An infant child inherently trusts his mother and father. He is unable to do a thing for himself for he really has little choice but to trust his parents. He seems to know that if mommy and daddy are near, all will be just fine. Sometimes that trust is misplaced. Some parents are not trustworthy. But most are and most will give everything they have for the benefit of their child.
God is like that.
The Bible uses the word father much as we do today. But it adds a special usage too. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus used the word father to apply to Jehovah God. He spoke of people giving “glory to your father who is in heaven.” He would use the term again and again to describe the relationship between the human race and their creator.
Jesus would use a similar but very intimate term himself when he cried “Abba, father” in Gethsemane’s garden (Mark 14:36). For Jesus, who had been with the Father from the very beginning (John 1:1), the term accurately reflected their relationship. Since we are fellow heirs with Jesus it is reasonable that we view God as father too (Romans 8:17).
There are deep implications when we call God our father. Remember that God is the perfect father. While our fathers are imperfect, he is not.
Children give glory to their fathers.
It is thrilling to hear a child speak in glowing terms of their parents. It is wonderful when that child talks proudly of his father’s accomplishments. Likewise, we should give glory to our father. I like Paul’s praise of the father in Ephesians 3:20-21:
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Let us shine the bright light of glory upon our father who does all for his children.
Children are obedient to their fathers.
Because we trust our parents, we obey them. I know there are exceptions. Sometimes a child obeys out of fear (1 John 4:18). But in the end, we obey because we trust that our obedience will bring blessings. Children obey their parents for such is the first command with a promise (Ephesians 6:1).
In heavenly matters, let us also trust and obey our father. His commands are not a burden (1 John 5:3) but instead a refreshing alternative to the way of the world. Like children, new Christians may first obey largely out of a fear of punishment. But as our faith matures we obey as a normal, trusting response to his immense love.
Sometimes, children are punished by their fathers.
As a son, I was often punished by my father. As a father, I often punish my children. Effective punishment never arises from anger, but only from love. When I punish, my desire is to improve or change some behavior. God is no different.
God’s desire is for his children to be like him so that they can live with him eternally (1 Peter 1:13-16). When God punishes, it is because of a desire to change us, to make us into something greater. As such, divine punishment is a show of God’s love. Instead of resisting God, let him remake us in his image.