All the Difference: Savior and Father

By: Beth Doohan & Jenni Walker

“I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word. Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.” ~Psalm 119:15-18

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me… My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” ~John 15:27, 29-30

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There is a common phrase that says, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” We may not know someone at first glance, but as you get to know a person, you probably can learn a lot about them and what they believe based on the things they share, how they act, and their opinions. In the same way, how a person thinks and acts reveal the way they view God.

In last month’s article, we explored how Scripture shares many different names, attributes, and descriptions of God. That understanding of His character impacts our lives and relationship with Him. When you think of God’s character, what comes to mind? He is first our Savior, but do you also experience Him as your Father? He must be your Lord, but have you also come to know Him as Your Confidant? How have you experienced His comfort, His faithfulness, His justice, His grace? Are you seeking Him every day, or only when you need Him? When He speaks to your heart, do you actually listen and obey?

Knowing and understanding aspects of God’s character makes all the differences in our walk with Him. Today, we will discuss two specific aspects of God’s character: God as our Savior and God as our Father.

Our Savior

In Modern Homemakers (a podcast we highly recommend!), Donna Otto posed a question: “Is Jesus first my Savior? If I have made a surrender of my life to Him, then I first know Him as Savior, not [just] teacher, not great leader, not all the things we can say about Jesus Christ…” We may know about Jesus, we may call Him our Savior, but if He is not our Savior first, then, as Donna Otto said, Scripture would become “just another bondage of things we think we ought to do and how we should do them” (“Thoughts on the Sermon on the Mount,” Modern Homemakers). Christ being our Savior brings redemption, meaning, and purpose to our lives and is the pillar of our Christian faith.

Calling God our Savior recognizes that we are all sinful and in need of a perfect Savior. We are all broken, selfish by nature, and in bondage to sin. but because of God, OUR SAVIOR, we can be forgiven, justified, and made alive with Christ. II Timothy 1:9-10 says, “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.”

Knowing Christ as our Savior also means responding to His work on the cross by walking in humility with hearts of gratitude, revering and loving the One who gave His life for ours. Titus 3:4-7 says, “When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of His grace He made us right in His sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” Let us live with gratitude and love for our Savior, giving ourselves wholeheartedly to the One who gave His all for us!

Our Father

Have you had a parent or friend call just to say they love you? It always makes you feel special and cared for when a loved one reaches out. Imagine how much more our heavenly Father cares for us and longs to show us His love! He is always waiting, calling, and ministering as we seek Him. When we spend time with Him, God speaks to us through His Word, worship, and prayer. Our Father fills our deepest heart needs to feel loved and accepted, to have a purpose and calling, and to be confident in who He designed us to be.

How do you respond to your Heavenly Father? Do you talk with God, not just to Him? Do you show Him love and receive the love He has for you by spending time with Him every day through listening prayer, Scripture meditation, and even journaling? These are ways to connect with our Father’s heart and hear His voice, by tending and investing in the relationship.

Our Father longs for an intimate, wholehearted relationship with you. But unlike many human relationships, the big difference is that God will never give up on you. He is the One who drew us to Himself and invites us to experience His lavish love (John 6:44 & 1 John 3:1)! Will you abide in the love of your Father so that He can minister healing, tend your heart, and transform you?

Tying It All Together

Understanding God’s character is key to living in wholehearted surrender as you allow Him to be at work in your heart and life. As our Savior, God gives us the free gift of His grace, which will ultimately lead to a transformed life. We are no longer our own but were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And as our Father, we have received from Him the Holy Spirit who helps us grow in our desire for God and His ways and opening our hearts to receive His deep love and care.

Before Jesus went to the cross, He wanted His disciples to understand more of God’s character, saying, “All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make Our home with each of them” (John 14:22). Let us spend time with our Savior and Father today, listening to His voice, responding to His love, and obeying His commands. He is with us and longs to reveal Himself to us as His followers and children!

We close today with a thought from Chip Ingram, author of “God As He Longs for You to See Him” (full post HERE):

“God deeply longs for us to see Him. John 4:24 tells us that the Father is actually seeking and pursuing people to be His worshipers. [But] no one can take for you the steps you’ll need to take to see God more clearly. You will discover Him because you dug and you cried out. True knowledge of God only comes firsthand. Another person’s best description of God will never compare to knowing Him personally in all His grace and glory. And the amazing fact is that God longs for you to see Him exactly that way.”

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Reflection Questions:

  1. Is Jesus Christ first of all your Savior? Have you dedicated (or re-dedicated) your life to following Him and walking in His ways? Do you approach Him daily with an attitude of humility and gratitude?
  2. When you think of God as your Father, does it bring delight to your heart? How have you experienced God as your Father (showing you His love, tending to your heart, etc.)? How can you choose to spend time with your Heavenly Father today?