Becoming a Son, Forever a Child
Becoming a Son, Forever a Child
New American Standard Bible 1995
15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery [a]leading to fear again, but you have received [b]a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
A well-known minister of the gospel recently shared a message in which he emphasized the importance of recognizing ourselves as both a child and a son of God throughout our journey with the Lord. He referred to it as a lifetime “two-dimensional” relationship with the Lord. He used Romans 8:15 as the basis of the message. Normally, when we read or hear the end of that verse, “Abba! Father!” we tend to combine the two phrases, understandably because we are talking about our Heavenly Father. In this teaching, however, the minister made a point of looking at each word separately.
He noted that “Abba” can be translated as “daddy,” a term that is generally used by very small children, while “Father” is a term generally used by children as they grow older. His point was that in our walk with the Lord, we will always identify with both names. We will, at times, come to God as a child, totally dependent on Him, while at other times, we will come to Him as a son, a maturing child who is learning to partner with the Lord as we grow in the knowledge of His Word.
There are two stories in the Bible that illustrate this two-dimensional aspect of our relationship with God. The first, which exemplifies the “child-daddy” relationship, is found in Matthew chapter 9 (as well as Mark 5, and Luke 8); it is the recording of Jairus, a leader of the synagogue, coming to Jesus to ask Him to heal his daughter who was very sick. Jesus agrees to help but is delayed. When Jesus is ready to go, someone comes and tells Jairus that it is too late, that his daughter has already died. Jesus’ response is that of an “Abba” to His vulnerable child: “Do not be afraid, only believe.” That is exactly what an earthly parent would do in a situation where a child was in distress. A parent would calmly reassure the child that all would be well; no lesson to be learned, just comfort and compassion given.
The second story is found in John 6. It concerns the feeding of the 5,000. This involved another big challenge – not enough food and no natural way of providing it. Jesus asked Philip what they (the disciples) were going to do. Scripture says that Jesus was just testing Philip, because He already knew what He was going to do. Jesus’ response was that of “Father” to a maturing son. He was taking a challenging situation and turning it into a “teachable moment.” Jesus was preparing to give Philip and the other disciples an “upgrade” in their relationship with Him.
This perspective on our two-dimensional relationship with God is important because often, we focus so much on trying to mature in our relationship with Him, that we forget or feel like we cannot come to Him as a child – when we face challenges that leave us feeling totally vulnerable. We would do well to remember that when those times come, we can run into the wide-open arms of our “Abba”! As a song written a number of years ago so accurately conveys:
“You will always be a child in My eyes.
When you need some love my arms
are open wide. Even when you ’re
growing old, I hope you understand,
you will always be a child in my eyes.” (Ray Boltz)
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