In our last newsletter, we began an exploration into the doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine that is at the core of Biblical Christianity. There is only one God, but this God eternally exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In this article, we will look at the first person of the blessed Trinity: God the Father.
Who is Father? The Father is God. We see this in the Trinitarian benediction of 2 Corinthians 13:14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Notice in this text that the word “Father” is nowhere mentioned, but He is heavily implied. You have Jesus and the Holy Spirit mentioned (who are also God) and you have another person mentioned: God. This we understand to be in clear reference to the God the Father. God is referred to as Father twice in Ephesians 1:2,3 both in relation to believers and to Jesus. Further, a clear statement delineating the divinity of the Father is found in John 8:54; there Jesus says, “It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.” The New Testament is clear: the Father is God.
But why is He called “Father?” The first person of the Trinity is called “Father” primarily because of His relationship to the second person: the Son. Throughout the gospels, especially the Gospel of John, Jesus is declared to be the Son of God. Jesus, the Son of God, is the “only Son from the Father” (John 1:14). The Greek word there translated as “only” is debated. Some say it means “only begotten,” some “only” or “unique.” Whatever that word means, though, it clearly designates that the first person of the Trinity is uniquely related to Jesus as a Father. He is first and foremost the Father of the Son.
But we call Him “Father” not only because He is the Father of Jesus, but because He is “our Father” (Matthew 6:9). He is our Father if we have come to the Son to be saved. After Jesus’ atoning death and death defeating resurrection, He appeared to Mary Magdalene and instructed her to tell his “brothers,” “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17). This verse teaches us that Jesus’ work has forged a new relationship between the Father and those who are His brothers. God is not only the Father of Jesus, the Son, but because of the work of the Son, believers are adopted into God’s family. Through the finished work of Christ received by faith, we are brought into the household of God (Ephesians 2:19), and we now, through the abiding Spirit of adoption cry out to God, “Abba! Father” (Romans 8:15).
If we trust in Christ, God is not a Father in some abstract, theological sense, but in a real, relational sense. We are adopted sons through faith in the only Son of the Father, and as sons, we are heirs of our Father and joint heirs of Glory with Jesus (Romans 8:17). And as adopted sons of God, we can know we have a Father who loves us with an everlasting, unchangeable love through Jesus His Son.
Do you know God the Father? Do you know His love manifested through His Son for the salvation and adoption of unworthy sinners like you and me?