For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:14–17)
It is not lost on me that these devotionals may be more depressing than other devotionals you’ve read.
But it is Lent. And Easter is coming!
Nevertheless, maybe some words of hope and encouragement from the apostle Paul would do us well today.
Paul reminds the church in Rome that anyone who trusts in Jesus as Lord and is led by the Spirit has the privilege to call God Father. The term that Paul uses here – “Abba! Father!” – is a term of affection or endearment. When my daughter is upset with me, or if she perceives that I am upset with her, she calls me Dad. But when she wants to demonstrate her affection toward me she calls me Poppi.
Paul says we are no longer slaves, but children of the King. God is our Father! God is Poppi! What an amazing reality! And because we are his children, we are heirs to all that is his; we are fellow heirs with Christ.
But here it is – the shadow of the cross! We are fellow heirs with Jesus provided that we suffer with him. The purpose of our journey under the shadow of the cross is not self-abasement or self-abuse; the purpose is to remember Christ’s suffering, to participate in it, and to be reminded that we are to sacrifice ourselves for others so that one day we will share in his glory.
Our journey under the shadow of the cross is ultimately one from shadows to glory!
Heavenly Father, we praise you for the privilege to call you “Abba, Father!” Thank you for taking us from slavery to heirs, from death to life, and ultimately from shadows to glory! In the name of our fellow heir, Jesus Christ, amen.