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What Christmas Reveals: God is Father

by Dan Cruver Published Dec 1, 2011

In other words, the Incarnation reveals that..

“The most foundational thing in God is not some abstract quality, but the fact that he is Father. Again and again, the Scriptures equate the terms ‘God’ and ‘Father’: in the Exodus, the Lord calls Israel ‘my firstborn son’ (Exodus 4:22; see also Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1); he carries his people ‘as a father carries his son’ (Deuteronomy 1:31), disciplines them ‘as a man disciplines his son’ (Deuteronomy 8:5); he calls to them, saying

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him (Psalm 103:13)


How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation. I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. (Jeremiah 3:19; see also Jeremiah 3:4; Deuteronomy 32:6; Malachi 1:6).

Isaiah thus prays ‘you are our Father… you, O LORD, are our Father’ (Isaiah 63:16; see also Isaiah 64:8); and a popular Old Testament name was ‘Abijah’ (The LORD is my father’). Then Jesus repeatedly refers to God as ‘the Father’ and directs prayer to ‘Our Father’; he tells his disciples he will return ‘to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’ (John 20:17); Paul and Peter refer to ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Romans 15:6; 1 Peter 1:3); Paul writes of ‘one God, the Father’ (1 Corinthians 8:6), of ‘God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 1:3); Hebrews counsels ‘God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplines by his father?’ (Hebrews 12:7).

Since God is, before all things, a Father, and not primarily Creator or Ruler, all his ways are beautifully fatherly. It is not that this God ‘does’ being Father as a day-job, only to kick back in the evenings as plain old ‘God’. It is not that he has a nice blob of fatherly icing on top. He is Father. All the way down. Thus all that he does he does as Father. That is who he is. He creates as a Father and he rules as a Father; and that means the way he rules over creation is most unlike the way any other God would rule over creation” (from Dr. Michael Reeves’ forthcoming book The Good God: Enjoying Father, Son and Spirit).

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