The Characteristics of a Father
A Father’s Role
When a father properly fulfills his role in the family, he is fulfilling a picture of the heavenly Father’s relationship with his children. We should not reverse this picture and say our relationship with God reflects earthly fathers. If we do that, we are making God follow our earthly example.
Since God was an eternal Father when man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26, 27), he was given the potential role of father to earthly children.
A Father Gives Life to His Children
A child results from a physical union between a man and a woman. Our heavenly Father is responsible for our spiritual life in a similar way. Every member of the family of God becomes a child of his heavenly Father when he is born again.
They are those “which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). Until we have been born again, we are not members of the family of God. Though God is the Father of all by creation, God is not our spiritual Father until we are his children.
We can be children of the heavenly Father by placing our trust in Jesus Christ and receiving him as our Savior by faith. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).
A Father Loves His Children
When a father gives to his children, he demonstrates the strongest expression of love possessed by human beings. In his teaching, Jesus used the example of a father’s willingness to give good gifts unto his children: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).
Jesus told the parable of the prodigal son, demonstrating both God’s love for sinners and a father’s love for his children. The apostle Paul wrote: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15).
The term abba is similar to a child’s crying “Daddy.” The picture shows warmth and compassion between a father and his young child.
A Father Protects His Children
A good father desires to protect his children, which is carried over into his duties and responsibilities. How much more does the supernatural love of God cause him to step in and protect us.
God protects his children today in working all things for good (Rom. 8:28). This does not mean that some will not be martyred or be victims of war or crime. God’s protection extends to our spiritual welfare and, on many occasions, our physical protection. “What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
A Father Will Provide for His Family
The father is the provider for the home. The father who loves his family is a willing provider. Our heavenly Father is much more a provider. “Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
A Father Will Teach and Train His Children
Part of the biblical responsibilities of being a father is to train up children. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). A good father will be an example and teacher for his children. Our heavenly Father has given us the Holy Spirit.
Jesus noted, “I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Comforter” (John 14:16). “The Comforter which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things” (John 14:26).