Abba! Father!

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" (Ro 8:15)

Some verses in the Bible are just so amazing that we rarely take them in with the full impact that they carry. Familiarity causes us to gloss over them, or we think we know what we mean.

Occasionally the Spirit will not allow us to progress in our reading, causing a verse to arrest our attention. Demanding we give it our full attention until the magnitude of the truth it expresses sinks in.

I had such an experience this morning with this verse. The Aramaic word for Father is "Ab", and yet that is not the word used here. It seems the translators are reluctant to translate it at all, possibly because of fear of the potential irreverence of the implications. "Abba" was the word that young children would use towards their dads. For my money, Eugene Peterson comes closest, despite the nature of his paraphrase, when he translates it as "Papa". It means "Daddy" or as it would be used in our household - "Dada!"

Because of the Spirit we have received, poured out on us through the complete work of Christ, God has become not just our "Father" - a relational and legal concept for us to understand - but he is our "Daddy", full of real emotion, warmth and love for us not just to know about, but to experience in intimacy.

As I thought about my relationship with my own son, and the joy I get when we embrace and he calls out "Dada!", I got a precious insight into the heart of the one from whom all fatherhood on earth derives. He not only permits us to call him "Daddy," he loves it!

Some of us may feel we are too mature, too respectful, too enlightened to use such a word for God. Is it that? Or are we just too religious? The sad thing is that, another reason this word is not translated, is because over the years the word "Abba" just became a formal religious word to use when addressing your prayers to God.

But how precious, if we are not too proud to approach our heavenly Father the way the Scriptures exhort us to come - as little children (Mk 10:15) And enjoy the embrace of our loving daddy.

As Christians we often make a lot (and rightly so!) of the relationship we have with Christ. We also revel in the real, tangible and powerful presence of the Spirit. But let's not forget that we were saved into a relationship - an intimate relationship - with all three persons of the Godhead. We have not been adopted into a cold foster home, but a warm and loving family - and a father who watches eagerly at the window for the first glimpse of his approaching sons, that he might rush to embrace them. [Lk 15:20]

If we quieten our hearts to listen to the voice of the Spirit, we will hear that he is crying out: "ABBA! Father!" [Gal 4:6]

No comments: