“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…” -Galatians 1:3
Growing up, my parents used to do this event with me and my sister periodically. One of them individually would take a night, and make it specifically about us. It would be maybe me and my mom going to “Toys R’ Us,” or my dad and I going to see one of the George Clooney “Batman” flicks. My parents saw the need for us to know the importance of not just our family love and unity, but they also saw it important to share with us their individual love and devotion. Those memories are moments I cherish, suspended in time, and they’ll remain that way until I die.
Within the first two verses of Galatians, Paul already refers to God as “Father” twice. Some say that he might be doing it formulaically. Some might recon that Paul is differentiating God the Father Trinitarianly from Jesus the Son. I think Paul has more in mind here.
Until Jesus came, only the Jews were seen as the “Children of God.” With the dawn of Christianity making its way up the horizon, the news was spreading that this movement was now accessible to all people – not just people from Israel. Now any one who believed in Jesus and his work on the cross would be seen as a child of God.
God is not just the Father of the Jews, but He is now the Father of all who come to Him in faith.
There were Jewish Christians who came to Galatia and were telling the people that they had to become Jewish. These Christians were being told that they weren’t really “Children of God” until they got circumcised and made a commitment to the Feasts and other customs of “their people,” the Jews. Paul is reminding these believers in his opening sentences that they already are God’s children. He is reminding them that God is their Father.
There are a couple truths we must realize about God being our Father. First, there is the realization that we are His children. We are heirs of His Kingdom! There are promises that pertain specifically to us. Secondly, we must view God as the patriarch of our lives – He is the head of the household. Especially at the time, within the household, the father/husband/proprietor was seen as the leader of the family. Part of what Paul is saying isn’t just that we hold the promises, but that we need to respect God has our Father.
He is our Dad who cherishes us. He takes us out to see Batman with George Clooney even though objectively it is the worst movie to the franchise. He is our Father and expects those who are His children to follow Him, respect Him, listen to Him, and obey Him. We are His children; not just the Jews, not just those in Galatia, but everyone who believes in Jesus Christ.