Not Just a “Father”

Holy Father, protect them by Your name.—John 17:11

John Calvin said: “That God’s name should be hallowed is to say that God should have His own honor of which He is so worthy, so that men should never think or speak of Him without the greatest veneration.”

One of the things that saddens me about the contemporary Christian church is the way that some believers refer to the Almighty in terms that drag Him down to a “good buddy” relationship. They refer to the great God of creation as “The Man Upstairs” or “My Partner in the Sky.” When people talk about God in such low-level terms, they do Him an injustice. And it’s not so much the terms but the image of God that lies behind those terms which is the real problem.

We must, of course, strike a balanced note on this issue, for Paul himself teaches us that the Holy Spirit in our hearts prompts us to call God not merely “Father,” but “Daddy” (Rm 8:15). Too much of the “Daddy,” however, can lead us, if we are not careful, into sloppy sentimentalism. I believe this is why, after the phrase “Our Father,” Jesus introduces us to another aspect of God—hallowed, holy, reverenced be His Name. It is right that we think of God in familiar terms such as “Daddy,” but it is right also that we remember that our heavenly Father is a God of majestic holiness and unsullied purity. A. W. Tozer was right when he said, “No religion has been greater than its idea of God.” Jesus put it into proper focus when He addressed God, not only as Father, but Holy Father.

Prayer

My Father and my God, help me gain a healthy and balanced view of Your person, so that while I enjoy the familiarity of Your Fatherhood, I am exceedingly conscious also of Your holiness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Heb 12:1-14; Ex 15:11; 1Sm 6:20; Isa 6:3; Rv 15:4

Where are we to look?

How do we become holy?

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