Having already discussed the doctrine of the Trinity, now we will begin our consideration each Member of the Godhead individually, starting with God the Father. THIS IS VERY IMPORATANT - Though we will discuss them separately over the next few weeks, remember that they are not separate gods. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one God in three Persons. This is the Baptists' doctrinal statement regarding God the Father -
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream
of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and
all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is
fatherly in His attitude toward all men. - Baptist Faith & Message 2000
God the Father is the Person of the Trinity who wills, plans, and purposes. He is the decision-maker. He issues the decrees and sets forth morality and law. God the Father speaks, thereby initiating the activities of the Godhead. God the Son and God the Holy Spirit both work in differing ways to carry out the divine intentions of the Father. As we examine the above position statement, I notice 3 manners in which God as Father reigns over His creation. These form the fundamental basis of our understanding of God the Father as presented in the Bible. He reigns providentially, perfectly, and paternally.
First, the Father reigns providentially. As you can easily see, the root word of “providence” is “provide”. This gives us some insight into how God cares for us. But “providence” carries a deeper meaning than simply provision. It also is defined as “with foreknowledge” or “known in advance”. When we combine the meanings, we discover that the Father exercises His foreknowledge of all things in order to provide for the needs of His creation in advance.
Our Father’s providential care applies to His entire creation – to things both living and nonliving. He directs the course of time and history according to His purposes, drawing it toward its predetermined end. When we consider how God’s providence affects us as individuals, we realize that He anticipates our every need and carefully prepares to meet each of them before they even become known to us. Amazing!
Second, the Father reigns perfectly. His rule is absolute in that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-wise. He always knows exactly what to do and is completely able to do anything which will bring about His divine will. He is also all-loving, which gives us clear understanding of how He rules. His purpose is to bestow love. This great love for His creation is the reason or motivation that undergirds everything that God does. The measure of the Father’s love for us is limitless, and He reigns for our benefit, not to our detriment.
Third, the Father reigns paternally. The word “paternal” is related to or associated with the father. God is the Father of all of those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. Those who have been born again become the “children of God”, so it stands to reason that He would rightfully be called their Father. However, those who reject the offer of salvation and remain unrepentant are not included in “the children of God”. For these, although He is certainly their Creator, God is not their Father. Even still, He acts fatherly toward all persons – whether they are saved or unsaved.
As Father, He provides for His family. As Father, He protects His family. As Father, He leads and directs His family. As Father, He establishes and enforces boundaries for His family. As Father, He is present with His family. If you are a Christian, then God is your Father in truth. He is the One to whom you direct your prayers and is the source of all good things. Hallelujah!
In our next message, we will briefly overview what Baptists’ believe about the second Person of the Trinity – God the Son. How is He distinct among the Godhead? Who is the Son and what did He do on behalf of mankind? I hope you will be able to join us next week as we continue our journey through this exciting series.