Abba, Father

Read: Romans 8:14-17

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (v. 16)

At a recent Bible study, a member of my church said, “Every day I pray that, when the time comes, God considers me good enough to welcome me as his own.” I responded that it is natural to feel insecure in our standing before God. If God accepted me on the basis of my goodness, I could never be good enough.

Thankfully, our standing before God rests not on our moral effort or best intentions, but on divine intervention. The gospel—the “good news”—of the Christian faith is that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8). But this gospel can easily become an abstract idea that lives in our heads without changing our hearts.

Paul addresses this by adding that the Holy Spirit does far more than tell us we are saved. The Spirit convinces us that we are beloved. Under the Holy Spirit’s influence, we experience God as our father. In fact, according to Paul, the Holy Spirit prompts us to address God as “Abba” (v. 15). This Aramaic word can be translated “Da-Da”: a toddler’s very first term of endearment for a trusted father. The Holy Spirit makes us newborn children of God whose first instinct is to reach up for our Father and expect his loving embrace in return. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, imagine yourself as a child swept into the arms of your heavenly Father.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.