Who qualifies to address God as ‘My Father’? First of all, the Bible tells us that God has only one begotten Son (John 3:16). He is called that because His birth was generated by the Holy Spirit, making Him the one and only unique God-man (Matthew 1:20). There are however other children of God, who have been adopted into His Holy family. These are born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5), regenerated from the sinful state which prohibited being part of God’s family. As humans who inherited the sinful nature of Adam, peopleall have been invited by God’s Spirit to join the family by believing and receiving grace and mercy from the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ (Luke 5:32).
Now the Father intentionally brings up His children to be representatives of His character. Scripture lays out what that looks like as we get glimpses of God’s love and wrath, His wisdom and faithfulness, His pure and forgiving heart. The life of Jesus is “the exact representation of God’s being”. There are glimpses of Godliness among those who follow Jesus Christ, but since His life on earth ended, there has been no other about whom it could be said “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3).
Yet Jesus taught His disciples to call upon “Our Father who is in heaven” with the confidence that if we ask anything in His [Jesus’] name we will receive it (John 16:24). Now let us be clear….disciples are those who are also intentional about their relationship with the Father. It isn’t just to escape hell fire that people ask Jesus into their hearts. It is with the vision of what a glorious thing it is to be adopted into God’s family, to “belong”, and to serve Him.
Paul knew all about that when he was saved from a life of conscientious objecting to Christ, to becoming a child of God through belief in Jesus, himself. He wrote that God “predestined us to be adopted as His sons, through Jesus Christ, in accordance to His pleasure and will (Ephesians 1:5). This sounds a bit like the Apostle John who wrote that “to all who received Him [Jesus], to those who believed in His name, He [the Father] gave the right to become children of God – children born, not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God (John 1:12-13). How much do we work towards becoming like Jesus, then, once we claim to be children of God? His life is the template for us in the twenty-first century, is it not?
It is very kind of our Father not to leave us to struggle on our own. We have the example of Jesus , but we also have the indwelling Holy Spirit, sent by the Father to teach and to guide (John 14:16, 26). We know that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man/woman of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Training takes discipline and so our Father disciplines those He loves, and even punishes us when we sin (Hebrews 12:6). The writer of Hebrews goes on to explain “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, “it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). It is the Father’s will that the Prince of Peace rules in our hearts. Therefore we are called to “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace!” (Colossians 3:15). What a message for today!
I am so thankful to know God as my heavenly Father. He can be trusted to keep His word, whether it be warnings of judgment, or promises of answered prayer with blessings. His love surpasses anything on the human level because it is not dependant upon my performance. And knowing I am in right relationship with Him brings exquisite peace!
by Marilyn Daniels (Marilyn Daniels.net)