Category: Columns

The Fatherhood of God

This is the 14th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available by contacting the MBC or through Amazon and other booksellers.

In the previous column, we explored the Father’s deity. Now, let’s look at some ways the Bible describes the Fatherhood of God.

First, the Greek word theos is used of the Father. We see this in numerous passages, such as Galatians 1:1 and 1 Peter 1:2. While theos also is used of Satan (2 Cor. 4:4) and pagan idols (1 Cor. 8:5), the New Testament writers are clear that these entities are not God by nature (Gal. 4:8). In fact, Paul argues that the gods of the pagans actually are demons (1 Cor. 10:20).

In addition, the Greek kyrios (Lord) is found more than 700 times in the New Testament and is clearly applied to the Father in numerous passages (e.g., Matt. 4:7; Heb. 12:5-6).

Second, the Father’s divine attributes reveal His deity. The Father is eternal (Rom. 1:20; 1 Tim. 6:16); almighty (Rev. 19:6); immortal (1 Tim. 1:17); all-knowing (Matt. 6:32); perfect (Matt. 5:48); and true deity (John 17:3).

We should not overlook the significance of 1 John 1:3, where the apostle writes, “[W]hat we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” The invitation to fellowship with the Father, as with the Son, demonstrates both His personhood and His deity.
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The Father is God

This is the 13th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available by contacting the MBC or through Amazon and other booksellers.

There is little dispute among professing Christians that our Heavenly Father is God. This is true even among the most prominent forms of counterfeit Christianity.

For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the deity and personhood of Jehovah, whom they identify as the Father, even though they deny the doctrine of the Trinity and embrace unbiblical views about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints profess belief in Heavenly Father, or Elohim, whom they worship as the god of this world, although he is one of a multitude of gods and potential gods.

These doctrinal distinctions highlight the importance of defending historic Christianity. If we fail to understand the Father correctly, and if we miss the clear teachings of Scripture with respect to His relationship with the other members of the Godhead, then the biblical doctrines of creation, redemption, and restoration suffer as well.

As Robert Morey writes, “The notion that all religions worship the Father just under different names is an idea totally foreign and antithetical to the Bible. Only the Trinitarian can truly worship God the Father because only the Trinitarian worships the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
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The persons of the Trinity: distinct, not separate

This is the 12th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available by contacting the MBC or through Amazon and other booksellers.

In the previous column, we examined the personhood of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While the three persons of the Godhead are distinct, they cannot be separated. That is, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-equal and co-eternal. They exist simultaneously, not consecutively.

So, let’s summarize this essential truth, drawing from Scripture:

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are present together at Jesus’ baptism (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-23).

In the Great Commission, Jesus sends His followers to make disciples in “the name [singular] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …” (Matt. 28:19-20).

The three persons of the Godhead work together to grant spiritual gifts to followers of Jesus: “Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord [Jesus]. And there are different activities, but the same God [Father] produces each gift in each person. A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:4-7).
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The personhood of God

This is the 11th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available through Amazon and other booksellers.

The Bible tells us there is one true God, who exists as three distinct but inseparable persons. So, let’s briefly consider a few ways in which the personhood of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is expressed in Scripture.

The Father

God the Father displays personal attributes. To name a few, He is:

Loving: “And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him” (1 John 4:16).

Gracious: “He did not even spare his own Son but offered him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything?” (Rom. 8:32).

Made known through the Son: “No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side – he has revealed him” (John 1:18).

Merciful: Jesus tells His followers, “Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” (Luke 6:36).

In addition, the Father knows (Matt. 6:8); speaks (Matt. 3:17); sees (Matt. 6:4); wills (Matt. 7:21); gives or does not give (Matt. 7:11); reveals or hides (Matt. 11:25); is or is not pleased (Mark 1:11); forgives or does not forgive (Matt. 6:14-15); sends (1 John 4:14); and much more. These are the activities of a person and, as such, there should be no doubt about the personhood of God the Father.
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The Trinity and other gods

This is the 10th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available through Amazon and other booksellers.

In Scripture, the Hebrew word elohim is used thousands of times for the singular God of Israel, but not exclusively. The biblical writers also employ elohim to refer to members of God’s heavenly council or assembly (Ps. 89:5-7); gods and goddesses of nations surrounding Israel (Judg. 11:24); territorial spirits (Hebrew: shedim, often translated “demons,” Deut. 32:17); and the spirits of deceased people (1 Sam. 28:13).

In other words, biblical writers used elohim to label any entity that is not embodied by nature and is a member of the spiritual realm.

In every case, these other “gods” are created beings, none of whom shares the unique qualities of Yahweh (omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, transcendence, immutability, etc.). They owe their existence, power, knowledge, and authority to Yahweh and ultimately are accountable to Him.

So, when Scripture states there is no God but Yahweh, and also speaks of other gods, we should not see this as a contradiction. Rather, we should see it as a way the biblical writers describe residents of the spiritual realm.
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