"Slaves Vs. Sons" Page 3 of 4 (series: Lessons on Galatians)
by John Lowe
So what was God’s purpose for sending His Son? God had a twofold purpose:
1. To redeem those under the Law. They were children under the Law. You see, the Law never made anyone a son of God.
2. That they might receive the adoption of sons.
“Adoption” had a different meaning than it does under our contemporary society. We think of it occurring when a couple may not have children of their own. They go to a home where there are precious little children for adoption and they see a baby there. Their hearts go out to him and they adopt him through legal action. When the baby becomes theirs we call that adoption. However, the Roman custom in Paul’s day was to adopt one’s own son. That, you recall was what was done under the toga verlilsceremony. The Greek word translated here as “adoption” means “to place as a son.” A believer is placed in the family of God as a full-grown son, capable of understanding divine truth.
In 1 Corinthians 2.9, 10 we read, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” This simply means that the truth in the Word of God can only be interpreted by the Spirit of God, and until He interprets it, man cannot understand it. The Holy Spirit alone can interpret the Word of God for us. That is what makes the difference today in some men. A man can bring a brilliant mind to the Word of God. He can learn something about history, archeology, and language. He can become an expert in Hebrew and Greek, but still he may miss the meaning. Why? Because the Spirit of God is the teacher. Even Isaiah the prophet said that: “For since the beginning of the world MEN HAVE NOT HEARD, NOR PERCEIVED by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him” (Isa. 64.4). If you want to know about Christ, only the Spirit of God can reveal Him to you. Even a mature Christian who has been studying the Word for years is as helpless in studying the Bible as a newborn babe in Christ, because the Spirit of God will have to teach each of them.
My friend, if you are a new believer, the same Spirit of God who is teaching me can teach you. If you are God’s child, He has brought you into the position of a full-grown son; into the adoption. And, my friend, there is nothing quite as wonderful as that! That gave me confidence when I was a young believer and it has continued to this good day. My friend, the Spirit of God will lead you and guide you into all truth, if you want to know it, if you are willing for Him to be your teacher.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
“And because ye are sons” is a very strong statement. Romans 8.16 says it this way, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, THAT WE ARE THE CHILDREN the sons of God.” Paul also said, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. FOR AS MANY
AS ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD” (Rom. 8.11-14). If you are a child of God, you will want to be led by the Spirit of God. The flesh may get a victory in your life, but it will never make you happy. You will never be satisfied with it, because “. . . ye have not received the Spirit of God again to fear.” You don’t need to say, “I know I am not living as I should, and I wonder if I am really a child of God?” My friend, “ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD.” (Rom. 8.15, 16). This passage in Romans is a parallel passage to the one we are studying in Galatians, and I wanted you to know that and see all of it.
You have “the Spirit of His Son”—by faith you are one with the Son, so that what is His is yours. His Sonship ensures your sonship, and His Spirit ensures for you a share in what is His. “. . . if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8.9). Moreover, as the Spirit of God proceeds from God the Father, so the Spirit of the Son proceeds from God the Son; so that the Holy Ghost, as the creed says, “proceedeth from the Father and Son.” The Spirit is here regarded as the agent in praying, and the believer as His mouthpiece. In Romans 8.15, “the Spirit of adoption” is said to be the inspiration that causes us to cry Abba, Father;” but in Romans 8.26, “The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” The believer’s prayer is His prayer, which accounts for its acceptability with God. The gift of the Spirit of prayer is the result of our adoption.
Only under grace can we fully understand the meaning of “Our Father . . .” No saint in the Old Testament fully realized the relationship of God as a Father, because they were servants. Only after Pentecost was the meaning of true sonship realized. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, and He said, when ye pray say, “Our Father which art in heaven.” But the disciples never used it, not even once until AFTER PENTECOST. Paul used it for the first time in Romans 1.7 where he calls God “our Father.” The difference, therefore, between being under Law and under grace is the difference between a slave and a son. A slave cannot call his master, “father;” it is reserved for only children. But Paul uses another expression which was never used before Calvary. It is Abba, father. No one seems to know what the true meaning of “abba” really is. It is not Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek. It is not translated, I am told, because the translators of the King James Version had a great reverence for the Word of God. When they came to the word “abba” they didn’t dare to translate it into English because it was such an intimate word. It could be translated “my daddy.” God is my wonderful heavenly Father, but I cannot bring myself to call him “daddy.” There was a fine Christian man I knew years ago who would address God as “my daddy,” when he prayed, and the first time I heard say that, I was shocked. I am afraid that term does not express the reverence and awe I have for my heavenly Father. It seems to be a term of intimacy, of affection, and of endearment, indicating the closest possible relationship. It is used only three times in Scripture, once in Mark 14.36, where Jesus in His agony in Gethsemane cries out: “ABBA, FATHER, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”