The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 30

"OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, ………" (Matt. 6: 9)

On this "Fathers' Day" I thought it might be appropriate to consider the relationship we have with our heavenly Father. Since God is a person, he can enter into personal relationships. There are many ways in which our relationship with God is described in the Bible- for example, that of 'shepherd and sheep'; 'king and subjects', and so on. But the closest and tenderest is that of "Father". Jesus' most common term for God was "Father". That name is reserved specially for the First Person of the Trinity.

All human beings exist in a relationship to God as Father, but yet in different ways. As believers, ours is a special relationship. Let's examine why it is so.

There is firstly what is called His Creational Fatherhood. This is the fundamental relation of God to man whom he made in his own image, and is demonstrated in the natural relationship, which is the gift of life. All human beings enjoy this relationship. It does not guarantee eternal life.

There is what theologians call God's Theocratic Fatherhood. This is God's relationship to his covenant people, Israel. But this is more a collective relationship rather than a personal, individual one. Here God regards the nation Israel as his child. Under the new covenant we as the church (God's people) are required also to respond to this divine Fatherhood collectively. We are God's church.

Then there is God's Generative Fatherhood. This aspect of God's relationship is unique and belongs only to the Second Person of the Trinity, designated the 'Son of God', and the 'Only Begotten Son'. This relationship therefore cannot be applied to any other creature. Jesus whilst on earth spoke most frequently of this relationship which was only his, because it was without beginning. He made this distinction whenever he spoke about his relationship to God. He indicated two distinct 'Father' relationships when he spoke to Mary after his resurrection: "My Father and your Father" (Jn. 20: 17).

Finally there is the aspect of God's Adoptive Fatherhood. This relationship belongs only to believers, made available to us because of the redeeming work of Christ and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. "For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith" (Gal. 3:26). Sons and heirs. That's good news!

But lets' not forget our obligations as children. We are to love each other. We are also to forgive others, or our Heavenly Father will not forgive us! If you struggle with this, God, your loving Father, can give you the grace to overcome. ASK HIM!

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues