God Is Abba – Pater – Our Father Celebrating the Names of God


One of the most interesting and intimate names of God is in the Aramaic ἀββα (Abba) or in the Greek πατήρ (Patēr) which means “Father”. You find a few places in the Old Testament where God is referred to as a “Father”. For instance, the Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 68:4-5 (KJV) Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him. 5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

In that text “Father” is the Hebrew אָב ‘ab. Sounds like part of the word Abba, doesn’t it? And in ..

Isaiah 63:16 (KJV) …Thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

In the Old Testament God is called the “Father” of Israel (see Deuteronomy 32:6; Jeremiah 3:4, 19; 31:9; Malachi 1:6; 2:10). God called Himself the “Father” of Solomon (2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:13). But the Jews never addressed God as their Father. The teaching of the Fatherhood of God is obscured because of the Law of Moses. The Jews regarded the names of God with an almost fearful and superstitious reverence. The Bible tells us that the Law came by Moses, but Grace and Truth by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). The reference to God as Father is found only fifteen times throughout the Old Testament. But we find God as Father mentioned over one hundred and sixty five (165+) times in the New Testament. This is because “Father” is favorite name that Jesus Christ used for our God. Sixty five (65) times Jesus referred to God as “Father” in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. One hundred (100) times Jesus referred to God as “Father” in the Gospel of John. One of the most significant uses of “Father” is when Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene. Let’s read this responsively:

 John 20:15-18 (KJV) Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

1 Please Note That Jesus’ Sonship Is Different Than Our Sonship. Notice how Jesus refers to the Father. He says “I ascend unto My Father, and to Your Father”. No where in Scripture does Jesus refer to the Father as “our Father” with Himself as part of the our. When He spoke the Lord’s Prayer the disciples said “Teach US how to pray”, and Jesus told them to pray saying “Our Father Who art in Heaven” (see Matthew 6:9). He was teaching the disciples collectively how they ought to pray. Jesus Christ is the distinct Son of God.

Jesus is by nature the Son of God.
We who are saved by faith are by adoption the sons of God.
Jesus Christ has eternally been the Son of God.
We are given the power to become sons of God through Christ.

John 1:11-13 (KJV) {Jesus} came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 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: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

When the seeker receives Christ as both Lord and Saviour the Holy Spirit of God comes to our souls, and through His power adopts us into the Family of God. The Bible declares:

Galatians 3:26 … for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

Galatians 4:4-6 … But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

The adoption of sons is not something you just receive by nature. The Bible says that “by nature we are the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3-5). We who are Adam’s descendants (and that is all of us) are born into this world by nature sinners, by nature alienated from God, by nature the enemies of God. The Bible declares …

Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

There is a terrible doctrine being taught in pulpits all over the world, a false doctrine not found in Scripture. It is the doctrine that “all are the children of God”. That is not true. Jesus told the Pharisees who would not believe on Him:

John 8:41-44 (KJV) 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Those who do not love the Son of God by nature are – by nature – the children of the devil. A person who cannot hear Christ’s word, nor affirm His gospel is not a child of God. We are all born by nature children of the devil, fallen beings. When we come to the Son of God by nature and ask Him to save us, then He empowers us and brings us into His family. We become adopted Children of God.

We become radically different!

A man in a small village went to see his priest. He as a professing Catholic wanted to confess his sins and receive absolution. He said “I stole three sacks of potatoes”. The priest listened and said “I heard about two sacks of potatoes being stolen, but not three”. The man replied, “That’s true, I stole only two. But I’ll steal the third sack tomorrow!”

If you are adopted into the Family of God through faith in Christ, you become heirs of God at the same time you become children of God. You are not what you were. Before salvation you were a pig or a dog. After salvation you are a Child of the King, a son of God, and are made joint heirs with Christ. The Scripture says:

Romans 8:13-17 (KJV) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 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. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Though we were by nature the children of the devil and the children of wrath when God enters our lives He begins to change our nature to be like that of Christs. This is called theologically Progressive Sanctification. God changes us, and promises us that we will not only inherit Christ’s Heaven, but we will inherit Christ’s heavenly nature. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Christ Who is the Son of God by nature was led of the Spirit of God. We also are led of Him.

2 As Adopted Sons Of God, We Live By The Rules Of The Father. When a seeker enters into saving faith with Christ he changes from what he was into an adopted son of God. As a son of God we are all under the Father’s family rules. We are adopted into His family, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:5). The Bible tells us that:

Hebrews 12:1-8 (KJV) 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

No child of God can enjoy a life of sin. The Son of God by nature was born without sin, and never sinned. The sons of God by adoption realize what the Son of God by nature did to cover our sins.

No Child of the King would trample underfoot the Blood of Christ:

Hebrews 10:28-29 (KJV) He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Corrie Ten Boom put it this way:

Please understand you are not responsible for what you are, but for what you continue to be. Falling into the water doesn’t necessarily mean you will drown, but you will, if you stay in the water.

A pickpocket who professed to be saved by Christ said “I have become a Christian. I used to steal about sixty wallets and purses a week, but I don’t do so anymore. Now I only steal five or six a week”.

That is not right, and that person is not right.

Christians can and do sin, but they are not comfortable or content living a lifestyle of habitual, ongoing sin. If people say that they are saved but are living in a clearly unsaved state, doing the things that the Father says we ought not to do, then that person is not a child of God. That person is in the words of the King James Bastards and not Sons. The Apostle said:

1 John 2:19 (KJV) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Someone asked me why I said I wouldn’t chase after Church members. This is why. I am a child of God by faith in Christ, and am running my race for His glory. I don’t have time to run your race too. If you are a Child of God by faith in Christ then lay aside the sin and run the race for Jesus. If not, your lack of faithfulness proves that you were never of us. We had a saying in the military.

or get out of the way

3 If God Is Your Father By Adoption, You Have A Right To Expect Certain Things From Him. As our Father God loves us. God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten (by nature) Son. But there are different loves.

The love that God has for all of His Creation is very deep, very profound. When our Lord Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to His crucifixion He prayed:

Mark 14:36 (KJV) …. Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

The Father’s Son by nature was going to face the greatest trial any person has ever faced. He Who knew no sin would become sin for us. He who is the Son of God Eternally is going to be punished for something He never did. He would die for us. He would cry for us. He would thirst for us. He would be beaten and shamed for us. The Father would turn His back on the Son. And Jesus would pay it all. He would bear the full weight of sin on His back. God loves everyone this much.

But when you become His Child by faith God loves you even more. And you have the right to expect the love of God.

One of my favorite shows is the Andy Griffith Show. I often wonder how it would be to live in Mayberry. A few years ago I read a rather sad story about the lady who played Aunt Bee – Francis Bavier. She died on December 6, 1989. In a Los Angeles Times article (January 17, 1990) the newspaper reported:

The 86-year-old Miss Bavier died Dec. 6 in the spacious two-story Siler City home to which she retired in 1972. She rarely left the house, town residents say. Of an estimated $700,000 estate, Miss Bavier left the house to a hospital foundation and its antiquated contents to the public television network. An appraisal put the value of Miss Bavier’s belongings at $31,683, excluding the Studebaker, last driven in 1983 on a trip to a grocery store. The stench from the actress’ 14 cats coupled with peeling plaster, frayed carpets and worn upholstery indicate Miss Bavier either was unable or unwilling to spend much time keeping up the home. Her cats apparently used a basement room and a shower stall as a litter box. Evidently, the reclusive actress spent most of her time in a large back room plainly furnished with a bed, a desk, a television and an end table, where she kept her reading and opera glasses, black licorice and a bell. “I think she was a person who obviously valued her privacy. She . . . could have had non-stop fans if she had opened her doors,” said {Diana} Hatch (Communications Specialist at NC PBS).”

Mayberry is such a beautiful place, but there is no joy in a life unless God is in the midst of it. Frances Bavier could have had the world. But she died alone, lonely, without friends or family. God loves everyone, and calls whosoever will into His family. He wants to adopt each of us as His child by faith.

And He will care for us as no one else can. He is our Father.

I heard a preacher call God his “Daddy God” one time. I think that’s a little off. But God is our Father – exclusively our Father – if we have received Christ as Savior. Jesus said:

Matthew 23:9-10 (KJV) And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

Christ is our Master, and God is our Father. He is the Head of this Family, and we love Him with all our hearts. We address our prayers and needs to Him. Jesus taught His disciples to pray to the Father, making their requests known to Him. Jesus gave us a precious pattern of prayer. Let’s read this together:

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Notice that in the Family of God the Lord promises certain things, and we the right to expect those things. God is to give us bread. To feed and clothe us. To protect us from the evil one. But God also expects something from us.

We are to hallow His Name, to glorify Him.

I remember a preacher once getting into the Pulpit and diminishing the Lord with a silly joke. In the joke he made out like God didn’t recognize someone. I’ll not tell the joke, for it is blasphemous. Beloved, we are to glorify God. The Chief Purpose that we continue to live on this earth is to glorify our Creator. The old Puritans used to say:

Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

We honor God’s name when we love as we are loved, when we forgive as we are forgiven, when we cherish God our Father as He cherishes us. If you are in His Family, you are to live as one of His own. When people see you, they should see Christ reflected in you.

That comes only through the surrendered life, letting the Father lead you through all of life.

A little boy was walking into the big city with his Father. In order to get to the city they had to cross a suspended foot bridge – and the child was afraid of heights. He plead with his Father to let him stay on this side of the bridge. “I’ll wait for you here, Father. I’m too afraid to go across”. His Father looked at him and said, “son, do you trust me?”. The child said, “Yes Father, I do”. With that the Father picked up the child and pulling him to his chest, said “Rest in my arms, my precious. I will not drop you.” The Father crossed the bridge carrying the child, and they both went into that beautiful city.

Our Father is in Heaven, and He will carry us through all trials until the day we enter that Celestial City called Heaven. He will not fail, but we must surrender.

May God touch your hearts with His Spirit!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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