by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
“They are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:14-15)
Charles Wesley’s great hymn “Arise, My Soul, Arise” concludes with a stirring testimony of the joy of salvation.
My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear.
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear.
With confidence I now draw nigh, (repeat)
And, “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). As our text explains, once we have received the spirit of adoption, we are the sons of God—He owns us as His child. This is a “new” thing. We who formerly were estranged from our Creator have been reconciled to Him. “Old things,” such as the bondage to fear, are “passed away.” The close-knit ties are strong, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. . . . I will not fear what men shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Now that He is our Father, we have direct access to Him. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8). As an earthly father desires the best for his children, “how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11). “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And . . . we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
This father/child relationship goes deep. The term “Abba, Father” reflects a most sensitive and loving bond, perhaps best rendered “O Sweet Daddy.” “We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). JDM