Ephesians 4:3-6; One Father.
Sunday June 6,2021
By His sacrifice, Jesus provided for us the place that He occupied, a place in God’s house.
Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 "And the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 "If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
Being a son in the house means that we also have an inheritance, and because we remain there forever, there are things we can see and understand that slaves cannot. We can behold His purposes for the universe and for humanity. His purpose for Israel, the family of Abraham. His revealed essence and attributes.
We can behold God’s glory as well as His love. We can know them so intimately that we can show them to others.
"Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world. 25 "O righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee; and these have known that Thou didst send Me; 26 and I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them.
Sons living in the home of their parents for years come to know the essence and attributes of their parents. Residing in God’s house as His sons and daughters over years come to see and understand their Father as He lovingly reveals Himself to them. It is the greatest home by far for love, comfort, wisdom, intellectual stimulation, and work, amongst many other things.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
Finally, there is one Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
Our final source of unity and the one Father is not isolated in the list, for there is one Spirit and one Lord, giving the Trinity in eternal relationship with every believer and to the body as a whole. Our mentor is the one Spirit, our Savior the one Lord, and we are adopted into the family of the one Father who is over all.
There are several doctrines we could explore from the phrase “one Father.” We could study the Trinity for instance or the Lord’s relationship to the Father during His first advent. But what Paul seems to have specifically in mind when using the phrase in this passage is the Fathership of the first member of the Trinity to the body of believers.
Still, “over all, through all, and in all,” would mean more than the church, but it is only the church that knows God as Father. Still, this truth gives us the comfort of knowing that there is nothing happening in the world or the universe that the Father isn’t in authority of and in control of and in the midst of. There is so much sin and evil in the world that it is difficult for us to understand this fully. But we must trust and take comfort in God’s authority and power over all things.
“Remember this, and be assured;
Recall it to mind, you transgressors.
9 Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, 'My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.”
It is possible for a Christian who is faithful to the word of God to become so doctrinally minded, wrapped up in their orthodoxy, that they neglect the wonder of what God has done for us and to us, and so fail to experience the beautiful amazement of our relationship with God.
“True religion confronts earth with heaven and brings eternity to bear upon time.” [A. W. Tozer]
In his volume, The Knowledge of the Holy, he adds, “The church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshipping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic. The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us.”
And sometimes, when confronted with issues of overweighted trends, we tend to swing too far to the other side. Meaning, when we see that there is a lack of experience, we want to make everything about experience and start neglecting study of the word. The right thing to do is not to react too strongly to false trends and to learn the entire realm of doctrine, and part of that revelation is the fact that we have an abiding and eternal relationship with God, and we don’t have to wait for eternity to experience the deep joy of it.
Having the almighty Father as our Father, to Whom each of us can forever call eternal Father, must have the impact upon us that it should. This is not any father, but the first member of the Trinity.
Our one Father has adopted all believers, making up His family, sons and daughters now possessing His name.
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family [pas patria = whole family] in heaven and on earth derives its name,
Vs. 15: ex hou pas patria = “from whom the [a] whole family …”
The lack of a definite article would emphasize the quality of the family rather than its identity. In English we require the article, “the.”
To the Gentile converts of the Asian cities this was a new and marvelous thought. “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians,” they had been used to shout; or “Great is Aphrodite of the Pergamenes,” or, “Bacchus of the Philadelphians.” Great they knew was “Jupiter, best and greatest” of conquering Rome; and great the spirit of Caesar, to which everywhere shrines were rising up. Each city and tribe, each grove or fountain or sheltering hill had its local deity, requiring worship and sacrificial honors. Every office and occupation, every function in life – navigation, midwifery, even thieving – was under the patronage of its special deity. These petty godships by their numbers and rivalries distracted the pious heathen with continual fear lest one or other of them might not have received due observance.
Pagans believed in hundreds of jealous and petty gods. Christianity offered the world “one Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
The difference between a petty and indifferent pagan god and a Father who was the one Sovereign of the universe, was immense. He is the one and only God. There is no other. He is almighty and sovereign and He calls Himself your very own Father.
The Father in heaven is not a jealous monarch regarding men as tribute-payers, and needing to be served by human hands. The Father is not a local divinity, honored in one city but not in another where another deity rules, but He is the Father of all, above all, through all, and in all.
The question of whether “Father of all” refers only to the body of Christ, or to the entire human race and in fact all “things” is debated by scholars. Ironside writes in his commentary that it refers to the entire human race, showing the Father as Creator but not indicating a universal fatherhood. I share that with you because Ironside is a solid and humble exegete and expositor, and I have also read several other very good teachers that hold the same view. Of course, that doesn’t make their view correct, but I state it so that we might proceed with caution.
The “one Father” as Creator of all men is similar to what Paul taught in Athens.
"For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His offspring.'
One thing to keep in mind is that Paul is speaking to unbelievers here, but in Ephesians he is writing to believers. The unbeliever can understand God as creator of all men. That is in fact what deists believe. However, only believers understand God as their very own Father who has adopted them as sons.
The Father of all seems to widen Paul’s scope, and though he may be referring to the Father as Creator of the human race, only the body of Christ understands their complete dependence upon Him and obligation to Him, while the world that has rejected Christ, who remain independent from God, do not know Him as He is. So then, yes, He is the Creator of all, but only the believer recognizes Him as his Father and understands his debt to the Father who has predestined him to adoption as His own.
Though God is the Creator of all and so in one sense can be seen as the Father of all, only believers see Him as Father, and so Paul would be referring to Him as Father of the church.
For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
Jesus went about calling God His Father.
If you do a concordance search on the word “Father” in the gospels you will see just how often our Lord refers to God as His Father, and these are just the instances recorded by the authors. It really stands out when we understand that Jews did not do this.
Unlike all Israelites before Him, Jesus referred to God the Father as His Father, and He as the Father’s Son.
By His redeeming work, Jesus called His Father our Father.
Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them, 'I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'"