THE FATHER IS THE KING
BFM: God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise.
The Fact of the Father’s Reign
1. The biblical data testifies that God the Father reigns as King over all. In theological history, no one has ever seriously debated this point. Simply, the Bible is too explicit, too often for any serious challenge to be made on this point. In the NT, specifically, “God” refers most often to the person of the the Father. Jesus explains that the Great I AM, the self-existing, self-sustaining of Exodus 3:14 is “the Father” who “has life in himself” (John 5:26).
2. The Bible explains that there clearly a “firstness” for God the Father. Paul explains that the Son will deliver “the kingdom to God the Father” (1 Cor 15:24). He goes on to indicate a clear ordering in the relationships of the Trinity: “ For ‘God has put all things in subjection under his feet.’ But when it says, ‘all things are put in subjection,’ it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15:27-28). Scripture therefore clearly indicates an order (Gk: taxis) between the persons of the Trinity; but it is an order of role and not nature or “Godness”. The Son lovingly submits to the Father, but he and the Father are equally and fully God.
3. Historically, theologians have referred to this reality as the monarchy or “kingship” of the Father. The nature of this monarchy has chafed relationships in theological circles and in different areas of the church. This issue, in part, splintered the church, resulting in the Great Schism in 1054 between East and West.
The Nature of the Father’s Reign
1. A Reign of Control. Control means “the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.” Control means sovereignty, total supremacy, dominion, power, authority, and jurisdiction.We often associate the word with negative pictures of a manipulative mother-in-law or demanding boss or unilateral dictator; in their hands, control is a bad thing. However, when the loving Creator wields control he does so rightfully and lovingly, though nonetheless unilaterally.
2. A Reign of Purpose. The Psalmist says, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations” (Ps 33:11). Isaiah worships this planning God, “for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure” (25:1).
3. A Reign of Grace. God’s plans are plans or purposes of grace. The sum of his purpose was to reconcile the world back to himself through Jesus. Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). God cuts the feet out from the entire universe so that it will bow to his grace. God planned to send Jesus. Jesus saved us from the Father’s wrath, but the Father also saved us from the Father’s wrath! The Father is a gracious Father.
4. A Reign of Fullness. The generic way to describe God’s reign is to say he reigns over everything, and specifically we can see his reign over three spheres.
a. The Father Reigns Over Creation. Again, this is a catch-all, as the Psalmist says, “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all” (Ps 103:19). God the Father is King over all things.
b. The Father Reigns Over Humanity. The Father’s reign extends specifically over humanity. This is evident throughout Scripture, from the moment of God’s creative, life-installing inbreathing of the formed dust called Adam.
c. The Father Reigns Over History. The cheesy and churchy statement that history is “his story” is, in fact, profoundly true. It is the story written by God the Father about saving the world through God the Son. Scripture shows that God stands over and above human actions and historical phenomena. God moves the human movers of history, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov 21:1). For example, Isaiah 45 tells of the pagan king Cyrus, whom God raises up to accomplish his will. He also reigns over the cataclysmic events of history, quaking or flooding the earth for his own good purposes.
The Person of the Father’s Reign
1. The Father is Omnipotent.
2. The Father is Omniscient.
3. The Father is Loving.
4. The Father is Wise.