Gal 4:6-9 “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”
There is a popular doctrine in the world that basically says when we decide that we want to be a child (son) of God, then God will place the Spirit of Jesus in us and we will become His. Paul plainly sets forth here that the reason God sends forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts is because we are sons, not because we decide we want to be sons. Our familial relationship with God is the direct result of Jesus coming and redeeming us from the law (Gal 4:4-5). His sacrifice has made us the children of God: “not of him that willeth [by our determination – see Strong’s], or of him that runneth [by our effort], but of God that sheweth mercy (Rom 9:16).”
The evidence that we are His children is demonstrated in that the Spirit of Jesus that God has sent into our hearts enables us to call Him “Abba.” Abba, according to Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, is a term of endearment related to our usage of the word Daddy. I refer to my earthly father as daddy, not out of any disrespect, but rather out of the deep sense of connection I feel with him. God, our Father, our Abba, who spoke the world into existence, has opened the way for us to have this connection with Him through Jesus our Lord.
Seeing then that we now have the liberty to call Him Abba, we no longer occupy a servants place. Just as Abba had appointed a time for His only begotten Son to come into the world, He has appointed each of us a time when He is pleased to reveal His Son in us. We are no longer under tutors and governors. We can approach our Abba directly with every question, every need, every word of love, and every prayer of thanksgiving. We are heirs of our Abba through His anointed One.
There was a time when we knew not (did not see, were not aware of – see Strong’s) God. During that time, we served whatever seemed right to us. These things were not gods and could never be gods. There was no life, no power, and no spirit in them. Then it pleased God to make Himself known (made us aware, gave us perception). He shows His children who He is and what He has, is, and will do for us.
Paul is reminding the churches of Galatia (and us today) that this is who our Abba is, and this is what He has done and is doing in our lives. Then he asks how it is that we can turn away from our Abba and desire bondage. They were not returning to the same bondage of idol gods they had once been under. Instead, as Paul demonstrated earlier in this letter, they are being pulled away from the grace they were called in. They are tempted to yield to the pressure of men to observe rites and rituals that Abba does not require of them.
Those that have come to draw them away are cunning. Paul says the Galatians have been made to prefer (see Strong’s definition for “desire”) bondage again. He cautions them that there is no strength or honor in those things they are being drawn into. How is it with us today, brothers and sisters? Are we clinging with joy to our Abba? Have we allowed men to come in and draw us away into bondage after we have tasted the liberty in Christ?
If the doctrine that we are adhering to is not teaching us to love God and one another, then we are in bondage. If we have become so engaged in our social media platforms with their messages of gloom, despair, and lust that we are not dwelling on the glory of the kingdom of God here, then we are in bondage. If we have become “holier than thou” in our thinking, we are in bondage. Abba has not called us to be in bondage; Abba is truth, and the truth will set us free.
May we draw close to Abba, by His mercy, so that we may withstand any who would see us in bondage again!