by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
â€œThey 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.â€ (Romans 8:14-15)
Charles Wesleyâ€™s great hymn â€œArise, My Soul, Ariseâ€ 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, â€œFather, Abba, Father,â€ cry.
â€œIf 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 Christâ€ (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). As our text explains, once we have received the spirit of adoption, we are the sons of Godâ€”He owns us as His child. This is a â€œnewâ€ thing. We who formerly were estranged from our Creator have been reconciled to Him. â€œOld things,â€ such as the bondage to fear, are â€œpassed away.â€ The close-knit ties are strong, â€œfor he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. . . . I will not fear what men shall do unto meâ€ (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Now that He is our Father, we have direct access to Him. â€œDraw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to youâ€ (James 4:8). As an earthly father desires the best for his children, â€œhow much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?â€ (Matthew 7:11). â€œAnd 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 himâ€ (1 John 5:14-15).
This father/child relationship goes deep. The term â€œAbba, Fatherâ€ reflects a most sensitive and loving bond, perhaps best rendered â€œO Sweet Daddy.â€ â€œWe pray you in Christâ€™s stead, be ye reconciled to Godâ€ (2 Corinthians 5:20). JDM