Friday 14 February 2014

Bible Book:

“When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is the very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (vv. 15-16)

Romans 8:12-17 Friday 14 February 2014


We now have another illustration to explain our new relationshipwith God, if indeed we choose to live in Christ. This relationshipis described as being a child of God by adoption and is offered incontrast to a spirit of slavery and fear. In Paul's time this wouldmean an expectation of obedience, just as a slave is expected to beobedient, whilst the crucial difference between a slave and a childis that of an expectation of an inheritance from the Father. Theparable of the lost son (Luke15:11-32) seems very pertinent to this section with its storyof inheritance, son-ship, sin and forgiveness.

Paul uses the Hebrew term "Abba" which means 'Father' in verse15. It is a phrase that would have been used by children within thecontext of a family. However, Paul's use of the Hebrew is probablymeant to emphasise the word. Indeed, the word is found on Jesus ownlips in the Garden of Gethsemane in Mark14:36 when he cries out to God. This is one of the fewoccasions in which we hear Jesus quoted in his own language in theGospels.

We are invited therefore, as children of God, to share in thisintimacy with God that Jesus himself had. But we should also noticethat this status as children and heirs of God comes with thecondition in verse 17 "if, in fact, we suffer with him ...". But ifwe do suffer with him, we are living in Christ and we can seeourselves as coheirs and therefore brothers and sisters of Christ.It is no accident that Paul uses the words uttered by Jesus in theGarden of Gethsemane.

How do we know we are truly heirs of God? If we are recipientsof a will, witnesses are needed. For us, as children of God, Paultells us that it is the Holy Spirit that bears witness with ourspirit that this is the truth.

To Ponder

  • What does it mean to you that you are an heir of God and jointheir with Christ?
  • Do you find the image of God as "Abba" a helpful one? Why?
  • To what extent are you able to relate to Jesus as yourbrother?
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