Sonship is the core of the whole gospel

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
- Galatians 4:6

Sonship is the core of the whole gospel.

Christ has won a victory over the powers of evil. He has brought healing to our broken lives. He took our place on the cross and paid the penalty we deserved for our sins. All this is true.

But the only reason Christ was able to do all of this for us is because he was God the Son. And he did all of this for us so that we could be adopted into God’s family. And if we live only as if we’re freed prisoners or pardoned sinners, we’ll miss out on the good and joy-filled life God has for us as dearly loved children in his wild family.

God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts for a purpose. The Spirit doesn’t come to say: “You’re free; now, go do good.” The Spirit doesn’t come to announce: “You’re forgiven; now go live a worthy life.” The Spirit calls out, “Abba, Father.”

“Abba” is an Aramaic word for “father” or, more accurately, “my father” or “the father.” It’s a personal and intimate term, a family term. This is how Jesus taught his disciples to address God.

Paul used the term “Abba” in describing the call the Spirit makes from our hearts because Paul knew he needed to shock us. We can find comfort in the cold formality of religion. We can recite prayers and do penance, attend worship and tithe, set up chairs and show up for service projects. We can do all of that on our own, though not without struggle. But God has more for us.

God wants us to know him as Father, to call out to him in love and trust, to depend and rely on him. Tim Keller said that the only person who dares to wake the king in the middle of the night for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access.

God wants our Father-Child relationship with him to transform us and to bless our families. Rooted in your relationship with your heavenly Father who loves you, you can turn around and love even your zaniest family members. You can show compassion and grace. You can forgive.

In what ways can you show love, compassion, and grace to your family this Christmas? Where will that be difficult? Where will you need your good Father’s help and guidance?

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