God asks us to call Him Abba, know the love of a Father.
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:4-7
14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are [children] of God. 15For 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.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
I am missing my Daddy today. It has been over 1 year, and the ache is still there. I miss his smile and his humor. Dad could tell a joke better than anyone I knew! He would not tell jokes at others’ expense, however. When he wanted to make a point, he often used humor.
I miss his wisdom and his calm presence. He had a way of putting everyone he met at ease. He treated everyone with the same integrity and respect—no matter their “position” in life. I learned to value all human life through the example of both parents.
I miss his discipline and his love. He had only to look at us when we were children, and we would stop what we were doing! His disapproval was not something I could stand for long! Yet I always felt loved and treasured.
I miss watching the way he loved and honored our mother.
I miss the way he brought out the best in each of his children.
I miss the way he wrestled with his faith, always growing, and seeking to know and understand more.
I miss walking in the room and watching him put down his book, smiling and saying, “Well, come on in here!”
I miss my Abba, my Daddy.
But I am so grateful that through his love and our relationship, I am able to love and know and embrace Abba God.
The New Testament also reveals some new names for God as Jesus walks, teaches, and reveals the relationship he has with God.
The most beloved and well-known name is Abba Father.
ABBA- “dear Father” (pronounced AB-ba)
Abba is the Aramaic name for God meaning “dear Father” or Daddy. It invokes a sense of intimacy and deep relationship. This name for God, Abba Father, is only referenced three times in the Bible, in the passages of Romans 8:15, Mark 14:36, and Galatians 4:6. The Greek work for Father is Pater (pronounced pa-TAIR) and is used with more frequency in New Testament scripture.
The Old Testament writers do refer to God as Father of the Israelites, His beloved chosen people, but they never referred to God as a personal Father. His name was YHWH – the God so mighty, powerful, and omniscient that it was never spoken out loud except by priests at specific times of the ritual or worship.
Imagine the shock that contemporaries of Jesus in the religious elite experience when they heard Jesus speaking so intimately with God, calling him my Father – placing Him on the same level of God. Many theologians believe this to be a major cause for their relentless pursuit to have him killed.
Not only did Jesus called God Father, but he encouraged his followers to do the same! Remember when his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray? He taught them to boldly pray, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed by your name.” (Matthew 6:9) This pattern of prayer taught by Jesus has led me to begin many of my prayers, Father God, or even Daddy, when I am feeling especially vulnerable or in need of the comforting arms of a Father.
Jesus came to show us the Father and told us that if we know him, we know that Father, as he and the Father are one. But Jesus also came to break the power of sin that has kept us separated from God since the Garden. He did this through his death on the cross, where he bore the sins of the world, the sins of yours and of mine. He broke the power of death when he rose from the tomb on the third day.
Jesus continued to reveal the will and the love and the forgiveness of the Father to us for fifty days in his resurrected body. Finally, he ascended to Heaven to once more sit at his place at the right hand of God, the Father, where he continues to this day to intercede for us before the Father’s throne.
So, my friends, while living among us, teaching, healing, and loving, Jesus modeled for us an intimacy with God, the Father, that leaves a lasting impact on his followers today. A model relationship that leads to gratitude, obedience and love, because of the great love He has first lavished on us.
But, through his death and resurrection, Jesus added another layer to our relationship with God. He brings us – those who have been redeemed by Christ, who love and follow Jesus – into the family of God. We are now heirs, co-heirs with Christ.
Through Intimacy, God has restored what we lost in the Garden when sin entered.
Through our Inheritance, we are heirs to all of God’s greatness and goodness.
Oh, there is so much wrapped up in a name! There is relationship! There is Grace! There is forgiveness! There is freedom from fear, from aloneness, from abandonment, for our Daddy has promised never to leave us or forsake us.
Maybe you had a harsh or cruel or absent or drunk or immature or unforgiving or distant or abusive earthy father and this concept of God is Father is hard for you to embrace! I encourage you to pray to and reach out to the God the Father. Allow him to heal those pains and show the love of a Heavenly Father, who stepped down from Heaven to break all chains of sin and death to bring you into His Family.
Abba God Revealed in a Beloved Story.
One of the most beloved stories told by Jesus, “The Prodigal Son” reveals in story form these amazing love of our Heavenly Father, Abba. In this story Jesus portrays a vastly different father than most would have known in that time, especially when a child acted with such greed and disrespect for family traditions as the younger son. Read the story in Luke 15: 1-32.
Jesus said, “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed.”
Do you see the love and grace of the Abba? First, for the father to see the son “While he was still a long way off,” the father had to been watching for the son to come home. Out there every day, waiting and watching and willing the son to return. Abba is forever wooing us, waiting and yearning for us to “come home” to rest and abide in Him.
Second, when he saw his selfish and wayward son, he had compassion for him – not judgement or condemnation or anger! His sins were forgiven! All the father saw was his son who was lost, coming home. Neither does Abba see us in our willfulness, but as forgiven and beloved children, lost yet finding their way back to The Family.
Thirdly, without shame or caring what anyone would have thought, that father ran to greet is son. He would have to hike up his robes, bear his ankles and shins, and run! Not at all the behavior of a respectable landowner and gentleman in Biblical times. It was almost scandalous!
Grace abounded in this earthly father. Mercy ran with him as he ran down the dusty road toward his son. Forgiveness was present before the son even turned his head toward home. Like the prodigal son in this story, Abba sees us while we are still a long way from Him. He is filled with compassion for us. Dirty as we are, He throws his arms around us and kisses us. Grace, mercy and forgiveness are ours.
O Father, help us understand your father’s love for us. Let us embrace you as the Father we will have with us now and throughout all eternity.
Meditate on God your Father as you listen to the words of this old, yet very stirring song by Phillips, Craig and Dean, “When God Ran”.