The Giver of Grace is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:3, ESV). We note 2 things here about God the Father. One, He is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. Two, He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now this is a very important doctrine. There are some who teach today that the Father is the Son and the Son is the Holy Spirit. This is a 3rd century heresy called “modalism,” “monarchianism,” “Sabellianism” (after a proponent named, Sabellius) or what is harped today as, “Oneness theology” (held by the United Pentecostals). Modalists teach that there are not 3 persons in the Trinity, but only 3 modes or expressions or revelations of 1 God. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are “attached to the one being . . . The Son and the Holy Spirit are but temporary modes of self-expression of the one Father of all. It was the Father who became incarnate as the Son and was crucified.” (The New Dictionary of Theology, s. v. “Monarchianism,” by H. D. McDonald). Oneness theology affirms that “God the Father exists simultaneously in the man Jesus . . . that God’s own Spirit is not another divine person distinct from the Father.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oneness_theology. Accessed Jan. 5, 2009) It basically rejects the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. However, Paul here wrote that God the Father is distinct in personality from the Lord Jesus Christ.
One day, Jan Marie, my 7-yr old daughter shouted, “Nganong gilabay mo ang ako nga toothbrush? Daddy, gilabay ni manang neneng ang akong toothbrush sa lababo!” (“Why did you throw my toothbrush away? Daddy, manang neneng threw my toothbrush in the sink!”) Then my wife said, “She’s just like you. You keep a lot of old stuff—old shorts, old shirts, old pants, bisan gisi na.” Yes, my daughter is like me in many ways, but not like me in personality. She is a different person.
In the Greek, both nouns, “God” (theos) and “Father” (pater) are personal nouns, singular, and non-proper names. (Wallace, Greek Grammar, 272) There is the article “the” (tou) with the Lord Jesus Christ. A basic rule for the Greek article is that, “The presence of the article identifies, while its absence, qualifies.” (Gadiel T. Isidro, Grammar of Biblical Hebrew and Greek, El Theological Seminary, n. d., 60) The article here identifies Christ as a distinct person. Also, the nouns, “Jesus Christ,” are singular in the Greek, indicating individuality. Thus, the Father is not another “mode” of the Son. The Son is not another expression or revelation of the Father. Each is a distinct Person.
We believe that the Bible teaches the Trinity. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are the first, second, and third persons of the Trinity, respectively. The Son is co-equal with the Father (John 1:1-3; Phil. 2:6). Likewise, the Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share the same Nature or characteristics, yet are distinct from each other.
Now comes the Question: How can God be the Father of Jesus? As the Man and Mediator on the cross, God the Father is “God” to Jesus (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). As the Eternal Word (John 1:1-3) and the Eternal Son of God, God the Father is the “Father” to Jesus in the Trinity.
There’s another way of looking at it. “God the Father was God to Jesus in His humanity. We can also say that God the Father was Father to Jesus in His deity.” (Grover Gunn, “The Architect of Salvation,” in http://www.grovergunn.net/andrew/eph0101.pdf. Accessed Jan. 5, 2009) In other words, as a man, God the Father was God to Jesus. But as the Son of God, God the Father was Father to Jesus.
What a joy to know and praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
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