Throughout time and inspired scripture, we find God revealing Himself to mankind in a variety of ways. Romans 1:20 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.” It’s amazing to think the vast creation surrounding us can declare God’s power and persona. And it’s even more astounding and humbling to realize our knowledge of Him isn’t restricted to this 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).
Creation clearly shows God’s eternal power and Godhead. His Son, however, is the brightness of His glory and expressed image of His person and reveals Him more specifically as the Father. This idea is echoed in John 1:14, where we find, “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.” A few verses later (verse 18) it says, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” In John 14:9, Christ Himself responds to Philip’s request to see the Father by saying “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”
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 created us. Paul in Acts 17 repeats this fact in verse 28 when he says, “For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’” The angels are also called the sons of God in the book of Job as part of His creation (1:6; 38:7). God is even described as the Father of Israel, foreshadowing His relationship with His chosen people through His Son (Exodus 4:22).
However, the concept of God as a Father certainly seems amplified with the coming of Christ. Christ refers to God as His Father numerous times throughout the gospels. Jesus teaches His disciples to address God as Father in Matthew chapter 6. 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 recognize and 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 creation, a point alluded to in Hebrews 1:4-5. But He is also superior and unique as the only begotten of the Father in His faithfulness as well. Hebrews 3:5-6 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.
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) and learn obedience by the things which He suffered – despite being a Son (Hebrews 5:8). 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 (Philippians 2:6-8). This is why we can have a relationship with God that goes beyond creature and Creator. Rather, we can call the Master of the universe “Father,” and call on Him as such. In Galatians 4:4-6, 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!”
As a result of Christ’s faithful Sonship and redeeming sacrifice, we can receive the adoption as children of God. What an awesome thought! To be able to cry out to God as Father, anticipate an eternal inheritance and even receive chastening for our own good is a great blessing.
Christ Himself makes it 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.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1).