Key Verse: 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 4:7
“Many who say “Our Father” on Sunday spend the rest of the week acting like orphans.” (author unknown)
In our passage from Galatians today we find the Apostle Paul dismayed that His Galatian friends having been set free from the bondage of sin, were so willing to head into the bondage of another sort–the bondage of the law.
The main point of the passage is, don’t turn back from Christ and become the slaves to something else. Do you see what this means now for us? One thing, Satan does not care if you try to keep the ten commandments, provided that you take all the credit for keeping them. He does not mind if you come to church, or teach Sunday School, or preach, or whatever your moral agenda is, provided you rely on yourself and take credit for it yourself instead of humbly giving all glory to God. He wants us to forget about our heavenly relationship – we are children of the Father.
Paul says we have been set free from slavery and can now cry out, “Abba, Father”. It is astounding that God wants us to call Him “Father.” The implications are staggering. Having God as our Father means that He is living and personal. It means we can get to know Him. It means we can talk to Him and interact with Him. It means we can relate to Him on a personal and even an intimate basis.
“Father” is the most significant name of the God of the Bible. It is the name that sets Christianity apart from all the other religions of the world. Other religions invite us to worship their gods, but Christianity invites us to believe in a Son and to enter into an intimate family relationship with a loving Father. Jesus, the Son of God, came so that we could meet His Father, be adopted into the family of God, and relate to the almighty God of the universe in an intimate, personal, concrete way as sons and daughters (2 Cor. 6:16, 18).
Martin Luther wrote: “Abba” is only a little word, and yet contains everything. It is not the mouth but the heart’s affection which speaks like this. Even if I am oppressed with anguish and terror on every side, and seem to be forsaken and utterly cast away from your presence, yet am I Your child, and You are my Father. For Christ’s sake: I am loved because of the Beloved. So this little word, “Abba,” Father, deeply felt in the heart, surpasses all the eloquence of the most eloquent speakers that ever lived. This matter is not expressed with words, but with groanings, and these groanings cannot be uttered with any words of eloquence, for no tongue can express them.