By Femi Aribisala
James warns that a double-minded man is unlikely to receive anything of the Lord. (James 1:7-8). By the same token, Jesus does not bring to the Father those who already have a father. In order to be led to the heavenly Father, we have to repudiate our earthly father.
In order for God to be our Father, we have to be born of God. This means we must be born again. Jesus says: “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” (John 3:3).
Inheritance of salvation
If God is our Father, we are heirs of God: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:16-17). If God is our Father, then all things belong to us: “Let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come- all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).
Therefore, a man blundered by seeking Jesus’ help in securing his inheritance from his earthly father: “Then one from the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or an arbitrator over you?’ And he said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.’” (Luke 12:13-15).
Jesus has come to reveal to us our inheritance from God, our Father; so how can he be our help in securing our inheritance from another father? That is a contradiction in terms. We inherit sin from our earthly fathers, so Jesus’ assignment is to sever our earthly inheritance.
“Then Peter began to say to him, ‘See, we have left all and followed you.’ So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time- houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions- and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:28-30).
Note that we receive a hundredfold of everybody and everything we leave but our father.
We have only one Father: God. We have no other Father but God.
Like Father, like son
However, we have brothers and sisters and children all over the world through the union of the Holy Spirit who is the blood of Christ: “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.” (Acts 17:26). As God’s children, we live in God and move in God and have our being in God: “For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28).
Accordingly, Jesus is now our brother; as he himself demonstrated when he was told his mother and brothers were looking for him. He answered: “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?’ And he stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’” (Matthew 12: 48-50).
Take note again that other believers can be brothers or sisters or mothers to Jesus. But none can be his father. Jesus has no other father but God.
According to the principles of the kingdom of God, a son bears the nature of his father and he does the works of his father. Jesus says to his Jewish adversaries: “‘I speak what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.’ They answered and said to him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.’” (John 8:38-40).
We cannot do the works of God unless we acknowledge him as Father. But if God were our Father, we would do the works of God.
Moreover, we cannot bear God’s divine nature unless he becomes our Father. But if he is our Father then: “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable us to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4).
The Fatherhood of God provides the only motivation we need in order to be exactly like him. This is because: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:17-18).
Our call to perfection is for one singular reason: because our Father in heaven is perfect. Jesus says: “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48).
He also says we should love our enemies for the same vital reason: that we may be sons of our Father in heaven: “Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For he is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore, be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:34-36).
Our righteousness must come out of a desire to be like our Father in heaven.
Bilquis Sheikh was born into a rich and conservative family in a non-Christian nation. Her husband was a General in the army, and she lived a life of opulence, junketing to Paris, London and Rome. But her world came to an end when her husband left her. Then her world was turned upside down yet again when Christian missionaries preached to her and gave her a bible.
In a country where conversion to Christianity was punishable by death, she started reading the bible in secret, while also continuing with the faith of her birth. But she soon became confused. Which one is the true faith? Which book reveals the true God?
In her confusion, Bilquis finally knelt down before the Lord. She held the book of her traditional faith in one hand and the bible in the other, and cried out to God: “Which one is your book?”
It is better to hear her testimony in her own words: “A remarkable thing happened. Nothing like it had ever occurred in my life in quite this way. For I heard a voice inside my being, a voice that spoke to me as clearly as if I were repeating words in my inner mind. They were fresh, full of kindness, yet at the same time full of authority.
‘In which book do you meet me as your Father?’”