ENTREATING THE ETERNAL
It is interesting and instructive to note that in the Gospel record, whenever Jesus prayed to God the Father, He nearly always addressed Him as “Father” (See for example His prayer in John 17). Nowhere is it recorded that Jesus addressed God simply as “Lord” (without first calling Him Father). And the only time it was recorded that Jesus addressed God as “God” was while He was on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins, when He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46/Mark 15:34).
Jesus’ entreaties to God thus emphasize the closeness of relationship and fellowship they enjoyed, of which the relationship of an obedient son with his loving father is a picture. And Jesus instructed His disciples to address God in the same way (Matthew 6:9, Luke 11:2). Paul agrees (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6, Ephesians 3:14, 5:20). Whatever sort of father you may have had, you can be sure that for all who believe in Jesus as their Savior, our Father in Heaven is loving, gracious, forgiving, patient, and gentle. He wants us to rest in His loving arms and call Him Father!
Jesus was not pluralistic. He made exclusive claims. “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Only we who have trusted Jesus’ death as full payment for all our sins can call God Father in the truest sense, with all the intimacy of relationship and fellowship that term implies. It is only we who have been born into the family of God (1 John 5:1). It is sad to consider, but the rest of humanity, those who reject the message of Jesus, miss out on the benefits of salvation. They cannot call God Father in the biblical sense. The Scriptures are clear on this. And indeed, some religions are even violently opposed to the concept of God as the Father of those who trust in Him.
Our neighbor Beles once told Kirk that it was wrong for Jesus to address God as “Father.” To him, using such language implies that God had fathered Jesus like a man fathers his children. No amount of explaining could get Beles to understand that this term need imply no such thing, but was rather a figurative way of expressing the close relationship between Jesus and God the Father.
Though Beles has been a good friend and neighbor of ours for years, he still strongly rejects some key Bible doctrines which he must understand and believe in order to understand and embrace the Gospel. Of course, this is not surprising, as he has not heard all of the foundational, chronological Bible teaching, which carefully lays out the biblical basis of these key doctrines in a way which Landuma people can understand and accept – if they will embrace the Bible as their source of truth.
Yet Beles is always interested in talking about spiritual things. He and Kirk have had many interesting discussions. Though he has not been willing to listen to us teach God’s Word in person, last spring he agreed to start listening to the Bible lessons on an Ambassador audio player (see photo). He takes a long time to finish each lesson, as he listens to it repeatedly to make sure he understands. But in discussing the first few lessons with him, it was evident that, so far, he had understood well.
- PRAY that Beles would continue to be motivated to listen to God’s Word taught. PRAY that he would continue to understand the message well. And PRAY that one day Beles would be able to call God “Kas kami, my Father.”