Show Us the Father
Fatherhood is a major biblical theme. God is presented to us, in the Bible, as the Father of His chosen people (1 Pet 2:9). This is in contrast with those people, who have the devil as their father (Jn 8:44; 1 Jn 3:10). To become a child of God, one must be adopted by God into His family (Rom 8:15; 23; Eph 1:4–5). God’s motive, in adding ungodly sinners to His family, is simply love (1 Jn 3:1).
When a new relationship begins, there begins the process of knowing someone new. When a child is born into a family or adopted into a family, there must be familiarization.
In Jesus’ ministry, we recognize His first advent was to reveal God to people, in the most profound way. He showed them the Father, by showing His own Father and Son relationship (Jn 10:30). In other words, one cannot know and understand God apart from this union. For example, Jesus said, “All things have been handed over to Me, by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him (Mt 11:27).
There is a principle in life that children reveal much about their parents. Stated another way, good parents are known by their good children and bad children are typically a product of bad parents. This is the rule, and we admit there are exceptions. No one is perfect in these matters, except God.
To learn of God’s perfect Son is to learn from Him, the perfect Father. Also, it is not enough to know about them to become like them. One must receive the Spirit, who as our Teacher and the One who shows us the Father and the Son (Jn 14:26). By showing us the perfect union of perfect parent and perfect child, the Spirit reveals His work of conforming us to these perfections (Rom 8:29; 1 Pet 1:2). He also gives hope that these perfections are the reality of glory to come, for the saints (Rom 8:18, 30).
The Bible reveals the truth about our first father, Adam (Gen 2–3). He set the example of why so much is wrong in our relationships. Worse, his sin nature is our inheritance (Ps 51:5; Eph 2:3). We are all sons of Adam, the sinner (Rom 5:12–21). We are sinners like Him, by nature and practice (Rom 3:23).
Although the Bible mentions Adam, as a son of God, Adam abandoned that birthright, by his rebellion. Adam embraced sin and this made him a child of the devil, who proved to be an abusive father to both Adam and his progeny.
Philip’s question to Jesus is helpful, “Lord, show us the Father (Jn 14:8).” Jesus’ reply is even more helpful, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father (Jn 14:9a).” Because God is Spirit, we struggle to understand spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14), in fact, there is an utter inability (Rom 8:7). Seeing Jesus helps us see the invisible God, who sends His Spirit, to transform us into our new identity, as sons of God (Rom 12:2). Christians are now becoming who they are in title.
By keeping our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2), setting our minds on the Spirit and the things above (Col 3:2), we are being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29), the second Adam (Rom 5:12–21). Jesus is forming a new and holy nation (Mt 16:18; 1 Pet 2:9), of those who look to Him alone, for salvation (Acts 4:12; Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6). He has redeemed us from slavery to sin and Satan, and we now belong to Him (Jn 10; 1 Cor 3:23).
In our spiritual union with Christ, we are brought into vital union with God, as our Father. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Our Father…” This is remarkable, and it serves as an offense to religious unbelievers. “Who gives you the right to call God your Father?” This is the same offense Jesus’ opponents experienced when Jesus said, “I and the Father are One” (Jn 10:30. He was making Himself out to be God. Jesus, however, knew where He had come from, and He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (Phil 2:6).
When the Christian refers to God as his or her Father, it is self-identification. It is a testimonial claim of adoption. It is the Holy Spirit, who affirms the legitimacy of the adoption and the relationship (2 Cor 1:21–22; 5:5). Therefore, the Christian is bold in his witness (1 Cor 1:31), to the truth about God his Father. He is jealous for the family name. There is a desire, for the name above all other names to be honored and exalted (Eph 1:21; Phil 2:9).
To learn, fatherhood, therefore, we must go to the Son and learn of Him (Is 9:6). Here is the Christian’s salvation and his life. Knowing God, as Father, and knowing Christ, as Son, gives us a knowledge, but it also has the powerful effect of us becoming like them. Christ is being formed in me (Gal 4:19).
The imperfections of our earthly father must be forgiven them. We must turn our eyes upon Jesus. Only then do we learn of our adopted Father. By knowing Him, we know of our salvation, and how every good gift and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights (Jas 1:17). The greatest of these gifts is Jesus Himself (2 Cor 9:15).
Christian, remember the identity of your Father and what He has done for you. You can know more than you do, today, by simply going to the Son, in the Spirit, asking, “Lord, show us the Father and His only begotten Son, our Lord, and it is enough for us because from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things (Rom 11:36).”
Flathead Lake, Montana
July 24, 2022