God the Father: Creator, Judge, and Father
By Kaitlyn Wright
Last week Jeanie introduced us to what the doctrine of the Trinity is: One God in three distinct persons, and why it matters. This week we will look at the distinct role of God as Creator, Judge, and Father.
I often struggle to find the balance between friend and parent to my children. As a stay-at-home-mom, I want to create an environment of fun for my kids, but they also need structure and discipline. When I keep in mind the goal as a parent—leading them to Christ who is the salvation of their souls—I am less concerned about them seeing me as their friend than I am with teaching them the truth about God and why we obey Him. My kids have the privilege of seeing me happy and playful, snuggly and comforting, and stern in discipline. To exclude any of these characteristics of parenthood would deprive my children of the joy, comfort, and discipline they so need.
God as Creator and Judge
The same is true with us as God’s children. The first question out of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “The chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever” – in other words, our purpose in this world is to showcase how great God is. God demands obedience from us because it is what brings Him the most glory and brings us the most joy. Since all of us miserably fail to do so, God, as our Creator, has the authority to establish the punishment we deserve for our disobedience to his purposes.
God, as our loving Father, made a way for His children to be made perfect, so that on judgment day, God as Judge, will judge us as His children rather than His enemies. But since we are not yet perfect, God also disciplines us, showing us that He cares for us and will not leave us in our sin. So like I strive to be with my children, God is happy, comforting, and stern with His children – and we have the privilege of this personal relationship with Him because of Christ. Let’s put some more skin on this:
Creator: Purpose for Creation
My sister-in-law recently opened a boutique to sell baby clothes that she designs and sews herself. She has ownership of the clothes she makes and therefore is owed something in exchange for her product. At the very beginning of Scripture, we read that God spoke and the world came into being. God made all things and therefore has ownership of all things. All humans owe our Creator something: we owe Him our lives. Every created thing was made to bring glory to God – to make Him seen as great (Isaiah 43:7, Revelation 4:11). All of us have rebelled against this perfect purpose of our Creator God and all of us deserve the just punishment that disobedience requires.
Judge: Punishing Disobedience
Two dominant attributes of God that are revealed are His wrath and His just judgment. We don’t have to get very far in our yearly bible reading plan to realize that God exercised His just judgment by creating a flood to wipe out the entire human race, one family excluded. This act was entirely just and deserved. Genesis 6:5 says “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” God is perfect in justice (Deuteronomy 32:4) and sin is deserving of judgment (Romans 6:23). The God who annihilated nations in battle, is the same God who desires a personal relationship with His children. But how do we transition from rebellious creatures deserving of annihilation to adored children who inherit the same blessing and benefits as Christ?
Drastic, dire, extreme, and radical measures had to be taken to reconcile us to our Heavenly Father. Because of Christ’s substitution on the cross for sins, we have access to our Creator, and not only as our Creator, but as our Father as well.
The Fatherhood of God
Adoption: Making us Sons
God fathered all things, or brought all things into being, but He is not a Father to all people. God is a special Father to those who repent of their sins and trust in Christ, and those alone. John 1:12 says, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” We see here that if we turn from our sins and put our trust in Christ’s sacrifice, then we are adopted as sons of God. The biblical teaching of adoption as sons was not fully realized until Christ came, and we received the Spirit of God by which we now cry ‘Abba!, Father!’ (Galatians 4:4-7). When we are adopted and made a member of God’s family, we receive the benefits and inheritance that Christ Himself receives (Romans 8:17), including calling God our personal Father.
To learn more about the benefits and Scriptural evidence of Spiritual Adoption, please visit our church website and listen to Pastor David Bronson’s sermon.
Discipline: Treating us as Sons
Before I was saved, I hated being told what to do or how to act. Proverbs 12:1 says “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” After being saved, I can see that discipline is a blessing as it brings us knowledge of the truth. Furthermore, Hebrews 12:4-11 tells us the benefits of discipline:
Benefit #1: Discipline means we are legitimate sons of God (v. 4-7).
Benefit #2: Like our human fathers discipline us as they think best, God our Father disciplines us, and He truly KNOWS best (v. 10).
Benefit #3: The purpose of discipline is for our good that we may share in God’s holiness (aka lack of sin-ness!) (v. 10).
Benefit #4: Discipline produces righteousness and peace (v. 11).
Believers, do not despise discipline for it produces righteousness and peace for those who are trained by it. Unbelievers, see that you were created to glorify God and He is just in punishing all who disobey this purpose. Let us look to Christ, in faith, as the Perfect Son that made it possible for God the Father to call us sons. God the Father created us all, in His image, to know Him and serve Him. Judgment is coming, and we all will be judged according to our fulfillment of this purpose. I am so thankful that God the Father will judge me as His Beloved son and not as the rebellious sinner that I am. All thanks be to Christ!