God in His holy dwelling is a father of the fatherless and a champion of widows.—Psalm 68:5
The second word in our Master’s model of prayer is “Father.” In Christian circles the term “Father” is probably the most common term used when addressing God, and rightly so, for this is the pattern Jesus set when teaching His disciples the art of effective praying.
This raises the much debated question: Is God a Father to all men and women everywhere or only to those who are committed members of the Christian church? For many years now liberally minded theologians have taught that God is everyone’s Father, so we are all His children and thus all brothers and sisters. This teaching, known as the universal brotherhood of man, makes conversion unnecessary and puts to one side the redemptive sufferings of Christ on the cross.
The Bible teaches that God is a Father in two senses. Firstly, He is the Father of the human family by virtue of creation. Malachi 2:10 says: “Don’t all of us have one Father? Didn’t one God create us?” In Acts 17:28 Paul said: “We are…His offspring.” In the sense of creation, yes, God is our Father.
In the sense of a familial relationship, He is not. Jesus said to the Jewish leaders: “You are of your father the Devil” (John 8:44). Quite clearly, the fatherhood of God is seen in the Bible in two senses. He is the Father of all as their Creator, but He has another family—a family within a family—consisting of those who have committed themselves to Jesus Christ, the Son.
O God, I am so grateful that I know You as my Father—not only in the creative sense, but in the familial sense. May the wonder of this closer relationship grow within me hour by hour and day by day. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Rm 8:1-17; Isa 64:8; Jn 1:12
How have we “received the Spirit of adoption”?
What is our cry?