The Lord Jesus introduced to His disciples a relationship that was not enjoyed by any Old Testament saints when He spoke of God as “your Heavenly Father.” The foundation of this new relationship is explained in the epistles when in Galatians 4:6 the apostle reveals that the believer spontaneously, naturally, and freely cries out the words “Abba, Father” because God has sent the Spirit of Sonship into our hearts. Not being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Old Testament saints never enjoyed the closeness of the relationship into which we have been brought. Again in Romans 8:14-17, when dealing with the blessed position of the believer, Paul states that “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” These have received, “not a spirit of bondage again to fear…but the Spirit of Sonship, whereby we cry Abba Father.” Being led by the Spirit of God in Romans 8 is not an expression of our condition but rather of our character in contradistinction to those who are described as being “after the flesh,” “in the flesh,” and as having “the mind of the flesh.” Shall we look at the blessings of this new relationship we express when in perfect boldness we say, “Our Father?”
Your Heavenly Father’s Care
Perhaps the first thought that comes to our minds when we consider the Fatherhood of God is His care for us. This is so clearly articulated in the words of the Lord Jesus when He said “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap or gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matt. 6:26). He had just told the disciples that they should take no anxious thought for their life - their food, their drink, their raiment. Consider the fowls of the air for they are fed; consider the fields for they are clothed; consider your faith in the Father for He is cognizant of all our needs before we ask and yet He wants us to ask. He cares for us for we are His own. He is capable, for He is the Father in Heaven. The Christian is not told that he should not think about the morrow or make plans for the future. He is told to “take no anxious thought for the morrow.” Anxiety and worry, the great plagues of so many believers, are expressions of our failure to trust His wisdom, His love and His power.
When the disciples awakened the Lord from His sleep in the storm-tossed ship on the Sea of Galilee, they asked, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38). When Peter wrote his first epistle, he showed that he had learned the answer for he said, “He careth for you.” Literally, it could be expressed, “It matters to Him about you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Your Heavenly Father's Consistency
“Do not err my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights, with whom is no variation nor shadow of turning.” This is JND's translation of James 1:17-18. What is the meaning of the expression, “Father of lights?” It evidently refers to the unsullied and unchanging character of the Father, the One in whom “is no darkness at all.” Since we are His children, and He is the Great Giver, the Father of Lights, Who has implanted within us His Word, at conversion, it is obligatory that we should display His character. The Christian is not to walk in darkness; he is not to err. Hence, he cannot allow sin, the darkness, to run its course in his life. When he is tempted, he must break the course of sin. Lust cannot be permitted to conceive for when it does it will give birth to sin and sin to death. We are to live transparent lives before Him and in the power of the implanted Word and of the Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us. (James 1:21; 4:5)
Your Heavenly Father's Chastening
“For what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:7). Perhaps the greatest dissertation on chastening is found in Hebrews 12. The underlying premise is that a father, out of love for his child, will discipline him by word and by action with a view to his training and development. Indeed the word “chastening” means child training and does not, on most occasions, contain a punitive sense as much as it does a preventive and productive connotation. The passage shows us the reasons for this child training; it is in order that we might become partakers of His holiness and that we might produce the peaceable fruits of righteousness in our lives. It also shows how we can react to the chastening. Unfortunately, some when chastened, despise the training. They faint to see the Father’s hand and make light of the trial without searching for the Hand behind the hand. Others faint under the chastening. They become discouraged by the trial and give up. But there are those who take the chastening as from the gracious hand of the Father who is fulfilling His purposes in their lives and so are “trained” by the trial. Can we trust Him to always do what is best for us?
Your Heavenly Father's Counsel
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart” (Prov. 3:20-21). The early part of the Book of Proverbs is the instruction of the father to his son. Certainly, fatherhood carries with it the right and the responsibility to counsel. Paul summarized his work among the new believers at Thessalonica by saying “ye know how we encouraged and comforted and charged every one of you as a father does his own children.” (1 Thess. 2:11) This will give us an insight into the important role of fathers in counseling their children. Turning to our Heavenly Father, when we call Him Father we are giving to Him the right to counsel us. He does this through His Word. The promise is “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will counsel thee with Mine eye” (Psalm 32:8). Our responsibility is to be “not as the horse or as the mule...whose mouth must be held in with bit or bridle.” Obedience should not be external; it should be out of love and from the hidden man of the heart.”
Your Heavenly Father and Your Conduct
“And if ye call Him Father…pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (1 Peter 1:17). Addressing Him as Father implies that we want to be “obedient children, not fashioning ourselves according to the former lusts in our ignorance.” We are always being fashioned. Morally we are being fashioned by our desires. He who has called us is holy. We are therefore to pursue holy desires and reproduce His character in our lives. The Lord Jesus said to his disciples, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Your Heavenly Father and Your Communion
One of the great privileges of a child of God is communion with the Father. From the pristine condition when God walked in the Garden in the cool of the day in communion with the man that He had created, His purpose has been expressed in the words, 'I will dwell in them and walk in them and I will be their God and they shall be My people” (2 Corinthians 6:16). Communion with Him requires separation from the world and its ways and so He promises to the separated believers, “I will be a Father unto you and ye shall be My sons and daughters.” The believer, walking like the world, cannot enjoy this communion. Fellowship with Him is impossible when there is sin in our lives for “in Him there is no darkness at all.” When sin is confessed and communion is restored the believer can enter into his closet and shut the door and pray to His “Father which is in secret” (Matthew 6:6).
Your Heavenly Father and Your Consecration
The Lord Jesus left us the great example of consecration to the Father when He said, “Wist ye not that I must be in the things of the Father?” (Luke 2:49, Newberry). Indeed the first reference in the New Testament to God being our Father exhorts us to “Let your light so shine before men that they shall see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16). We are here on the earth with the purpose of glorifying the Father! We need again to hear the Father’s charge, “Son, go work today in my vineyard.” There is a relationship and with the relationship there is responsibility. There is the redeeming of the time for He says “today.” But there is also a reward, for the Father Who sees in secret all that is done for Him will Himself “reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:1-5). When we call Him Father, these are the things we are expressing. May we serve Him!