Lesson Nine – God Our Father

God, Our Father

Lesson Aim:  To appreciate the power of the synergistic effect of God, the Father, on Christians’ environment “in Christ.”


It is wonderful for Christians to know God our Creator is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal and love.  In other words, He is all powerful, all knowing, everywhere, eternal and loving.  When we consider the value of faith in these attributes on a Christians’ environment “in Christ,” we cannot help but marvel.  If we contrast our environment with the humanist or atheist, we can even better appreciate what a great blessing we enjoy “in Christ.”  However, when we consider the synergistic effect of God, our Father, on Christians’ mental and spiritual environment, we are overwhelmed by the dynamic blessing of the two combined entities.  Synergism is the cooperative action of discrete agencies such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the two acting independently.

The two theologies we will study in this lesson are God the Creator and God the Father.  First, we will make a brief study of the attributes of God; and then, as Christians, we will consider the concept of God as our Father.  Secondly, we will combine these two and consider their combined, or synergistic, effect on Christians’ mental and spiritual environment “in Christ.”   The attributes of God presented in Part One, Lesson One, entitled, “The Truth About God,” have been restated in the beginning of this lesson because they are so important for our understanding the aim of this lesson.


Those of us who believe the origin of mankind came from God view our lives with Him in mind.  The attributes of God form a stabilizing foundation for our lives.  God’s nature is absolute and it has a positive effect upon our endeavors to arrive at our own absolute reality.  We desire to order our lives according to the truth of the reality of God’s kingdom with Jesus as Lord.

God, our Creator, introduced Himself to Abraham as God Almighty (Gen. 17:1).  He asked Abraham, “Is there anything too difficult for the Lord?” Gen. 18:14.  Jesus told His disciples, “with God all things are possible.”  Matt. 19:26.  God is omnipotent, or all powerful.  This is one of the attributes of God we will consider in this lesson.  Also, the Psalmist said God is omniscient.  He is all knowing.  “Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.”  Psalms 147:5.

God said to Samuel, “...for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  I Sam. 16:7.  John proclaimed God knows all things (I John 3:20).  Furthermore, God is omnipresent or everywhere (Jer. 23:23, 24).  The Apostle Paul told the Greek philosophers, “they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”  Acts 17:27.

Moses witnessed to the eternalness of God.  He said, “Before the mountains were born, or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.”  Psa. 90:2.  But, John added love to the list of the attributes of God (I John 4:7, 8).  Since love is a high quality component of personality, God is a person.  God is a merciful, kind and a forgiving divine person (Phil. 2:27; Eph. 4:32).  He is a jealous God who becomes angry; however, because of the foregoing attributes, He is, at the same time, holy and righteous (Rom. 3:5; I Pet. 1:15; Ex. 20:5).  God’s anger is manifested both in His wrath and indignation.  On the Day of Wrath, He will reveal an abiding and hot anger because He has been waiting for “those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth.”  Rom. 2:8.

The humanistic and atheistic view of life is very different from a believer’s view.  Just so, there is a difference in the mental environment of a believer in God as the Creator and a Christian who relates to Him as our Father and Creator.

Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we exist through Him.  I Cor. 8:6

The theology of God as Father was first declared in the scriptures with God’s call of Israel out of Egypt.  The Lord told Moses, “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, thus says the Lord, ‘Israel is MY son, My first-born.’”  Ex. 4:22.  Hosea said of Israel “You are the sons of the living God.”  Hosea 1:10.  Since this time God has always been represented as Father in relation to His people in the Bible.  This does not mean God’s sonship plan began with Israel.  God planned to adopt Christians as His children before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3-5).  The New Testament writers assumed Christians understood God, the Father, theology.  The following excerpts are from scriptures attesting to this fact.

God is the Father of glory.  Eph. 1:17

God is the Father of mercies.  II Cor. 1:3

God is the Father of lights.  James 1:17

God is the Father of spirits.  Heb. 12:9

Father is translated from the Greek word PATER.  Its root signifies one who nourishes, protects and upholds.  The parable of the Prodigal Son is an excellent illustration of the Biblical relationship of a father, or parent, to their children.  The characteristics can be applied to God as our Father.  Please read Luke 15:11-32 and make a list of the different healthy parent/child relationships found in this parable.

At this point let us reflect again on the aim of our lesson.  Our interest is in the synergistic effect of God, the Creator, and God, the Father, on faithful Christians’ mental and spiritual environments.  So to speak, each human being lives in his or her own personal universe.  We live in our own room.  Now and then we come out and socialize with other people who, likewise, have developed their ego boundaries.  The mental and spiritual environment in our universe, rooms and ego boundaries are unique for each of us.   Christians appreciate the benefit of a healthy relationship with God, the Creator; especially, after we consider His omnipotence and other attributes.  We can also see the value of a proper parenthood on a child’s life from the data we gleaned from the parable of the Prodigal Son; however, in this lesson our aim is to learn the combined effect of these two theologies on Christians’ environment while we enjoy God the Creator as our Father.

For example, we want to see how the Apostle Paul combined two great theologies when he said, “There is…one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” Eph. 4:4-6.  One theology is found in II Cor. 6:18, where he quoted God when He said, “I will be a Father to you.”  The other is found in Romans 4:21 where Paul attested to Abraham’s faith.  He said “and being fully assured that what He (God) had promised, He was able to perform.”  The synergistic effect is; Christians have a loving heavenly Father who has the power to do what He has promised.  Sometimes political leaders make loving promises with good intentions but later they find they do not have the power to practice what they promised.

God Almighty is holy and His practice is righteousness.  Because this is who God is, John said, “God is light; in Him is no darkness at all.”  I John 1:5.  By the grace of God “in Christ” Christians “are sons of the light and sons of the day.  We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.”  I Thess. 5:5.  This is what is meant in this lesson by the mental and spiritual environment “in Christ.”  Although we live in the world our environment within our ego boundaries is completely different.  Paul admonished the Philippians church; “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.”  Phil. 2:14-16.

We learn from the parent/child relationship in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the parent has a vested interest in the child.  Consequently, the child has a niche to fulfil with his or her life.  Next, we understand the parent has glory that can be shared by the child.  Also, the parent in the parable had the necessary substance to sustain the basic needs of the child.  Another concept we note is how the child was given a choice to remain in the home or to leave.  Finally, the father had the power to forgive the child.  Although the theology of God, the Father, is as broad as the Bible, the following scripture sums up most of its affect on the Christian’s life.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.  II Thess. 2:16, 17

The effect God, our Father, has on our environment is eternal comfort and good hope.  These blessings in our lives comfort and strengthen our hearts in every good work and word.  This is the essence of a Christian’s life “in Christ” in this world.  This is the synergistic effect of God, our Father, on our environment “in Christ.”  Now that we know the answer for our lesson aim, let us consider how we can arrive at our conclusion from the data we have collected.  Our method will be to consider each of our deductions, separately, about the parent/child relationship from the parable of the Prodigal Son.   Then we will add to each of these parent/child relationships the complete list of the attributes of God.  After combining the two we will ascertain their synergistic effect upon Christians’ environment “in Christ.”

For instance, we concluded parents have a vested interest in their children.  If the children perceive this interest they realize they have an important niche to fulfil in their lives.  Children have a tendency to respond to others in the way they are expected to respond.  The more impressive the person, the more they want to please them is the general rule; therefore, the strength of the effect is increased with the importance and power of the person whom they want to please.

When we apply these principles to Christians we understand God, our Father, has a vested interest in each of us.  He does not want any of us to fall short of the glory He has prepared for us.  He has put in our bodies a spirit in His likeness (Jas. 3:9).  He is jealous for this spirit.  When we realize our importance to our Father we know we have an important niche in life.  This is especially true when we add to the Father theology the attributes of God, our Creator.  Since our Father is almighty, all knowing, everywhere, eternal and love, this makes our niche even more important to us.

The synergistic effect in relation to this point may be similar to the Pygmalion effect, or the self-fulfilling prophecy concept, found in learning theory.  It has been theorized if a teacher lets the student know he or she believes the student has unusual capabilities, the child has a tendency to fulfil the teacher’s prophecy.  If we believe we have an important role in life as sons of God, this within itself can have an effect on our mental environment to give us strength to fulfil this role.

We speak of an external effect igniting an inward power to excel.  The Lord said, “If you had the faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea; and it would obey you.’” Luke 17:6.  One synergistic effect of our faith that God is both our Creator and Father is manifested in our power to fulfil prophecy we believe about ourselves.  If we can believe we are sons of God, the belief itself has a tremendous effect to help us be sons of God (Rom. 8:16).  If we believe God has an interest in us, then we will want to please this Person who is Almighty.  This is one of the synergistic effects of God, the Father, on the inhabitants of the “in Christ” realm.

The Bible word for this Christian attribute is godliness.  We have a reverent respect for God and we do that which is pleasing to Him.  Paul told Timothy godliness is a means of great gain (II Tim. 3:16; 6:6).  We are rewarded for being good.  We have a niche in which we function.  The Christian life is the only program in the world where people are assured of rewards for doing good.  We may, or may not be rewarded by those we befriend but God does not forget our good deeds.  This will be the basis for our rewards on Judgment Day (II Cor. 5:10).

Another deduction we made from the parable of the Prodigal Son about the parent/child relationship is the glory of the parent belongs to the child.  It is easy to see how the effect of this concept is greatly influenced by the amount of glory the parent possesses.  For instance, if the father of the prodigal son had been taking his meals with the pigs on the next farm he would not have had much glory to offer his son.  When we relate this principle for Christians we see how the effect of two great truths is combined to give us a powerful boost in our lives.  We know the concept about the child sharing the glory of the parent applies to Christians because of the following statement made to the Corinthian Christians.

But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.  II Cor. 3:18

When we add this concept to the attributes of God, the Creator, we are dazzled by the amount of glory available.  John suggested glory awaits “He who overcomes.”  The following messages were sent to the churches in Philadelphia and Laodicea respectively:

He who overcomes I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore, and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.

He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  Rev. 3:12, 21

The synergistic effect of God, the Father, on each faithful Christian is that we have a hope for satisfaction of one of our inherited drives.  God created us for a glorious role.  He put within us a need for glory.  Adoption will not give a Christian enough glory in this world to satisfy this need; however, it gives us hope in life after death.  A hope for satisfaction of an inherited drive provides a source of strength for our present life.  Paul conveyed this thought when he said, “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”  Rom. 8:25.  The result is patience because we know our glory awaits us in heaven.  Christians are truly on the “glory bound train,” but we need to be patient.  Many are not, and they get off at a station before their final destination – which is physical death.

Another concept about the parent/child relationship we learned from the parable is the manner in which parents understand their children.  The father in this case appeared to understand both of his sons.  When the prodigal son came home the father was able to properly counsel both sons.  He understood where they were “coming from.”  Parents can offer the best quality of discipline and exhortation because they understand their children’s past, present and future hopes.  They understand their strengths and weaknesses.

The more knowledgeable and wiser the parent, the better the quality of the counseling will be.  It is a great comfort when we think of Christians’ counselor.  God is all-wise and He is also our Father.  This gives us the benefit of wise counseling with a touch of parental care.  The synergistic effect on Christians is we have acceptable counseling.  We have the best because it is the truth about how our spirits were created to develop.  We are able to accept discipline from our tribulations because we know we are legitimate children of the Almighty Creator of this world (Heb. 12:4-13).  In fact, with the proper faith, we are able to rejoice in our tribulations (Rom. 5:3-5).

Still another concept about parents we learned from the Prodigal Son parable is when prodigal children indicate they want to do better, they are usually forgiven and accepted back into the family with full privileges.  God, our Father, always manifests this attitude for Christians, even though sin is a very serious matter.  Because of God’s great wisdom and love He made arrangement for our justification and sanctification “in Christ.”  This is His wisdom (I Cor. 1:30, 31).  The effect is we are holy and blameless before Him in spite of our deficiencies and weaknesses.  We enjoy a guilt free environment (Heb. 10:1-4).

The last point is this; the parents are expected to provide substance to meet the basic needs of their offspring.  Since God is our Father, He happily works to meet our expectations.  The strength of this effect on children’s environment depends upon the power and net worth of the parent.  It is no problem for God to supply our basic needs; after all, He owns the world.  However, since Adam sinned, He expects us to earn our living by the sweat of our brow (Gen. 3:19; I Thess. 4:11, 12).  God is willing to provide a field in which we can find satisfaction for our basic needs.  Throughout the ages He has proven He has the power to maintain a constant supply of the material things we need while we live in this body (Matt. 6:25-34; Acts 14:16, 17).

The mental environment in which we abide shapes our character and personality.  Our happiness depends upon the strength of our character and the health of our emotions.  Christians can be happy because of the synergistic effect of our faith in God, our Creator, and God, our Father.  We are strengthened to fulfil the purpose for which we were created.  Our niche is found in the heart of God as His dear children.

There are over seven billion people in the world at this time and every one of us has a place in God’s heart.  No one can take our place.  It is just like in a healthy physical family, once a child is born into the family, or perhaps even conceived, he or she has a niche in the heart of the parents.  If the child leaves or dies, its niche is left vacant.  Even though, the parents may have more children, none will fill the place of the one who is absent.  Each child has its own niche to fulfil.  God’s heart has so many vacancies because it has always been the remnant and never the whole population who are saved (Rom. 11:5).

As Christians we know God as our Father; consequently, we walk in godliness.  We patiently wait in hope for the glory that will satisfy our inherent needs to achieve and be socially acceptable with God and other heavenly persons.  We rejoice in our tribulations because this is the discipline we need to conform our “self” to the image of Jesus Christ, who is the role model for all sons of God (Col. 1:27).  We are counted holy and blameless by grace.  We have our basic needs satisfied because of the love and mercy of our Creator who is also our Father.  We are happy.

The mature people in the world realm who believe they are here by accident and not by design are no more important than the animals in the end.  This is their world view.  If other human beings do not provide their niche while they are in this world, then they must make their own.  This is the humanist doctrine.  It is a religion because those who accept it must put their faith in the wisdom of mankind and luck.  Good luck becomes the “by word” of the world.  Faith in mankind and luck impacts the mental environment of the atheists and humanists in the world realm.  Their mental environment is missing the eternal spiritual touch so their lives tend to follow an up, over and then down curve.

The synergistic effect of knowing God, our Creator and Father energizes Christians to live full and useful lives to serve Jesus’ mission of “seeking and saving the lost.”  Luke 19:10.  Faithful Christians are saddened by the condition of people who do not believe mankind was planned and created by an intelligent being.  Those of us who enjoy the blessings “in Christ” want to preach the gospel of the kingdom of Christ to those who are struggling to find satisfaction for their innate needs in Satan’s kingdom (Eph. 2:1-3).  We want to call them out of their “pig pen” world with the good news that their Creator wants to adopt them as His dear children in Christ (II Cor. 6:17, 18).

Questions for Discussion

  1. List the attributes of God, our Creator.  Give a Scripture for each attribute.
  2. What is the definition of synergism?
  3. What are the two theologies that have a synergistic effect on Christians?
  4. When was the concept of God our Father first mentioned in the Scriptures?
  5. What does the word “father” mean?
  6. List the parent/child relationship from the parable of the Prodigal Son.
  7. How does the message in II Cor.  6:18 and Rom. 4:21 relate to the aim of this lesson?
  8. What is the effect of a child perceiving that his parent has a vested interest in him or her?
  9. What is the Pygmalion effect and how can it be applied to the parent/child relationship?  Apply your answer to Christianity.
  10. How does the synergistic effect of God, our Father, relate to our inherited need for glory?
  11. What did the Apostle John say about “he who overcomes?”
  12. What is different about parent counseling and other types?
  13. When are parents willing to forgive their children?
  14. How does the material and spiritual “net worth” of the parent affect the child?  Apply this to Christianity.
  15. How does II Thess. 2:16, 17 support our lesson aim?

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