Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
June 15, 2014
Since we are all his children we can call God “Daddy”
Alabama was my birthplace. Born in a briar patch (where my daddy built a house), I grew up in the country. I was exposed to no one outside of Elmore County except for a rare family vacation in Panama City, Florida. Thus my life was quite sheltered. Since there was no television all I knew about “the world” was what I read in books.
In college and seminary I was exposed to a few people who grew up in other cultures. But accepting people from other ethnic groups was often uncomfortable.
Then a marvelous thing happened to me. I had the privilege of traveling around the world, meeting Christians in 25 other countries. In one nation after another I met Christians who embraced me even though I had a different racial origin. None of them saw our cultural differences as a stumbling block to fellowship. They treated me like a brother in Christ.
I observed that the followers of Christ in every culture have one thing in common: they are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, thus brothers and sisters in God’s Family.
This opened my eyes. I began to realize that though cultural differences tend to divide us our love for Christ unites us. While our differences are often barriers, we can find ways to leap over them. The truth that pulls us together is that we all belong to Christ. The distinctions that separate us become irrelevant when we remember that our salvation is a gift from the God who loves us all like a Father.
My siblings and I called our father “Daddy.” It is the intimate form of the word “Father.” We were a family. We loved Daddy and we knew he loved us. Using the word “Daddy” showed no lack of respect. It revealed our awareness that we were a family held together by the common bond of love. We were children of a father who loved us even when he disciplined us.
One day my heart leaped with joy when I discovered in Bible study that Jesus not only called God “Father,” he also called him “Daddy.” That is what the Aramaic word “Abba” means.
It is a remarkable idea that through their faith in Christ all believers become “children” of God. As children we can speak to God affectionately, even using the term “Daddy.” When we realize that we are his children, and that he loves us like an earthly Daddy loves his children, then we need not be “formal” in praying. Children need not address God as “the Great Architect of the Universe.” Such terminology, while true, tends to rob of us precious intimacy with God.
The biblical “law” had its purpose. God used it as our teacher for centuries. It was part of God’s plan. The law taught us that we could not be made right with God by obeying it. The Bible tells us that the law “guarded” us until Christ came. Then in the fullness of time God sent His Son. Suddenly there was a new way, and the only way, to become right with God – and that was by having faith in Christ.
Some Bible translations are difficult to understand. However, the New Living Translation is often quite helpful. These verses from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians illuminate the idea that believers are children of God:
The law was our guardian and teacher to lead us until Christ came. So now, through faith in Christ, we are made right with God. But now that faith in Christ has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. So you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all Christians – you are one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and now all the promises God gave to him belong to you. (3:24-29)
That is a beautiful explanation of salvation. Paul is saying to the “foolish Galatians,” God has released you from bondage to the law. Stop focusing on your differences and realize that God has made you his dear children and you are now one in Christ Jesus!
In this same letter Paul explains why Gentiles can call God their Father:
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because you Gentiles have become his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father. Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, everything he has belongs to you. (4:4-7)
What a great truth! We are God’s children. We belong to Christ and we belong to one another. Forget the beer and the cookout on the beach; it really does not get any better than this! As believers we can rejoice in the kindness of God, our Daddy, and now and again allow him to love us while we crawl up into his lap! Such tender love we need often if we are to serve Christ well on the battlefield of life! On this Father’s Day we can rejoice that God is our Daddy! + + +