For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
I. THE NATURE OF THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD.
1. God is the Source of our being. He has not only created us as he has created the rocks. We are not manufactured, but begotten by God. He has breathed his life into us.
2. God has formed us in his own image. There is a similarity of nature in child and parent. All spirits belong to the same family and have a common likeness to God.
3. God is closely related to us. Throughout life the father is most nearly connected with his children by nature and consequent claims and duties. God is our Father now; he has not merely called us into being in the past. He always and necessarily bears the fatherly relation to us.
II. THE EXTENT OF THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD. From God "every family in heaven and earth is named;" then God is the Father of every family. His fatherhood is universal.
1. It reaches to all spiritual beings. Of what orders, how many, and how various they are, are wholly beyond our speculation. But none are so remote, so peculiar, so lofty, or so low as not to come within God's fatherly relationship.
2. It is individually concerned with each separate order of beings. "Every family." The families are distinguished and so are their homes. God regards his children with personal interest.
3. It is not destroyed by evil conduct. There are fallen beings, orders, and families that are degraded in sin. But these make no exception to the universal fatherhood. In spite of the shameful corruption of some of the families, God is still Father of all. David did not cease to be the father of the rebel Absalom. The prodigal son could arise and go unto his father. The worst sinner, when he comes to himself, may say, "My Father." This necessarily results from the very nature of fatherhood. The three facts of origination of life, community of nature, and close relationship can never be annihilated. For a father to ignore them is for him to become an unnatural parent.
III. THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD.
1. In God.
(1) He will manifest a fatherly interest in every family. In choosing the Jew he cannot forget the Gentile. In blessing the Christian he cannot overlook the heathen. Christians, like the Jews, have foolishly thought to appropriate God to themselves. But less enlightened races have not been neglected by God. He has not left himself without witness in pagan lands. All religions, in so far as they contain any truth, are inspired and rest on Divine revelations. God visits all his children. The seeking after God in the dark of remote inquirers is a vague response to the voice of God heard by them in their consciences.
(2) God has rights over all men, and no one has a right to disown his Father. God will judge all and justly chastise the disobedient children who refused to admit his claims.
(3) God desires to bless all his children and will always welcome back the penitents.
2. In us.
(1) We should remember that, as spiritual beings, we are related. If men are akin to the inhabitants of other worlds, much more are they very closely related to one another. Hence our duties of brotherhood to foreign nations and to savage races.
(2) We should have boldness and confidence in our approach to God. St. Paul names the universal fatherhood of God in the preface of a prayer. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,