“You sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.
For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. ‘Father’ is the Christian name for God. Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.”
–J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1973/1993), 201-202
In Bible there are NO good examples of human fathers. They all messed up one way or the other at some point. Against this backdrop of the failure of fathers stands the image of God the Father, who exemplifies all those characteristics that the flesh-and-blood fathers lack: patience, kindness, firmness, attention.
When we think of God as Father, our understanding is inevitably affected by the fathers we have known and especially our own parents. Some people have problems trusting God as their Father because they only experienced rejection or even abuse from their human father. Human fathers who were inconsiderate or demanding, never satisfied or always angry, undependable or always critical can leave us with unhelpful images of fatherhood. In contrast God is everything that a father should be, and so much more. Patient, always available, kind and giving and supportive, always accepting and protective. Because of their own experiences, some people find it easier to think about God as “the perfect parent”, everything that a parent ought to be.
Jesus the Son of God came and lived and died and rose again so that we might become God’s children too.
Read John 20:17; 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1 NIV).
The door into this wonderful relationship with God is his everlasting love and amazing forgiveness.
Psalm 103:8-14. 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
God welcomes us into His forever family whether we have been good children or bad children.
Luke 15:11-24; 11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Sometimes the problem for Christians is that we can forget that we are God’s children
Luke 15 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”
God the Father provides for all our physical needs
Matthew 6:25-34; 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
God the Father also provides for all our spiritual needs
Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 1 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
In the Gospels we find God referred to as Father with different frequency. 4 instances in Mark, 44 in Matthew, 15 in Luke, and 109 in John. An even more remarkable variation appears if one considers only the occurrences of the absolute form, “the Father”: once in Mark, twice in Matthew, three times in Luke, seventy-three times in John. It is almost always only Jesus who calls God Father or the Father or my Father. In John only Jesus is “the Son”
Jesus’s relationship with Father was unique but it reveals what God as Father is like and gives a pattern for our relationship should be. In all Paul’s letters the opening greeting describes God as Father. Father of Jesus Christ, glorious Father, Father of mercies. In Paul’s writings God is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and by adoption God is the Father of all Christians. But this relationship only comes through God’s redemptive activity.
Jesus called God “Abba” and the Holy Spirit gives us the privilege of calling God “Abba”.
Jesus Himself used the Aramaic title “Abba” for His Father, in Mark 14:36.
6 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
We see there both intimacy but also respect and obedience. Even though Abba is the name which by even the youngest children call their fathers in the middle east even today, it is mistake to say that Abba is the equivalent of Daddy. In the OT and then the NT, as in all ancient cultures, fathers held authority over their children in ways not found today, even when the children become adults. Bible fathers look after their children’s needs, especially spiritual needs. And it is fathers’ responsibility to teach their children. So as well as intimacy, the title Abba implies a respect which Daddy does not. It really means “Dear Father.”
And it is the work of the Holy Spirit to enable believers to call God “Abba”
Romans 8:15-18; 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Galatians 4 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Knowing God as Father affects our praying.
Luke 11:; 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “ ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
Luke 11 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”