By Clarence L. Haynes Jr., Crosswalk.com
There are so many names we call God, and so many ways we can recognize him. We may call him Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides. We may refer to him as Jehovah Shalom, the God of Peace. We may call him The Lord Almighty or the Creator of the heavens and the earth. The names by which to honor Him are endless.
However, there is one name that is more endearing than any other name you can use for God. That name is Father.
Have you ever stopped to think why do we call God ‘Our Father?’ Do you really recognize what that means? Once you truly understand this, it will transform your understanding of who he is and your relationship with him.
What Does it Mean That God Is Our ‘Father?’
In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray; and the opening words of his prayer are Our Father. These two words were a clear paradigm shift from the understanding of God in the Old Testament (or covenant) and the New Testament. These two words signified the relational aspect that God would have with his people from this point forward.
We would no longer just be people called by his name, we would be his children.
To bring this to greater light it is important to understand the role of a father in biblical times. A father was the protector and provider, but also was the one who gave identity to the family. That’s why it was so difficult to be a widow or orphan in those days because you would have lost your protection and provision. You were a prime target to be taken advantage of. By the way, according to the law, this came with severe consequences.
In understanding God as Father, there is a sense of security, of establishing and defining a relationship, and knowing that everything we need will flow from his hand.
Some may ask: why do we call God Our Father and not our Mother? The truth of this is found in the pages of scripture. As you read the pages, you will discover that God has chosen to reveal himself as Father. To deviate from that is a distortion of how God has chosen to make himself known to mankind.
God the Father Verses
1 Corinthians 8:6
yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
2 Corinthians 1:2-3
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.
Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
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7 Characteristics of God the Father
These are just seven of the many wonderful characteristics of God the Father. I encourage you to take these seven and build on them—and see how many more you can find in Scripture.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them – Matthew 6:31-32
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. – John 10:29
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! – 1 John 3:1
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9
The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. – Psalm 103:13 (NLT)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – 1 Peter 1:3
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17
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Why Is Jesus Called the Son of God?
I hope it’s becoming clearer why we call God our Father. Yet there is another question on the table, why is Jesus called the Son of God? There are two things to focus on to answer this question:
Establishing his deity. By being the Son of God, he was making a statement of equivalency, meaning the essence of who the Father is and the essence of who I am are one and the same. That’s why he could say if you have seen me you have seen the Father, because they share the same divine nature.
Modeling a relationship. By dealing with God as Father, Jesus was modeling for us what our relationship could be. We must remember that Jesus was both fully God and fully man. In his humanity, he demonstrated for us the perfect relationship that existed between him and God the Father. He was our model and now we know what a relationship with the Father looks like because he patterned it for us.
It is quite natural that when Jesus walked the earth he would call God ‘Father.’ This was a statement of not only relationship, but also of intimacy. This is the same type of intimacy that God desires with you. Yes, he is The Lord Almighty, El Shaddai, the all-powerful creator of the heavens, who speaks and things happen.
But this same God is the one who desires to walk with you in fellowship and close communion because he loves you greatly. This is what makes Christianity so unique—because it’s not just about your attempts to get to God.
It’s about God who literally moved heaven and earth to get to you...because he loves you that much.
How We Are Children of Our Heavenly Father
In John’s gospel in the first chapter listen to these words:
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he 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 is it possible that you can lay hold of the claim to be a child of God? The answer is simple. You have received Christ and believed in his name and this has given you the position of being a child of God.
To put it another way, why do we call God our Father? Because he has given us the right to do it. This is not a statement of arrogance, this is a statement of confidence. If you have received Jesus Christ as your personal savior, then you can be confident today that you are a child of God. This gives you access to all the rights and privileges of having God as your Father.
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. – Galatians 4:6-7
We started on this journey by asking the question: why do we call God our Father? I attempted to give you some scripture to encourage you and help you understand your position in Christ. However, I recognize that you may read this, yet over time these insights may fade away.
For this reason, I want you to walk away from this article and remember a very simple answer to this question. In fact, if you should ever think about this question again, or someone asks you, I would use this as the starting point to your answer. Here it is:
You call him Father, because that’s what he wanted all along.
A Prayer to God the Father
God help me to walk in the confidence of knowing that you are my father and I am your child. Help me to walk securely knowing today that I belong to you, both now and for all eternity.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, author and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and has just released his first book, The Pursuit of Purpose. If you have ever struggled trying to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.