This is the third in a series of posts I have been doing throughout the week (leading up to Father’s Day) in which I reflect on the various descriptions of God as “Father” in the Bible. Here I look at God as “Abba.”
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:14-17, NRSV; cf. Gal. 4:5-6)
I’m sure that we’re all aware by now that it’s incorrect to view “Abba” as an Aramaic way to say “daddy” but it is an expression of intimacy. Once we’ve received the spirit of adoption and become children of God, then we’ve entered into an intimate relationship that that was unbeknownst to us before. In a sense, we can consider the adoptive relationship between parent and child to be a closer bond than the natural relationship between parent and child, because no adoption happens accidentally. Adoption shows forth the will and intentions of those adopting, and that will and intention is to welcome someone into their family for the sheer joy and pleasure of loving another person. Our “Abba” has no alterior motives or hidden agendas. His desire is to express his love for the world by enlarging his family.