A Devotion for 29thMay 2019 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:4-7: all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
As my own grandfather would have said, the subject of today’s lesson is of “a right, smart importance.” God the Father is the most important figure in Scripture alongside God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Mind, purpose, and Omnipotence of all there are indivisible. But the term, Father, suggests a certain preeminence in Scripture. God the Father is the progenitor of all life and all substance. He is included in the very first verse of the Bible though not in isolation to the other two members of the Godhead. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) So, you see no mention of the other two here? The term for God here used is in the Hebrew, Elohim, which is an unusual grammatical category peculiar to Hebrew. It means a ‘singular/plural) – one Godhead – Three Persons. The next verse confirms the presence of the Holy Spirit: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)
So, where is the Son at the moment of Creation, is He not mentioned? God has not elected to make the Son fully revealed to us until the Gospel Age, though He is made reference to in many points of the Old Testament. “Serve the LORDwith fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalm 2:11-12) We must wait until His glory is revealed to find Him present at Creation: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. . . . . 14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth..” (John 1:1-4, 14)
So all Three Persons of the Godhead are revealed in the first verse of Genesis. The Father is always referred to as God in the Old Testament, or derivatives of that term such as Eloah. We might consider God the Father to be the Architect of the Universe, God the son to be the Executive Agent in making all things, and the Holy Spirit as the Moving Power subduing all matter and space. They constitute the 3 infinite dimensions that encompass all the Universe. But we will focus in this devotion on the Father. How often we have appealed to Him in prayer! In fact, our most oft repeated prayer taken from Scripture begins with the words, “Our Father.” In community of worship, we do not claim Him only as ‘my’ Father since that would be narrow and inaccurate. In the Community of Christ, He is the Father of all assembled of faith – He is OUR Father.
The two Creeds of our Book of Common Prayer – the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed begin alike with tribute to the Father. “I believe in God the Father Almighty” (Apostle’s Creed) and “I believe in one God the Father Almighty” (Nicene Creed). You will observe that these differ from the beginning of the “Our Father” of the Lord’s Prayer. Why? The prayer is communal and it is true that God is the Father of all who worship Him in the beauty of holiness. But the Creeds are statements of personal faith of each individual present. We cannot express the faith of others – that is an individual responsibility.
In three places of the New Testament, God the Father is referred to as ‘ABBA.’ Spelled forward, or backward, it remains the same for He is the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega. The word is a Syriac word derived from the Hebrew ‘Ab.’ Let’s examine its three occurrences in the New Testament:
1) “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36)
2) “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15) and
3) “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:4-6)
Note that the Hebrew derivative for Father (ABBA) is used in conjunction with the Greek word for Father. (ABBA, Father). Perhaps this is an allusion to the fact that the Gospel grace extended to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, as it is written; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans1:16) i.e., ABBA first (Jew) and Father second (Greek word for father is used).
We have a common reference to God in theological terms as being the father of all living. That is true in a humanly sense. Adam is the federal head of the human race, but above Adam is another Father who is the Almighty God. We read in the genealogical tables of the Gospel of St. Luke: “Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” (Luke 3:38) God was the father of Adam in a real physical sense since He created Adam from the dust of the earth. In a physical sense, God as Creator is father; but not the Father of all in a Spiritual sense. Only those who are redeemed may call God our Father. (see Galatians 4:5-6).
Remarkably, the spurious new versions of the Bible such as the ESV and NIV demean the identity of our Lord in many places but most prominently in John 3:16. Both the ESV and NIV make God out to be a liar in referring to Him as the “only Son” (ESV) and “one and only son” (NIV) since all of faith are sons and daughters of God. Those two versions imply that our Lord is not much different than the rest of us as sons and daughters; but Jesus is the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON as the Creeds state along with Holy Scripture. So what is the difference? The word for only Begotten in the Greek is (μονογενήςmono-genēs).That means that our Lord is the Only Son of the same substance and issue of the Father unlike those of us who are sons and daughters by adoption. That is a profound distinction between our Lord Jesus Christ and those sons and daughters of adoption. So, you may begin to see a motive emerge in the new versions to cast our Lord to a lower rung on the ladder since He keeps getting in the way of a globalist religion. He is the One Person in religious faith who died for our redemption and who has risen to be with the Father. All other religions are religions of works – and quite often those best works will get you beheaded.
Our Bible is the oldest Book ever recorded, and the only one in which no errors are possible to be found. It is our Father’s gift to us. It is the Word of God which our Lord Jesus Christ personifies.
The attributes of God can be compared to an earthly father in a number of ways:
- An earthly father gives being and substance to his offspring. God is the Father of our spiritual being. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:18) and “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3)
- An earthly father (should) make provision for the shelter, nourishment and training of his children. God our Father does the same in a greater sense: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” (Isaiah 1:2) “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:2-3)
- A father will love and cherish his own children even to the point of dying in their defense. He is always partial to his own and never fails in compassion for them. He will clothe his children with the best he can afford. God is likewise mindful of our apparel and shelter. “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30)
- A father cannot rest while his son or daughter is lost. He will search the fields and mountains to find them; but God the Father is different in this respect. Remember the prodigal son who left his father and went into a far country and spent all his inheritance. There was no point in time when the boy was without a father who loved him even at a distance; but the father did not go seeking after the boy. He knew he would not come to his senses if he were forcibly returned. So, he patiently waited. God will not go in the direction of sin – He cannot go with us into the fleshpots and cesspools of life; but He will wait until His son or daughter comes to their senses and He will then embrace them. When He sees them, even at a great distance, coming in the right direction, He will meet them and love them.
There are many more ways that God is like the best Father. Can you name them?