Last edited on 18/Jan/2021
The Bible’s Answer
The Bible’s answer to this question is that God is the Father of all those who believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son by nature, and his redemptive work completed on the cross. Paul makes this clear in his letter to the Galatians:
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. (Galatians 3:25–26, ESVUK)1
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4–5)
Christians Are God’s Adopted Children
If we are still non-believers, we are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). We have no fellowship with the Father, because our sins have separated us from him (Isaiah 59:2). In fact, because of our sinful nature, we don’t even want anything to do with him, and are on the path to condemnation (Romans 3:9–11). But when we receive the Holy Spirit, who causes us to trust in Christ, we are then adopted into God’s family.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, … (Romans 8:14–16)2
Therefore, if we believe in Christ and are led by the Spirit, we can confidently call God our Father.
What Jesus Taught about God the Father
In addition, Jesus frequently referred to God as not only his Father, but also his believing audience’s Father, too. For example, he said:
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)
Moreover, when teaching his disciples how to pray, he taught them to address God as Father:
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matthew 6:9–10)
On the other hand, Jesus said to the non-believing Pharisees that God wasn’t their Father, but that the devil was, because they had rejected him:
If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. (John 8:42b–44a)
Therefore, it is necessary to first believe in Jesus for God to be our Father, and to receive all the benefits that come with being adopted into his family.
What Does God Being Our Father Entail?
The fact that God is our Father means that we have an intimate and personal relationship with him that leads to eternal life (Galatians 3:26–29). We can bring our worries and burdens to the Father in prayer, and he will bear them with us (1 Peter 5:6–7). We can bring to him our joys and thanksgivings for the day, and he will gladly listen and celebrate with us (Philippians 4:6). We can bring to him our requests, and he will answer us (Matthew 7:7–8). In the same way that children naturally trust in their loving parents, we too can completely trust in our heavenly Father, because he is always faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24).
We can talk with God in full comfort and confidence, the same way we would feel when talking with loved ones whom we cherish dearly (Ephesians 3:11–12; Hebrews 4:16). We also do not have to be afraid of him, in the same way that a slave would be afraid of his master, because God is a gentle, compassionate Father (Psalm 103:13; 1 John 4:17–18). Unlike earthly parents who may let their children down sometimes, God the Father never lets down his children, because he is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4). His love and faithfulness never end (Psalm 100:5).
More Bible Passages on God Being Our Father
God the Father Loves Us
As our Father, God loves us dearly. He had no reason to adopt us into his family, since we are unworthy sinners, but he chose to anyway:
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1a)
God the Father Is Our Provider
As our Father, God cares about and provides for us. He gives good things to those who ask him, and provides for us when we are in need:
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31–33)
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11)
God the Father Is Forgiving
As our Father, there is no sin too great for him to forgive. If we are truly sorry for our wrongdoings, we can ask him for forgiveness at any time, and he will forgive us:
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. … For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, … (Matthew 6:11–12, 14)
God the Father Comforts the Downcast
As our Father, God is merciful towards us, and comforts us whenever we are afflicted. He cares for us when we are suffering and helps us through it:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)
God the Father Is Our Friend
As our Father, God has fellowship with us. He is not only our Lord, but our friend, as well:
… that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)
God the Father Is Generous
As our Father, God gives us his full inheritance which includes eternal life. He holds nothing back from us, but freely makes us beneficiaries of everything that Christ possesses:
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:16–17)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, … (1 Peter 1:3–4)
God the Father Is Just
As our Father, sometimes God disciplines us. He never does so out of spite, or for revenge, but rather so that we can learn from our wrongdoing and become better, holier people:
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. (Hebrews 13:9–10)
It is the greatest honour and privilege that we, being the unworthy servants that we are, can call God our Father. There is no one in this universe who loves us as much as he does. Being in an intimate relationship with our loving, heavenly Father, who created the universe, and who has prepared an eternal home for us in heaven, is the greatest thing we could ask for. Our heavenly Father is always close by. He lives within our hearts, guiding our every step in life, and always has our best interests in mind, whether we realise it or not. May all the praise, glory, and dominion be to God the Father forever and ever. Amen.
1. The Bible uses the word “sons” here intentionally rather than “children”, because in the culture of the time, the eldest sons inherited the entire estate. Thus, the Bible here is saying that both Christian men and women have an equal status in Christ concerning their heavenly inheritance.
2. “Abba” is an Aramaic word for “father” that conveys childlike intimacy and confidence.