This is the 15th in a series of articles on the Trinity, excerpted from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available by contacting the MBC or through Amazon and other booksellers.
While Jesus assures His followers that God is their Heavenly Father, He alone shares a unique relationship with the Father as the eternal Son of God. There is an intimacy in this union that only exists between two eternal, all-powerful, and all-knowing persons. We explore this relationship in more detail in future columns.
Still, it may prove helpful here to note a few New Testament passages where Paul and Peter use the phrase “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How is it that Yahweh is both the God of Jesus, and His Father?
Let’s begin with the verses themselves, and then follow up with a few observations.
Romans 15:6 – “so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one mind and one voice.”
2 Corinthians 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.”
Ephesians 1:3 – “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.”
1 Peter 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
To understand how Yahweh is both the God of Jesus and His Father, we need to keep in mind the triune nature of God. The one true God exists as three distinct, but inseparable, co-equal, co-eternal persons. About Jesus, consider:
First, like the Father, Jesus is eternal and uncreated (John 1:1).
Second, Jesus shared the Father’s glory before the world existed (John 17:5).
Third, Jesus, like the Father and the Holy Spirit, is the Creator of all things (John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17).
However, Jesus is unique in that He alone among the persons of the Trinity added sinless humanity to His deity through the miracle of the virgin birth. Thus, Jesus retained His deity, even when becoming flesh and dwelling among us (John 1:14).
As the second person of the Godhead, Jesus freely refers to God as His Father – a relationship they always have shared. As the co-equal second person of the Trinity, Jesus is deity revealed in the flesh (John 1:1, 14; Col. 2:9). Jesus never becomes the Son of God; He is, eternally, the Son. Passages such as Hebrews 1:5 – “You are my Son; today I have become your Father” (quoting Ps. 2:7) – should be understood in context as referring to the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus. We examine more closely Jesus as “begotten” in a future column.
In His humanity, Jesus comes as our Savior. He must live a fully human life in order to be our substitute. He is born under the law (Gal. 4:4), which means He is obligated to love God and honor Him (Deut. 6:4-5). So Jesus has to obey the law, which He does, even though He is tempted in every way we are tempted (Heb. 4:15). Having humbled Himself to become a human being, Jesus honors the Father as His God, even after His resurrection (John 20:17; Rev. 3:12).
To summarize: Jesus is the eternal Son of God, who becomes the God-Man in the Incarnation. As divine yet completely human, He fulfills the law, honoring the Father as God. So now, it should begin to make sense that both Paul and Peter refer to Yahweh as the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
There are at least two other ways God the Father is revealed in Scripture: as the Father of Israel and as the Father of the Church. We explore these in the next two columns.
Next: The Father of Israel