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God as Father

Becoming Children of God

Everyone has a father. The Bible categorizes people as either being children of God or children of the devil. Our status is revealed by our attitudes and behavior.
"No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because Godís seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John 3:9,10
"You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do." John 8:44

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." 1John 4:7

Since "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" Rom 3:23, even Christians, prior to being made alive in Christ, "were by nature children of wrath, just as the others." Eph 2:3 But having believed, such people are given the right to become children of God.
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of Godó" John 1:12
There is a change of status. "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."Col 1:13,14 But there is not simply just a change in status like an adoption. For after having believed there is an actual rebirth which takes place. "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. ... That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:3,6

Becoming a child of God is over and above being justified - forgiven of sin. For God was under no obligation to make us his children having forgiven our sins. Realize also that the sacrifice of his Son was not a demonstration of the extent of his love for his children. That was rather a demonstration of the extent of his love for his enemies. But for his children his love extends much further.

"God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from Godís wrath through him! For if, when we were Godís enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" Rom 5:8-10

Being Sanctified as a Child of God

It is through that love that he sanctifies us to so that we ultimately will have behaviors and attitudes characteristic of children of God.
God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 2Cor 6:16-18
God demands holiness of us for our good and will discipline us to achieve it, as a father disciplines his children.
"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness." Heb 12:7-10
Therefore when God disciplines you neither take it too lightly nor too seriously. "Do not make light of the Lordís discipline, and do not lose hear when he rebukes you,  because the Lord disciplines those he loves." Heb 12: 5 For God's purpose is not to condemn but to build up.

As a father, "The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;  he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;  as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him" Ps 103:8-13

God also practices his fatherhood in the family of God through mature believers. "For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory." 1Thess 2:11 These are the kinds of activities characteristics of fathers - Encouraging, comforting and exhorting.

As our Father God is always available for us. He hears our every cry. 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." Rom 8:15 So in this sense we do not have to fear approaching him. And so "let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence." Heb 4:16 But at the same time "since you call on a Father who judges each manís work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear." 1Peter 1:17

Jesus the Model Son

Jesus, being the Son of God, is our example as to how to respond and relate to God as our Father. For God said to him, "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." Luke 3:22 Jesus pleases his Father by doing as he directed, and saying what he taught him. "I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." John 8:28,29 God associates with those who do what pleases him. So if you want to treat God as Father, do what he commanded and say what he taught. Obviously this implies that a good son is listening and learning from the Father with an application oriented mindset. Furthermore such people associate with Jesus.  Jesus said: It is written in the Prophets: ĎThey will all be taught by God.í Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. John 6:45 And so also such people listen to his apostles - fellow brothers in Christ. "We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us." 1John 4:6

Discussion Questions

What is the role of a father in a family?
What misconceptions may people have about the role of father due to cultural influences?
How does a father's treatment of his children vary with their level of maturity?
How do fathers think differently about their own kids versus their neighbor's kids?
How has your father (or yourself if you're a father) followed God's example of fatherhood and how has he fallen short?
In what sense are Christians children of God? Is is simply positional like an adoption?
How does God as a father differ from the idea of God as merely a friend?
What does God expect of his children?
What should be our attitude when God disciplines us?
How does God as father reconcile with the idea that we should fear God?
In what ways was Jesus the model son?

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Dec 19,2023