Throughout inspired scripture, we find that God reveals Himself to mankind in a variety of ways. The first chapter of Romans tells us “for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Rom. 1:20 – NKJV). This passage tells us that the very creation of God educates us on His nature and power. It’s an amazing thought that we can learn so much about our God from what we obverse around us. And it’s even more amazing and humbling to me that our knowledge of Him isn’t restricted to such a wealth of information. The book of Hebrews begins by saying:
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3 – NKJV)
Not only does creation clearly reveal the Godhead, but God has revealed Himself as a Father through His Son; the brightness of His glory and express image of His person. This idea is echoed in the first chapter of the gospel of John, where he writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 – NKJV). A few verses later the Holy Spirit through John writes, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18 – NKJV). In John 14, Christ Himself responds to Philip’s request to see the Father by saying “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9 – NKJV).
The idea of God being a Father is not completely unique to the New Testament. While much less frequent, God is described as such a number of times in the Old Testament as well. Passages such as Malachi 2:10 point to God as being our Father by virtue of Him having made us. This fact is repeated by Paul in Acts 17 when he is speaking to the people of Athens. In verse 28 he says, “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”. The angles are described as the sons of God in the book of Job (1:6; 38:7) as part of His creation. God is also described as the Father of Israel (Ex. 4:22), foreshadowing His relationship with His chosen people through His Son. But the concept of God as a Father very much seems to be amplified with the coming of Christ. Christ refers to God as His Father many times throughout the gospels, Jesus teaches His disciples to address God as Father in Matthew chapter 6 and the fact that God is “the Father” or “our father” is mentioned in nearly every epistle of the New Testament. Seeing that God has gone to great lengths to reveal and reinforce this about Himself, it seems reasonable that it is a concept that is important for us to understand.
As part of the Godhead, Jesus Christ has a Sonship that is unique. He is the only begotten. Instead of being a son of God through creation, all things were made through Him; and without Him nothing was made that was made. This Sonship makes Him superior to the creation. The writer of Hebrews uses this as evidence as to why Christ is superior to the angels. Continuing where we left of earlier in the fourth verse of the first chapter, it says:
Having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”? (Hebrews 1:4-5)
Jesus Christ is superior and unique as the only begotten of the Father in His nature as well as His faithfulness. In Hebrews 3:5-6 it says:
Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. (Hebrews 3:5-6)
It was this faithfulness that caused the Son of God, the One through whom all things were made, to be made a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:7). This is why, although He was in the form of God, He made himself of no reputation and humbled Himself to the point of the death of the cross (Phil. 2:6-8). This is why we can have a relationship with God that goes beyond creature and creator. Rather, we can call the creator of the universe “Father”, and call on Him as such. In the fourth chapter of Galatians, Paul writes:
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:4-6)
The Holy Spirit through Paul writes a similar thought in Romans 8:
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:14-15)
Because of what Christ, the Son of God, has done for us we can receive the adoption as children of God. That is an awesome thought to me. To be able to cry out to God as Father and anticipate a promised inheritance because of what He did to redeem us is a great blessing.
But we must keep in mind, as Christ Himself makes clear, that the only way to the Father is by Him. Jesus says, in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. Speaking of Christ, John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name”. If we believe, accept and respond appropriately to the provisions God has made for us, we can be children of God.
1 John 3:1 – Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!