1 Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world. 4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
In this passage, Paul wants his readers to know that we are at a new place in salvation history, so he uses an analogy.
A son of a wealthy Roman family was no different from the household servant until he came of age, even though he was the heir of the family. When the time appointed by his father arrived, he was free and empowered to manage the resources of the family put at his disposal. In like manner, until Jesus arrives, the people of God are under the guardianship of the law, and even Gentiles were enslaved to their own pagan practices.
In the fullness of time, however, God sent forth His Son to redeem those under the Law so that we might receive full rights as His adopted children and receive our freedom in Christ to be led by His Spirit. And because you are sons (or daughters), “God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba, Father.’”
Did you happen to notice that every member of the Trinity is presented in this verse (4:6)? God the Father sends forth the Spirit of His Son (Jesus) into our hearts, crying “Abba, Father.”
The word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, but early on, Christians were trying to find language to convey what was clearly taught in the New Testament. The Father is God. Jesus is presented as Divine. So is the Holy Spirit. And yet the Father is separate from the Son, and both are different from the Holy Spirit. Yet, God is One. This mystery is profound and difficult to grasp, yet it is true! God is one essence in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The amazing thing we learn in today’s passage is that the entire Trinity is at work in our lives to assist us in our spiritual formation. If you are a Christ-follower, then the Father has sent the Holy Spirit in your life who mediates the presence and power of Christ to you. God indwells you by His Spirit! What greater resource could you have at your disposal? Also, notice what the Holy Spirit cries out inside of you: “Abba, Father.” Abba is the word a Jewish son would call his father, a term of both intimacy and respect.
Today, as you go about your day, what difference does it make to you that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all at work in your life to accomplish what God wants to do in you and through you? What difference does it make that the Spirit cries out “Abba, Father” in your heart?
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says: “Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” The Holy Spirit indwells your body; therefore you are a temple for God’s Spirit called to glorify God. How should this truth impact you?
- In the Prodigal Son story, the older brother tells his father that he has “been slaving many years for you” (Luke 15:29). He saw himself as a slave rather than enjoying rich fellowship with his father (see Luke 15:30). Today’s passage tells us that God’s Spirit cries “Abba, Father” in our hearts. Do you see and experience God as your “Abba”? Are you living as a beloved son or daughter of God, or do you see yourself as slaving for Him?
- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are at work in your life to accomplish God’s purposes in you and through you! If the entire Godhead is for you, who can be against you? Given this tremendous resource, how may God use you today and this upcoming week?