One of the earliest confessions of faith to take root in the early church comes down to us as “the Apostles Creed.” Church historian Philip Schaff said, “As the Lord’s Prayer is the Prayer of prayers, the Decalogue is the Law of laws, so the Apostles’ Creed is the Creed of creeds. It contains all the fundamental articles of the Christian faith necessary to salvation, in the form of facts, in simple Scripture language, and in the most natural order—the order of revelation—from God and the creation down to the resurrection and life everlasting.” 1
I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell
The third day he rose again from the dead
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead
I believe in the Holy Ghost
I believe a holy catholic [universal] church;
the communion of saints
The forgiveness of sins
The resurrection of the body
And the life everlasting.
Like many of the church’s ancient creedal statements the Apostles Creed starts at the very beginning with God the Father.
It is not uncommon to hear a message on the Deity of the Holy Spirit. For that we might start in Acts 5 where Peter confronts Ananias. In the same sentence he says to him first “You have lied to the Holy Spirit” (Acts 5:3) and then clarifies it saying, “You have lied to God” (Acts 5:4). From the mouth of Peter the Holy Spirit is clearly equated as God.
Neither is it unusual to hear lessons on the Deity of Jesus. For that we might start at John 1:1 where the “word” which is identified as Jesus and where it is plainly stated that “The word was God…”.
But I’ve never yet heard a message on the Deity of God our Father.
God reveals Himself in Scripture as God the Father
So this morning I would like to journey through the scripture to discuss that very doctrine; namely that the Father in the trinity is Himself fully God.
Whenever the Bible speaks of God in the OT and NT specifically it normally refers to God the Father. For he is God. Calling God “Father” is not merely an expression of relationship – God is who the Father is . By way of commercial I will simply say that when we delve into the trinity we will take notice of the superior role of the Father in the godhead.
God reveals Himself through scripture with increasing layers of information. He is first the Almighty creator, then he is the covenant God of Abraham, The Personal God who sees Hagar, and ultimately to Moses he reveals himself as the self-existent “I AM”. And in the Psalms he begins to reveal Himself as Father .
Look with me first at Psalm 2:7
. The second Psalm is a Messianic Psalm, which means it prophetically speaks of the Messiah. But in the seventh verse we have what is, as far as I can tell the first revelation of God as Father. The decree of the Lord speaking of the Messiah is “you are My son”. Just a few verses later in Psalm 2:12 the Son is mentioned again. You cannot have a son unless you also have a Father. As we progress in our understanding let’s not miss these two points. (1) God reveals Himself here as Father. And (2) God reveals here that He has a son. Both points begin to direct us towards an Old Testament understanding of the Trinity which we hope to look into later.
It’s hard to imagine where to begin since nearly every New Testament letter outside of the gospels, Acts, Titus and Revela tion begins immediately with a declarative statement about God the Father.
By the time you’ve hit the second verse of Romans (Romans 1:1-3) you have read about God and heard about His Son. It is plain that in the book of Romans from the outset God is the Father. And when we finally make it in Romans 1:7 to Paul’s greeting he declares both grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. That same formula of greeting begins almost all of Paul’s writings. ( 1Co 1:3; 2Co 1:2; Gal 1:3-5; Eph 1:2-4; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2-3; 1Th 1:1;2Th 1:1-2; Phm 1:3; 1Ti 1:2 NAU)
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. (1Pe 1:1-2 NAU)
Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. (2Jo 1:3 NAU)
To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father , and kept for Jesus Christ (Jud 1:1 NAU)
And finally from the Book of Hebrews comes the combination of witnesses that move us from the word of God to God the Word. Please look at the first chapter of Hebrews 1:1-2.
God , after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son , whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (Heb 1:1-2 NAU)
Jesus Declares the Father as God
Hebrews 1:3 forms a crossover that informs us that the reason we can know the Father is because the Son has come to reveal Him to us. It is the work of the Lord Jesus Christ to reveal God the Father. 3
No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. (Joh 1:18 NAU)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Col 1:15 NAU)
Jesus so completely reveals the Father to us that when Philip turned to Jesus and begged Him, “Show us the Father” (John 14:8) Jesus responded, “I and the father are one, if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.” It was Jesus who came to reveal His Father, The Father God to us.
The Spirit Declares the Father as God
Finally we turn to the third witness for the Godhood or Deity of the Father, the Holy Spirit of God.
Romans 8:15 speaks of us receiving the Spirit of God in our hearts; and of the Spirit Himself crying out to God the Father through us with the tender phrase “Abba! Father!” Again in Galatians 4:6 The whole trinity comes together to proclaim God as our Father:
“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying
Conclusion and Application
All three witnesses are there. God testifies on His own behalf through His word that He is Father. Jesus the Son declares the Father God to us and the Spirit of God testifies in our own hearts of the deity of the Father – as well as to the Fatherhood of God.
From the beginning of the scriptures God is there. God is first described as a Father to Israel, then he is revealed as a Father to Jesus and last of all and most amazing, God Himself is Father of everyone who receives Jesus (John 1:12). He is our Father and He is our God!
The Fact that God reveals Himself to us as Father of Christ and through Christ as Father to Us by the Testimony of His Holy Spirit means that God has revealed Himself to us for the purpose of Relationship.
In the great confrontation between Elijah and the Prophets of Baal (1 kings 18:20-40) it was the final declaration of all the people in Israel that “The Lord is God”. It is no trivial doctrine to discuss the Godhood of the Father. It is the central tenet of the scriptures that God is; and that we are designed to worship Him. Therefore, as the Son and The Spirit both direct us to the Father let us worship Him, and serve Him, and Love Him with all of our hearts, our minds, our souls and our strength.
1Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, Volume 1: The History of Creeds, pp 14–15. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books) 1983.
2Brannon, Rick. Editor. Historic Creeds and Confessions. 1997 (electronic ed.) (Article I). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
3Bolender, Bob. Memorials and Shadows. Chafer Theological Seminary Journal Volume 8 (vnp.8.2.40). Chafer Theological Seminary.