When we consider the character of God, we reach the limits of our imagination. Today, we consider what it means to know God as “Abba, Father.” You and I, as believers, have direct access to the eternal Father who secures our salvation!
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Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you have joined us for this study titled “Children of an Awesome God,” taken from the eighth chapter of the book of Romans. And I want to let you know that I am so excited to share with you the blessings that God has given to us. No matter what you’re going through, I believe that you are going to be greatly encouraged. Because indeed, you’ve heard me say it before, we are going to reach the limits of our imagination.
Paul says in Romans chapter eight verse 14 that we are led of the Spirit. And this doesn’t mean simply that the Spirit leads us in various decisions that we make. It means that the Holy Spirit of God helps us to understand these deep, incredible truths. Today’s topic has to do with adoption; that we are adopted into God’s family—sonship. And of course, when we talk about sonship, we include daughters in that. Sons of God, and daughters of God. And the entire Trinity is involved.
If you have a Bible that’s close by, you can open it at this point; and if not, just listen carefully—but be sure to read this passage of Scripture later. It says that the Spirit of God guides us. And then it says, “We have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by which we cry ‘Abba Father.’” Let me show you how the Trinity is involved. First of all, the Father welcomes us. We can call him “Abba Father.” It’s a term of endearment. It might not mean Papa, which I think is far too informal. Perhaps we can best translate it as “dearest father.” Imagine that—the Father welcoming us.
Some of us are old enough to remember when Kennedy was president, and perhaps you’ve seen that picture. And if you haven’t, it would be good for you to Google it. I’m sure that it’s available. When little John-john, his son—and that’s what he was called when he was very young, perhaps two years old—was seen under the desk of the president in the Oval Office. How did that little boy get there? Aren’t there Secret Service protecting the door at the Oval Office—and of course, of the White House in general? Of course. He got there because he was the president’s son.
My friend today, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you and I have access to the Father—direct access to the Father. The Father welcomes us. And we have all the rights and privileges of sonship, which we will explain. And of course we’ll continue this explanation also next time.
But notice that the Spirit of God grants to us assurance. The next verse says that the Spirit of God within us assures us that we are children of God. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.
Let me ask you something. Do other religions have assurance of salvation? One day I was in a cab here in Chicago, and the driver was a Muslim. And I said, “Are you sure that when you die you’ll be in paradise?” He said, “Oh, yes, I’m sure.” I kept asking him questions and finally, he said, “Of course, I’m not sure. Nobody can know.” And then he talked about salvation by works, but nobody knows whether or not they have done enough. Now follow carefully. He believes deeply that he has the right religion. Many Muslims, as we know, would die for their religion, but they do not have personal assurance. Because the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit, this is a special gift given to believers.
Perhaps you’ve heard me use the illustration of my mother. When she was about a hundred years old, I was talking to her—talking to her on the phone. And I said “Mother, are you sure that when you die, you’re going to go to heaven?” And she said, “I’m just as sure as if I’m already there.” Now she died at a hundred and three. But my question is, where did this assurance come from? She was a young woman who was in great distress over in Europe, very limited education, though my parents learn to read both German and English. But it’s not because she read books on apologetics, however important that may be. As a matter of fact, I don’t think she read any of the books written by her son.
Where did that assurance come from? After years of walking with God, the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. And if you don’t have that witness, it may well be that you are not a believer. Individual assurance. The gift of the Spirit. Now that’s all we can do for today. I hope that you join us next time when I talk about what the Son of God does for us. The Father welcomes us; the Spirit assures us; and believe it or not, the Son crowns us. That’s next time.
Thanks so much for joining us today and again, please join us next time. But as for today, just go with God.