But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
We cannot speak about the childhood of the believer unless we also share in a conversation about the Fatherhood of God. To speak of the childhood of the believer leads us to ask, “Whose child are we?” If we believers would make the Fatherhood of God the primary filter through which we run all our theology, as well as all our practice of living the Christian life, then we might see the world very differently. If we all got on the same page of God’s Fatherhood, then we’d all have a common starting point for our growth, together, as a community of faith.
How does a father instruct, teach, discipline and share life together with his children? How does God do all of these things, as our Father? Now, these images of fatherhood may conjure either good or bad memories for you, or a mixture of these, and may present a challenge to how to see God as Father. But if we all had the same common ground—God as Father, as our starting point—then we have somewhere to really begin.
The idea of God as Father wasn’t new to the Jews, so it wasn’t exactly that Jesus was introducing a new concept. He was, however, introducing a new emphasis. He shifted the emphasis of how the Jews were to view and understand God—He changed their filter—and set the emphasis squarely on God’s Fatherhood. This was Jesus’ way of doing away with the Jews’ emphasis on family lineage as a qualification for being a member of the household of faith. Jesus changed the game and made it not about whose son you were but whose Father was yours.
When Jesus declares God’s Fatherhood to us as the primary emphasis—think of the Lord’s prayer where it is not “Our God” or “Our Lord in Heaven” but “Our Father—He is opening up for us a point of departure into wonder, awe and celebration of God’s majestic Fatherhood. Inclusion in the household of faith, in the family of God, is by God’s will and God’s choosing.
God wanted you as a son or daughter, and He wanted you to take your place as His child and, moreover, to understand fully what is meant by being His child. This should open up your wonder, this should lead you to ask, “Whose child am I? What is my Father really like?”