Halfway through the eighth chapter of Romans, Paul introduces a new element into his exposition of the Gospel of Grace. Earlier chapters dealt with the legal situation– our sentence of death for our sins, the complete satisfaction of God’s righteousness by the death of Jesus Christ, and the consequent removal of God’s condemnation from us. He also explained the destruction of the power of sin, and the introduction of the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to live lives pleasing to God.But now Paul introduces a new element into his teaching. “All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him ‘Abba–Father’. For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s Children.” Romans 8:15,16 NLT
If you are not familiar with the word ‘Abba’, a good equivalent word is ‘Daddy’. It is, first an foremost, a family word. Let it sink in for a moment. No longer are we hopeless convicted sinners, nor are we only pardoned sinners. Not only have we been set free from the dominion of sin over our everyday lives, but we have been given the Spirit of God to guide us into lives that are pleasing to God. And yet, above and beyond all this, we have been adopted into the family of God; we have been given the right to call Him ‘Daddy–Father’.
In a family, the children do not have to earn the love or the pleasure of their father. From the moment of birth, the moment the child enters the family, he is loved unconditionally by his parents. They take pleasure in their child, in every step of his development. Of course, as the child grows, as he loves and obeys his parents, their love and pleasure in him grows, too.
Just as a child has the love and pleasure of his parents before he does a single thing to please them, so God has bestowed His love and His pleasure on all who have been adopted into His Family. He is completely pleased with the work of salvation brought about by His Beloved Son, and consequently He is pleased with everyone who has been accepted by faith in Jesus Christ. And nothing pleases Him more than to see His adopted children growing in love and obedience by the Holy Spirit He has given us.