Romans 8:14-15 “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'”
Sometimes people see God only as Sovereign, a King. It’s certainly not wrong to think of him as our King. But what if that were the only relationship we had with him? Where would that leave us? The King is the giver and enforcer of laws. We know God’s laws. He won’t stand to have even a single one broken. We also have to admit that all of us have broken them. If God were only our Sovereign, only our King, perhaps he would seem like the police to us. We would know that it’s good to have him around, but we would spend our entire lives looking over our shoulders, checking our rear view mirrors, hoping he wouldn’t catch us breaking the law. God as policeman is not a comfortable relationship.
Others envision God as some sort of unexplainable, impersonal, unapproachable power we can’t really know anything about. You can’t have a relationship at all with the cold, distant, unfeeling force they describe.
Paul assures us that God is our Father, and we are his sons or children. The word “Father” expresses much more than biological relationship. A REAL father, one who deserves the title, does all he can to provide for his children’s needs. There is nothing he would not sacrifice for the children he loves. Even when those children are ungrateful, or troublemakers who bring shame to the family reputation, a father does all he can for them.
Isn’t that what our heavenly Father has done for us? Our sins put our souls in mortal danger. They dishonor our Creator’s name. But God our Father has taken those sins away, forgiven them completely. He sacrificed his dearest treasure to do it. He gave the life of his own Son Jesus Christ to pay for our sins. He continues to forgive us daily, freely. He gave us our very lives back again. He guarantees a better life to come. All of this is a heavenly Father’s love for you and me. It’s the most important relationship we have in our lives. It’s the only reason we have a life at all.
Paul makes clear what a useful thing this relationship is when he says, “And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.” The word Abba comes from the Aramaic language. It is not exactly the same thing as the word Father. It is a term of endearment, more like “dad” or “daddy.” The point is, our special relationship with God makes him someone we can approach. We can go to him with our problems and expect help. We can go to him with our sins and be sure of forgiveness.
The words of the catechism say it best: “God tenderly invites us to believe that he is our true Father and that we are his true children, so that we may pray to him as boldly and confidently as dear children ask their dear fathers.”