“…one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Ephesians 4:6 (NIV UK)
Fatherhood has been in the news this week: from the images of fathers distraught that their children had been taken by their mothers to join the so-called Islamic State to the commercial celebration of Father’s Day this weekend.
In the book of Ephesians Paul reminds Christians of how inclusive God our Father is. This was a new concept in some ways because previously God was not discussed consistently using the term Father. It did sometimes occur in the Old Testament: for example in Isaiah 64:8, “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand”. The idea was that God was like Israel’s spiritual father. Not many nations around them would refer to their god or gods as a close father figure.
For Paul, however, it was clear that, through Jesus, God is our Father. Christ himself taught us to pray “Our Father”, and Paul refers often to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is an inclusive Father in Paul’s mind. He is not just the Father of Israel, but through Jesus each of us is adopted by God, and God is everyone’s Father in Christ. This is not a once in a year celebration but rather an every day relationship. In one way you could say that every day is God the Father’s day.
This means that the people we meet on the street, those in far off lands, those who may disagree with us, even those who don’t believe as we do – they are all included in Paul’s statement above: “One God and Father of all”.
Father, thank you for the relationship all humanity has with you in Christ Jesus, and help us to appreciate your fatherly and compassionate love for us every day of our lives. In Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. This week James is speaking at our Couldson congregation. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.