For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Romans 8:15 ASV

“The spirit of adoption” is doubtless another expression referring to the Holy Spirit, so-called here because of the appropriate contrast with the “spirit of bondage” which marked their lives in the service of Satan.

Christians are sometimes called “bondslaves” to Christ; but here their status is compared to that of children adopted by a loving father.

The point of the admonition forbids fear. If God’s children will love him and be faithful to him, there is absolutely nothing that they need to fear.

The first fruits of the indwelling Spirit are love, joy, and peace; and it is unbecoming of a child of God to manifest a spirit of bondage and fear.

After all, he is God’s CHILD! As a child of God, the Christian should live a life of joyful anticipation of those eternal benefits which are so emphatically promised in the word of God.

“Abba” is the Aramaic equivalent of “Father”; and thus the expression literally means “Father, Father.”

This is a repetition as one of endearment and entreaty, taken from the natural impulse of children to repeat a beloved name in different forms.

That it occurs twice (the expression “Abba, Father”) in Paul’s Greek writings is a striking fact, which may be due to the impression made by Jesus’ direct and unconventional approach to the Father.

It corresponds exactly to the opening of the Lord’s Prayer in the Lucan form (Luke 11:2), and Paul’s reference here may be to the use of this prayer in Christian worship.

The very fact that you can address God as Abba proves that the Spirit is at work among you, and that you are Gods’ children.

The PROOF that God’s Spirit is actually working in people does not depend upon some outlandish manifestation but upon simple things like the willingness to address God as Father in prayer, the willingness to sing his praises in public assemblies, the willingness to attend public worship and to maintain public identification with God’s children in the church.

It is dearly in such ways as these, and in countless so-called ordinary ways, that the proof of the indwelling Spirit is manifested in Christians.

Such prosaic things as daily prayer and regular worship tend to be despised; but in this verse the Spirit himself reveals that these things are actually the sine qua non of walking in the Spirit, and that they prove the Spirit’s indwelling presence, only with this provision, that such conduct is truly the result of the Spirit’s influence and not merely the exercise of the person’s own will through selfish and social considerations.

So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world: but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 4:3‭-‬7 ASV

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