How can I understand God as Father?
In modern times, many people have a negative view of their father or perhaps a lack of a father. As a result, it is difficult to rightly understand the concept of God as Father. How does the Bible express His role as our heavenly Father?
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John 1:12 teaches, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." When we believe in Christ, we become children of God. He becomes our Father by relationship. This family bond cannot be broken. A father cannot decide to no longer be a father. By definition, a father is always a father.
This is the view God communicates regarding His role in the lives of those who believe in Him. Jesus taught His own disciples to pray the Lord's Prayer, beginning with, "Our Father in heaven…" (Matthew 6:9).
First John 3:1 notes, "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." The role of God as our Father reveals the kind of love He has for us. He loves us with a perfect, deep, continual love that cannot be stopped.
Another benefit of being a child of God is to share in the inheritance of the Father. Romans 8:16-17 teaches we have been adopted into God's family and become heirs with Him: "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ ..."
In addition to sharing in our heavenly Father's inheritance, God disciplines us at times that we may share in His holiness. Hebrews 12:9-10 teaches, "Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness." God loves us and therefore also sometimes disciplines us. This shows we are His children and serves as an act of love. Hebrews 12:11 explains, "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
Luke 15 also shares how our relationship with God is like a Father to a Son. The prodigal son left home and wasted his father's inheritance. He later returned, knowing he did not deserve to be called a son but asked if he could work as a servant. Instead, his father ran to him and embraced him in love, celebrating him as a lost son who had been found. This picture also reflects the love of our heavenly Father. He desires for us to come to Him. When we do, He embraces us with His love and includes us with celebration as part of His eternal, spiritual family.
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