“And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” vs. 5
As we continue our Christmas celebration of Jesus’ birth these words from Paul remind us of what that birth actually means for our daily existence. He’s writing to Jews living in the Roman province of Galatia and wants them to know that what happened in Jesus has given them adoption as children of God. They are no longer children of a fallen humanity, they’ve been redeemed…now they belong to God. But there’s even more good news! Not only are they children of God, they have also received the Spirit of Jesus in their hearts! Now they too can address God as Father, just like Jesus did. They can call God “Abba,” the Aramaic word for God that Jesus used. Sometimes, in our effort to use inclusive language for God, we are reluctant to use a gender specific word like “Abba.” But it’s hard to find an equivalent…and any noun we substitute becomes a distraction. And since the Spirit of Jesus does dwell in our hearts perhaps it’s a good thing to use the word for God that he used. To call God “Abba” is to recognize that we have a special relationship with God. Our “Abba” has given us existence and has set us free from the power of sin…we have been freed to live as beloved children and bear the fruit of the Spirit with every word and deed.
Thought for the Day: What word is a good substitute for “Abba”?