Ephesians 6:1-4 explains the kind of relationship that fathers and children should have. Children should respect and obey their parents. Fathers should teach and provide for their children. That kind of relationship is not something of merely human origin; rather, it comes from God. God created it because he desires to have that kind of relationship with all people. That is why we call God ‘our Father’ (Matthew 6:9).
The Jewish people (in other words, the people who belong to Israel) all come from a single family: the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They refer to those men as their ‘fathers’ (for example, Romans 4:1). These men are important in Jewish history only because of their relationship with God. Therefore, God is truly the Father of Israel (Hosea 11:1)
Most of the Christians in Ephesus did not belong to Israel (2:11-12). However, God created all people; every human family comes from him (Acts 17:26-27). God is not just Israel’s God; he is the God to whom all people should give honour (Romans 3:29).
However the Christians in Ephesus, and all Christians, have a special reason to recognise God as their Father. All Christians belong to God’s great family in heaven. They joined that family when they received Christ into their lives (John 1:12). They have already received some of the authority and honour that is for God’s children (2:6). God teaches them as his children (Hebrews 12:5-7). Christ has prepared a home for them in heaven (John 14:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:8). In the future age, they will receive their full rights as the children of God (Romans 8:17-21).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.