A few years ago, I had the opportunity to walk through the adoption process with one of my closest friends. She and her husband had two children but knew they wanted to adopt. They live in another country and received a phone call one day from a local friend. There was a baby girl – about 8 months old – who needed a foster home. She and her husband agreed to take her in, and within a short time knew this would be their daughter. From there, they fought for over a year to make her their daughter officially. Now this girl, once an orphan, in need of care, love, destined for a life without much hope for future, had a new name. Now she had a family. Now she belonged. The course of her life changed. I watched as my friends went to battle for their daughter. They became her advocate. They helped her get medical care she needed. They loved her.
Adoption is one of the most beautiful processes on this earth. In Romans, Paul uses several “human” examples to help us better understand what Jesus Christ did for us. In chapter 6, he uses slavery as a way to show how we transfer being controlled by sin to be controlled the Spirit. It gives a picture of how we transfer being owned by death to being owned by God. It was a familiar image. In fact, many estimate that as much as half of the church in Roman were slaves or indentured servants.
In chapter 8 though, Paul takes this idea of being slaves and turns it on its head:
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
We are not slaves; we are heirs. We do not have a slave master; we have an Abba Father. We are adopted into God’s family. Being an heir meant everything in the ancient world: it was your identity, your future, your livelihood. In a prominent household, there was a difference between the slaves and the heirs. They didn’t live the same lifestyle and their futures couldn’t be more distinct. But if a slave was adopted, it broke all of their previous legal ties and they had a new identity as an heir.
That’s what Jesus did for us. His life, death, and resurrection were all to bring us close to God – to be adopted as His children, to become heirs.
And that word “Abba”? It was an intimate name for daddy, a “tender endearment by a beloved child.” It is used by a child who has an “affectionate, dependent” relationship on their father. Using Abba Father broke down the notion that God was a high and mighty, uninvolved, judging, dictator of rules. Paul portrays God here as a loving father. It’s the name Jesus uses of God in the Garden of Gethsemane right before he is arrested.
Paul moves the believers in Rome from a Master-Slave mentality to an Abba-Heir relationship.
God does the same for us: He breaks all legal ties we had to sin and gives us a new name, a new future. Not because of who we are, but because of who our Daddy is.
Or listen the audio:
For this Week:
- Read Romans 8:18-30
- Gather with some girlfriends and talk about what you read.
- Discover: What three truths did you learn from this passage?
- Discuss: The Greek Word used for groaning in vv. 22, 23, & 26 implies a feeling of pressure that this is not how life should be. Who is groaning in these verses? How does this change our view of suffering in the world around us?
- Share: The Greek Word for interceding is a combination of two root words meaning “abundant” and “praying for.” How does this encourage you when you “don’t know what to pray”? What is The Spirit praying according to?
- Bonus Question: Read verses 1-30 together and review what you’ve studied. How does this change your understanding of v. 28?
- Memorize Romans 8:26.
- Come back next week for the next video.
I am thrilled to be part of an online Bible Conference called Enjoy the Word 2018. God has grown my passion for His Word for the last couple of years. It has breathed new life into my every day. For the first time in my life, I truly enjoy the Bible. And look at these amazing women involved! They are some of my favorite Bible teachers.
Here are some of the sessions (and you get to keep the videos for LIFE!):
- Keynote Speakers: Chris and Katie Orr – a Study through Jonah
- Kat Lee (HelloMornings.org) – How to Build the Habit of Regular Bible Study
- Stacey Thacker (StaceyThacker.com) – Igniting a Passion for God through His Word
- Katie Orr (KatieOrr.me) – Too Busy for Bible Study?
- Brooke McGlothlin (TheMOBSociety.com) – How to Control Your Emotions so They Don’t Control You
- Elyse Fitzpatrick (ElyseFitzpatrick.com) – Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation
- Angie Brown Elkins (chatologie.com) – How to Worship Through the Word
Click here for all the details and to register.