Sunday, June 15, 2014
June 15 – We cry out “Abba, Father!”
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs… (Romans 8:15-17 HCSB)
As we celebrate Father’s Day it’s useful for us to think about how God calls Himself our heavenly Father. Why is that? He could call us any number of things — slaves, servants, citizens of His kingdom, priests, warriors, saints, His workmanship, jars of clay, sheep, chosen people, branches — and He does. But the Father-child relationship is the most prominent and repeated designation in the New Testament… so much so that the Lord Jesus referred to God as Father exclusively while He was on earth. The only time He called God “God”, was when He was left alone on the cross and cried out “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
It even appears that Jesus was in the habit of using the phrase “Abba, Father”, which was the Aramaic and Greek forms of father, and which emphasized the closeness of the relationship, and the dependence that a child has on his father. This was a huge departure from the Old Testament where is was unusual to see God referred to as Father. To the Jews it must have been a shock to hear Jesus speak in such an informal, personal way with God — but obviously He was introducing a new way of approaching God. Like today’s promise states, “Abba, Father” communicates the belief that we are God’s children, and heirs to all that He has.
It’s rare to find people that have not heard the phrase “Abba, Father.” Many have read it in the Bible, or heard it preached on, but the million dollar question is… do we treat God in this intimate, bold, expectant way? This way of looking at God is not exclusive to Jesus. He came to show us how to live, and how we need to have a relationship with Him that guarantees big blessings — a confidence that He will never, ever, ever fail us. If we had this down pat, our lives would be completely different than they are today. We all need to work on this.