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 to his children. We should not reverse this picture and say our relationship to God is a reflection of 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 is the result of 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 is demonstrating 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 here is one of 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, in many occasions, our physical protection. “What shall we then say to these things? If God be 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 every 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).

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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