Chapter 3: Beholding the Wonder of the Father
To summarize where we have been, the Christian faith affirms that “each member of the Godhead is equally God, each is eternally God, and each is fully God – not three gods but three Persons of the one Godhead.” Each Person is equal in essence; and yet there is a distinction of personality in God. So that means that when we come to speak of the Father, he is fully God. He is not some subdivision of God, but he just is God himself. As we will see here Persons, such as the Father, are distinguished within the Trinity by their roles and by their relationships.
God is one and he is three, and he is the God. We should be particularly attentive to the fact that the God who is the creator and ruler over all is also our God. Whether we consider him in terms close to home, such as our protector, savior, helper, or guide, it should not escape our notice that he is utterly transcendent. And the Father is this God, equal with the Spirit and the Son. Because of this identity of nature, we must look elsewhere to understand what makes the Father the Father. So what distinguishes the Father in terms of roles and relationships?
To begin, the Father is, with respect to his position and authority, supreme among the persons of the Godhead. We could look to Psalm 2, Matthew 6:9-10, or Revelation 19:13-16 for witness to this fact. The Father sends the Son who does his will, and the Father judges the world according to his authority. In 1 Corinthians 15:28, Paul teaches that the Father subjects all things to the Son except for himself. The Father retains supremacy even as all things are subjected to the Son’s authority.
The Father also has a key role as the grand architect and designer of creation, redemption, and consummation. This is made plain in Ephesians 1:9-12. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift in the vein of James 1:13. Moreover, in the application of the Father’s will, we are often told that it is the Father acting through the Son and the Spirit.
In understanding these various roles and relationships with respect to the Father, we must also take the next step and apply such knowledge to our own lives and relationships. We should marvel at the wisdom, goodness, care, and thoroughness with which God exercises his authority. To exercise authority like that, and not in self-serving ways, is to be like our heavenly Father. Husbands might take particular notice at this point. Fathers, too, can take a cue and learn from the Father what true fatherhood is like.
The lessons to be learned from contemplating the relationships within the Godhead are manifold. The Father retains authority even while he lavishes favor on others, and so we should do as managers, employers, parents, etc.. And those under authority could learn from the Son how to be under authority, the subject of our next chapter.