Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:15-17
The only reason that we can stare our worst fear in the face and stand is because we have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" We are sons and daughters of God. We are heirs with Christ. The knowledge and experience of that reality in the depths of our hearts will swallow up any fear.

I've been really enjoying Sovereign Grace's latest release called Sons & Daughters, an entire album about the doctrine of adoption! My favorite song on the album is called "You Made Us Your Own," which I posted about last week. But a close second for me is a song entitled, "The Father's Love."

The Father's Love - Sovereign Grace Music

How has the sinner been forgiven
How has the rebel been made clean
Or blinded eyes been made to see
How have the orphans been adopted
Who hated Your love and ran from grace
Despised and rejected all Your ways

How wonderful the Father’s love
The Father’s love for us
That He would send His only Son
To come and rescue us
He has saved us, called us blameless
Guides us now and will sustain us
Oh how wonderful the Father’s love

Your mercy floods our lives with kindness
Your grace has colored all we see
And You have promised not to leave
You freely give Your Spirit to us
So we can be sure we’re sons of God
And rest in the hope of what’s to come

Though sufferings may fill our lives
We’re confident we’re heirs with Christ
And so we cry, “Abba, Father”

My favorite part of this song by far (without fail, I want to jam like I'm playing the drums every time I hear it!) is the three line bridge that is clearly rooted in the truths the apostle Paul writes of in Romans 8:15-17. These are not light-hearted lyrics. They are deeply sobering and at the same time indescribably joyful.

If we truly are heirs with Christ, suffering will fill our lives, Paul says. And that suffering is meant to magnify our hope of the joy that is to come when we are glorified with our elder brother Jesus because we know that we really are sons and daughters with Him and not illegitimate children.
For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
1 Peter 3:5, 6 (emphasis added)

As a child of God, the reality of my life is that there are countless things that truly are frightening and that I will naturally be inclined to shrink back from in fear rather than look them in the face and stand. Peter acknowledges that there really are frightening things (he's specifically addressing women here. But also for men!)! But the good news of the gospel is that God has given me the Spirit of adoption so that I can stand up, look my worst fears in the face, and cry "Abba! Father!" because I know that the thing that I have most to fear has been removed: the wrath of God. And because of that, one day all my other lesser fears will be fully and finally swallowed up as I experience the fullness of joy in God's presence and eternal pleasures at the right hand of Jesus (Psalm 16:11).
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If we are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness [in full when we are glorified with Jesus, Romans 8:17].
Hebrews 12:7-10

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