It's become a popular thing to remind people over and over that God is first and foremost, a loving Father. The object seems to be to distance the speaker from the judgmentalism and legalism (so distasteful) of the past and welcome them into the non- condemning now. And how could I disagree with such a statement? I don't. But when Jesus introduced the idea, it had a context that we are now missing. Those to whom God was first revealed as Father, were already very cognizant of him as Creator, Judge and King. It's those other essential roles, so faint in the current picture people want to paint, that make his offer of Fatherhood so precious. He's under no obligation to be father to us. It may be in his nature, but like the returning prodigal, it's not our place to presume on that. Yes, once welcomed in, we would do well to humbly receive the robe, ring, sandals and fatted calf he lavishes on us. Continuing in condemnation is so obviously not his program for us. But forgetting what else he is besides Father is liable to cause us to lose the intended eternality of gratitude due him.