“OUR FATHER IN THE HEAVENS”
4. Of what does the expression “our Father” remind us, and in what sense is Jehovah “Father” to Christians with an earthly hope?
4 The expression “our Father,” not “my Father,” reminds us that we belong to an “association of brothers” who truly love one another. (1 Pet. 2:17) What a precious privilege that is! Anointed Christians, who have been begotten as God’s sons with heavenly life in view, rightly address Jehovah as “Father” in the fullest sense. (Rom. 8:15-17) Christians whose hope is to live forever on earth can also address Jehovah as “Father.” He is their Life-Giver, and he lovingly provides for the needs of all true worshippers. Those with this earthly hope will in the fullest sense become God’s children after they have reached perfection and have proved their loyalty in the final test.—Rom. 8:21; Rev. 20:7, 8.
“LET YOUR NAME BE SANCTIFIED”
7. What privilege do God’s people have, but what does it require of us?
7 What a privilege it is for us not only to know God’s personal name but also to bear it as “a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14; Isa. 43:10) We implore our heavenly Father: “Let your name be sanctified.” Your making such a request may move you to ask Jehovah to help you to avoid doing or saying anything that would dishonor his holy name. We do not want to be like some in the first century who did not practice what they preached. The apostle Paul wrote of them: “The name of God is being blasphemed among the nations because of you.”—Rom. 2:21-24.
8, 9. Give an example of how Jehovah blesses those who are concerned about sanctifying his name.
8 We want to sanctify God’s name. After the untimely death of her husband, a sister in Norway was left alone with a two-year-old son. “It was a very difficult time in my life,” she explains. “I prayed every day, nearly every hour, for strength to keep my emotional balance so that I would not give Satan reason to taunt Jehovah because of any unwise decision or unfaithfulness on my part. I wanted to sanctify Jehovah’s name, and I wanted my son to see his father again in Paradise.”—Prov. 27:11.
9 Did Jehovah answer such unselfish prayers? Yes. This sister received support from her regular association with caring fellow believers. Five years later, she married an elder. Her son, now 20 years old, is a baptized brother. “I am so happy,” she says, “that my husband helped me to raise him.”
10. What is needed for the complete sanctification of God’s name?
10 What is needed for God’s name to be completely sanctified and cleared of all reproach? For that to happen, Jehovah must act to remove all who willfully reject his sovereignty. (Read Ezekiel 38:22, 23.) Mankind will gradually be brought to perfection. How we long for the time when all intelligent creation will treat Jehovah’s name as holy! Then, at last, our loving heavenly Father will “be all things to everyone.”—1 Cor. 15:28.