Within the last part of the series “The Lord’s Prayer”, the subject for discussion was on the fact that the Lord is our Father and what that means for our daily life and daily walk with Christ. This part will discuss the following phrase: who art in heaven. Simple words, yet they hold great meaning and implication for our lives. But how? I had a family member joke and say, “Next will she write on the next two words “who art”?”. And will I? Yes. While the “in heaven” part is crucial to this phrase, for we have not even reached the verb of this sentence yet and we are only still describing who God is, specifically in relation to us, the “who art” is just as important.
First off, what does art mean? The word art is, simply, the archaic version of is (“Art.”). In Old English, the spelling would have been eart, which changed to art, until finally our is came about (“Be.”). Thus, this is our Father who is in Heaven. But what more than that? As mentioned before, what can be said about two words – “who art”?
If God “is”, what does that mean for us? How do we know that God is? Starting at the beginning, which is a very good place to start, we find that,
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
~ Genesis 1:1 ~
Also, at the “book-end” of the Scriptures,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is, and is to come.”
~ Revelation 4:8 ~
Thus, we know that God is at the beginning. This means He is our Father and our Creator. He is eternal, immortal, the only God who not only is, but who was and always shall be, the one who deserves all our praise and devotion (1 Tim. 1:17, Rev. 4:8). In addition, the Gospel of John reminds us that,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
~ John 1:1-5 ~
As in Genesis, so too does John remind us that God, who was in the beginning, was also the Son, not forgetting the Holy Spirit, and this Son who was in the beginning was the Word. And that Word was that which brought us the Gospel, the Good News of Salvation which comes from the Christ. In knowing that God is, we know that we have found salvation in Christ Jesus. One should remember this especially when taking Communion as we know that Christ is in the body and blood that we partake of (Mat. 26:26-29, 1 Cor. 11:23-26, 2 Cor. 5:21).
We do not, however, only see Him in His Word, but also in the world around us that He has made.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
~ Romans 1:20 ~
The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
~ Psalm 19:1-4 ~
Thus, we see God in all things and all things proclaim Him. Moreover, remembering our salvation through Him, we must recognize how great it is that God not only is but also cares to know us!
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
~ Psalm 8:3-5 ~
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, and in our likeness…
~ Genesis 1:26 ~
Finally, as was discussed in the previous part of this series, on “Our Father”, we are reminded that this is Our Father who is in Heaven (Mat. 6:9, Act. 1:11). We have a Father in Heaven who punishes us because of and loves us in spite of our sin. With this in mind, we remember that He is sovereign in all things (1 Tim. 6:15). We remember that He created us in His Image and gave us His Spirit. Because of that, we remember that we have Father who sent His only begotten Son so that we might have life in His Name (John 3:16-21 & 20:31).
What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
~ Romans 8:31-34 ~
Remembering that God is and is in heaven, we know that He is, in more ways than one, above all things. He provides for us, He justifies us, and He intercedes for us as we cannot. After all, there is “one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus”, and in this we have hope (1 Tim. 2:5). In response to this,
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things are more than conquerors through him who loves us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 8:35-39 ~
Thus, we find hope, strength, security, and salvation in the knowledge that our God is and that our God is in heaven.
“Art.”. The Online Etymology Dictionary. 2017. Accessed 20 Aug. 2017.
“Be.”. The Online Etymology Dictionary. 2017. Accessed 20 Aug. 2017.
The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 1985.