“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
The word bondage describes our spiritual position and condition before we were saved. We were bound by sin, without hope and without God in this world. Not only were we in bondage, we had no means of being delivered from our pitiful state. At the moment we received Christ as Savior, we were translated from the kingdom of darkness into God’s family. The Holy Spirit immediately indwelt us and sealed us until the day of our redemption. The Holy Spirit leads us in the way He would have us go, assures our hearts before God, and enables us to live victoriously over sin.
The Scripture tells us also that we have received the “Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” At the time of our spiritual birth, we were placed in the family of God. This is a great realization, to know that God is our Heavenly Father. We are not outsiders looking in and observing God’s family; we are members of His family. God wants us to understand and enjoy that blessed privilege. It is a wonderful thing to consider that God is our loving Father. Evidence of this relationship is the glorious privilege of personal communion with God in prayer. We cry “Abba, Father.” Abba is a word that describes affection toward our Father. This is something that accompanies salvation.
Our relationship with God has changed. Galatians 4:6 records, “Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” We converse with God in prayer the way Jesus spoke with His Father. This intimacy with God is not just something we learn. The Holy Spirit brings this into our lives at the time of salvation. However, it can certainly be developed as we become more secure in our identity as children of God. Sometimes, because of the guilt of past sin, or because one has experienced less than ideal family models in childhood, new believers struggle with the love and acceptance we find with God as our Father. He wants us to know that He loves us deeply and that we are able to come to Him and converse with Him as a child to his Heavenly Father. The spirit of bondage to fear has been replaced with the “Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”