What Does God the Father Do? Part 2

In part 1 we saw God the Father’s intimate involvement in our calling based on Romans 8. What other things does the Bible tell us the Father does?

In the first article in this series of two, we examined five things the Father does, by studying what is recorded in Romans 8:29-30. In this article, we want to examine several more things that the Bible says the Father does.

The Father works through people

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Think about the implication of these words. Here, “God” clearly refers to the Father. He was the Creator, but He chose to create through the One who became Jesus Christ (known as “the Word,” John 1:1). This same being, the Word, was also the main One referred to in the Old Testament as “God” (see “Jesus Christ Was the God of the Old Testament”). The Word was the Father’s principal spokesman, interacting with humankind.

So, the Father, through the One who became Christ, worked with men throughout the ages. Sometimes He worked with individuals, such as Noah, Abraham and Moses. Sometimes He governed through judges and kings. As God’s chosen people, the ancient Israelites grew in number, and God spoke to them and their leaders through prophets—people chosen by God to communicate His words.

The opening verses of the book of Hebrews show that, since the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the Father has continued to speak to humankind through Jesus. Of course, these instructions would also be repeated by the men the Father would lead Jesus to appoint to the ministry.

After praying all night for the Father’s guidance, Jesus chose 12 apostles (Luke 6:12-13). Through Jesus, the Father sent these men to preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick (Luke 9:1-2). Later, in a similar way, the Father empowered and worked through 70 men Jesus appointed to deliver the good news (Luke 10:1).

The Father, then, has historically worked through others. He doesn’t have to, but He has chosen to do so, as part of their training for the future. (Read about God’s purpose for those He calls in “Born to Be a King.”)

The Father gives us His Holy Spirit

God the Father is the One who gives the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). Giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit is analogous to a spiritual begettal. In a human family, the process of birth begins with the father. One of the reasons God instituted the human family is to help us understand what He is doing with His family. Giving us a portion of His Holy Spirit begins the process of us becoming His child and a brother of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote that by receiving the Holy Spirit, we become children and heirs of God, as well as joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17).

This is a very important concept for us to understand. We are instantly children of God upon receiving His Spirit, but the process of our salvation is far from completed. It only begins when God our Father calls us, grants us the gift of repentance, forgives us of our sins and, through baptism and the laying on of hands, gives us the Holy Spirit. (Read “Is ‘Accepting Jesus’ All There Is to Becoming a Christian?”)

The Father does all of this that we might understand the depth of His love for us. With that understanding and the power of His Spirit, we remain faithful to His way of love to the end of our life or until Christ returns. Only then, at the last trumpet, is our conversion and salvation completed. At this time the saints will be changed to eternal spirit, making us immortal (1 Corinthians 15:51-55).

The Father is not some remote, harsh, forever critical, monstrous judge, as some imagine Him to be. He deeply loves and is intimately involved with His called and chosen children.The Father is not some remote, harsh, forever critical, monstrous judge, as some imagine Him to be. He deeply loves and is intimately involved with His called and chosen children. Because people know so little about the Father, this concept can be difficult for some to understand. God is a tender, loving and caring Father!

The Father answers our prayers

Part of the last instructions Jesus gave His disciples before His crucifixion included this promise: “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (John 15:16).

“In the name of Jesus Christ” means “by the authority of Jesus Christ.” This is a good reason we should always include another phrase in our prayers. Jesus Himself used it before His terrible death by crucifixion. Jesus prayed, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42).

Adding “according to Your will” to our prayers is wise. The Father has a unique and awesome perspective. He takes into account numerous factors of which we might not be aware. And faithful Christians can be confident that He answers our prayers with our best interests in mind.

Some believe that we should always pray directly to Christ; but that’s not what He instructed us to do. Jesus Himself said we should pray to “our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2). Of course, Jesus, who sits at the Father’s right hand, intercedes for us (Romans 8:34). In addition, the Holy Spirit helps us by communicating thoughts, feelings and needs we have difficulty putting into words (Romans 8:26).

The Father instructs, corrects, tests and encourages us in love (Hebrews 12:5-10)

The context of this passage clearly indicates that God the Father disciplines us, similar to the way a wise father disciplines his children. A father corrects a child when it is necessary to turn him or her from a wrong attitude or action. Unfortunately, due to the wrong example set by some abusive human fathers, the word discipline causes some people to picture our Heavenly Father as harsh. Yet these verses speak of “chastening” being done in love, which is the way a human father should always discipline his children. Verse 10 essentially says that our human fathers “did the best that they could,” implying that they make mistakes. It goes on to contrast that with how God disciplines, which is always “for our profit.”

But more is meant here. The word chasten comes from the Greek paideúō, and it has a broad meaning: “Originally [it meant] to bring up a child, to educate, used of activity directed toward the moral and spiritual nurture and training of the child, to influence conscious will and action” (Spiros Zodhiates, Complete Word Study Dictionaries, 2003).

So, God’s chastening includes His instruction, education, influence and encouragement for us to reach the spiritual destiny for which He created us. This confirms that we have free will. God guides but does not force us to do what is right. We have to choose to do the right and then put forth every effort to do what is right continually, with God’s help. (For more information on this little understood subject, read “Free Will: What Is It?”)

The outcome of receiving all aspects of chastening from the Father is that we are better equipped to grow spiritually, to develop the character and nature of God. If we respond to our Father’s loving chastening, change as necessary and remain loyal to His way of life, we will eventually become permanent members of His family and His Kingdom. We have the potential to live forever, serving our Father under Jesus Christ to help others come into God’s Kingdom.

Paul cites Old Testament prophecies of God’s covenant offer. If we respond and remain faithful to His calling, “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18).

The Father assigns His angels to serve us

Angels are powerful spirit beings, created by God to serve Him. For now, they are infinitely more potent than any mortal human is. Yet, according to the Bible, the resurrected saints will be in authority over angels! Paul asked, “Do you not know that we [saints] shall judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:3). That will only be possible when the saints have been changed into the eternal spirit sons and daughters of God.

Because of God’s love for us and because of our potential, He has assigned these powerful spirit beings to serve believers. Speaking of the greatness of angels relative to the weakness of humans, the author of Hebrews asks, “Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14). The general meaning of “ministering” and “minister” is to serve.

The Father personally oversees our spiritual care

In His final prayer with His disciples, Jesus made a dramatic appeal to the Father, which reveals the depth of the Father’s involvement with our salvation. “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are” (John 17:11, emphasis added throughout).

The Father keeps us through His name, indelibly placed upon the Church, which is called throughout the New Testament, “the Church of God.” The Father’s name implies all the authority of His office, as well as His divine nature. It is difficult for our limited minds to absorb the immensity of our Father’s commitment and love for us.

Jesus added, “Sanctify them by Your truth” (John 17:17). As explained in the first article in this series, the Father supernaturally opens our mind to comprehend the truth. Only by accepting the Father’s Word and then faithfully living by it, will we be “sanctified” or set apart for salvation.

Speaking of this unity earlier in His ministry, Jesus revealed, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one” (John 10:29-30). We can have absolute trust that the Father is protectively watching over us, working with and in us. That is right—in us. Jesus promised believers that He and the Father would live within us through the presence of the Spirit (John 14:23, 26).

The last request Jesus made in His John 17 prayer was that the Father would make us one with Him and Christ, united by God’s Spirit and love. Could there be a more awesome objective, any greater hope for believers?

We must come to see and understand that the Father is our personal Father. We need to think of Him in those terms, because that is a major part of who and what He is. We need to be reminded often about what He does for us, as well as for the world. Through His perfect plan, He will extend the same offer of salvation and the same parental care to the entire world (John 3:16). Let’s make sure we honor and worship our Heavenly Father for all He does for us.

Download our free booklet Change Your Life! to study more about how to respond to our loving Father.

About the Author

Harold Rhodes

Harold Rhodes

Harold Rhodes was a pastor of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, who died in 2021. He was ordained a minister in 1969 and served congregations in Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama and Florida.

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