In our series ‘Connections’, looking at our relationships with God and with each other, today we looked at God the Father. God is one (Deut 6:4) but exists in Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If we are to know spiritual maturity, then we must relate to each Person in the Trinity and not focus on one to the exclusion of the others. An imbalanced relationship with God will leave us lopsided,but God’s aim is that we are conformed to the image of His Son and become like Him.
The word ‘father’ cannot exist in isolation; to be a father, you must have a child. Many take fatherhood lightly nowadays; some men do not even know they have fathered children and some have no contact with their children. This inevitably has an impact on our understanding of fatherhood and can make it difficult for us to relate to God as our Father. But our core identity is as children of God (see John 1:12-13) and Jesus taught us much about the connection we can have to God as Father, including praying to ‘our Father in heaven.’ (Matt 6:9)
In the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), we learn much about a father’s heart. The father was snubbed by his younger son who wanted his inheritance to spend as he saw fit even before his father’s death and was treated as a tyrant by his older son, but he cared for both sons and showed compassion and kindness to his younger son on his return. His welcome home teaches us much about grace and forgiveness and about the lavish love of God (see 1 John 3:1), showing us God’s joy when anyone repents and returns home.
Often, the Father is perceived as wrathful, the God who judges and punishes, but the Bible makes it clear that discipline and judgment arise from God’s love (see Prov 3:11-12, Heb 12:5-11). We can have a relationship with God the Father based on security and trust, not fear and trembling. God can be trusted (see Matt 6:32, Luke 11:11-13); if we doubt this, we only have to look at His sacrificial love in giving Jesus for our sins (John 3:16, 1 John 4:9).
Because God is our Father, we can have confidence, hope, security and assurance. We have an inheritance to look forward to (we are heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ – Rom 8:17) and a relationship of connection with the Almighty God. Best of all, like Jesus, we can address God as ‘our Father’, ‘Abba, Father’, an intimate, secure, loving relationship with a gracious, loving and forgiving God. Who are we? We are children of God – that’s who we are!