. Part of the biblical responsibilities of being a father is to train up children. "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). A good father will be an example and teacher for his children. Our heavenly Father has given us the Holy Spirit. Jesus noted, "I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Comforter" (John 14:16). "The Comforter which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things" (John 14:26).


     Although God is Father of all created, some teach that the fatherhood of God means everyone is a spiritual child of God and because of that everyone is going to heaven. This doctrine, called Universalism denies that all men are sinners and implies that there is no eternal punishment for sin. It denies the necessity of Christ dying for our sins. Hence there is no need of salvation. It claims that all men are born the children Of God. Because of the abuse of these humanistic teachings, many conservative Christians will not use the phrase, "the fatherhood of God." However, the Bible teaches that God is the rather of the universe and all people in that universe, but that does not mean everyone is a Christian and that everyone will go to heaven (Gal. 3:26).

     The Father of creation. When people describe God the Father, they often use the phrase, "the universal fatherhood of God." This phrase makes God the Father of all living things, including people, by virtue of the fact that he is their Creator. We prefer to use the phrase "the Father of creation," because it identifies God with the reason why he is Father. The best verse to identify "the Father of creation" is James 1:17: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights."

     When we study the history of an organization or a nation, we find the term "founding fathers." The man who invents or develops some new product is often called the "father" of that product. We use the term "father" to identify its source.

     Since God is the Creator of all things, he is the Father of the universe.

     The national Father of Israel. God has a unique relationship with the nation Israel; he is called its father. Although the doctrine of the Father is fully developed in the New Testament, we have noted that it exists in embryonic form in the Old Testament. Jeremiah put it this way, "I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn" (Jer. 31:9). Israel was a special son to God because he was its source; Israel was loved by Jehovah and he was their teacher, giving them the law to instruct them in the way they should live. God cared and protected Israel as a Father.

     The unique Father of Jesus Christ. In an extremely unique way, God is the Father of Jesus Christ, his Son. Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin with no human father. Actually, he existed from before the beginning and simply became a man, while retaining his divinity at his birth. God claims to be the Father of Christ when he calls him "Son," and in "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee" (Ps. 2:7). This does not mean that Jesus Christ was begotten at a point in time. The phrase "this day" means God's eternal day, or a day without time. The Son was always in the process of being begotten by the Father-both Father and Son are eternal. At the baptism of Jesus, the Father himself spoke. "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17). Jesus recognized his sonship by telling the Jewish leaders, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17). This statement looks innocent to us because we do not see the implication of the original language. The Greek word for “my" is idios, by which Jesus meant, "My Father, of whom I am identical." When Jesus called God his Father, he also recognized himself as equal in deity.

     Paul related Jesus to God by saying "his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). John called Christ "his only begotten Son" (John 3:16). Jesus recognized this unique relation he had with his God. He used the title "Father" more than any other when referring to God. He distinguished between "my Father" and your Father." Though he instructed his disciples to pray our Father," he himself never used the term. He recognized the uniqueness of his relationship with the Father.

     A Protective father. "A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation" (Ps. 68:5). God is a father to those oppressed who need a father. This verse does not teach that all poor orphans and widows are saved, but rather that God is concerned about those for whom no one else cares. Even among Christians there is a tendency to ignore those who are less fortunate. But God is the defender of those unable to defend themselves. When a Christian is opposing the poor, he is opposing those supported by God. As fathers will sometimes involve themselves in the disputes of their sons, so will the "father of the fatherless" step in for his children.

     Redemptive father. The major emphasis in New Testament doctrine is the Father's relationship to redemption. All who are saved are born "of God" (John 1:13). God becomes our Father when we trust Christ as our Savior and gain admittance into the family of God (John 1:12). We immediately, upon salvation, have an intimate relationship with God "whereby we cry, Abba, Father" (Rom. 8:15). We cannot know God as our redemptive Father until we are know n by him as his redeemed children.


     Many benefits are provided for the Christian by the heavenly Father. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32). Because of the Father's love, he gives us all that is good for us (James 1:17). God has provided the following benefits.

     Fellowship with the Father. John wrote: "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ" (i John 1:3). As members of the family of God, we have fellowship with other members of that family, including the Father himself. Often Christians will call each other brother and sister. This recognizes our spiritual kinship. Jesus said, "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9). When we pray to the Father and call him Father, we recognize our spiritual kinship with him.

     Access to the Father. Christians can pray and know their Heavenly Father hears and will answer their prayers. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, "Our Father" (Matt. 6:9). He said, "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things" (Matt. 6:32).

     Guidance by the Father. Our heavenly Father has provided guidance for his creation. One of the purposes of Scripture is "that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished ,,,,to all good works" (2 Tim. 3:17). David said, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word" (Ps. 119:9).

     Security from the Father. When a person receives Christ personally as Savior, immediately he receives eternal life (John 5:24). By definition, eternal life lasts forever. Our security as Christians is due in part to our relationship with the Father. Jesus said, "My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:29).

     A young child feels secure in his father's arms. The child believes his father would not permit anything to happen to him. The most secure place for the Christian is in his heavenly Father's hand. Our heavenly Father will not allow any harm to come to us that could in any way affect our eternal security.

     Inheritance of the Father. Children are entitled to their father's inheritance. As children of God, we too are entitled to an inheritance. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17). Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). Every believer has the promise of God of an eternal home in heaven as part of his inheritance.


     When we think of God in all his majesty, we are impressed with the sovereignty of God. We need always to recognize that God is a great God and worthy of worship. But Jesus also taught us that God is our heavenly Father. As such he is intimate and personal. When we have a correct understanding of God, we realize he wants both to be our Father and to be worshiped in majesty. Out of duty and desire, the Christian ought constantly to live his life in a way pleasing to his heavenly Father.


     Monday: Psalm 103:1-22

     Tuesday: Ephesians 5:21-6:4

     Wednesday: Colossians 3:3-21

     Thursday: 1 John 3:1-17

     Friday: Matthew 6:1-18

     Saturday: Matthew 6:19-33

     Sunday: John 5:17-38  

Taken from: What The Faith Is All About by Elmer Towns