Do you remember when we honored father and mother instead of all the major credit cards?
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ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have
received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father.”
In this verse of scripture a contrast is being made between the spirit that dominated God’s people under the Law of Moses and the spirit that dominates His people in New Testament Churches. We do not have the spirit of fear which caused them to cry out “Lord, God,” but we have the spirit of adoption which causes us to cry “our Father.”
The key word for consideration here is “adoption.” In the modern day usage of the term it is used to convey the idea of receiving one outside the family bloodline and genetic pool, and making that person to become one of the family through legal action. This is not what is meant by the Bible term, although there are those who try desperately to make it so.
In the Bible there are degrees of son-ship designated by specific terms. “Teknon” is a Greek term translated in the Bible as a born child. “Pais” or “Padion” is the Greek work translated a small son, one under tutorship. “Huios” is the Greek term for a fully mature son who is able to act appropriately in the stead of, and in the name of, his father. It is this latter term, “Huios” that is consistently used of seasoned disciples in the New Testament Church. This is what every child of God in this age can and should become. This is what is meant in Romans 8:15 by the term “adoption.” In the original language this is a composite of two other terms. It is “huiothesia” a combination of “huios” mature son, and “thesia” to set or place; hence, the forceful meaning of the word is “to set in the position of mature sons.”
So, Paul encouraged the Romans and all of us with this enlightenment. We do not have the same position with God in the New Testament Church as the Israelites had under the Law. They had a continuous spirit of fear, but we have a continuous spirit and understanding of being mature sons who lovingly regard God as “our Father,” and do his bidding willingly and with gladness of heart.
Oh, what a joy it is to live in this position. God has given His Son for us. His Son has given His life for us. The Holy Spirit has empowered us and lives with us to continuously teach and guide us into the ways of all truth. We serve Him not out of a fear of being stoned if we do not, but because we love Him and are truly thankful for what He has done for us.
It is appropriate then that we should make the most of our prized position as mature sons. The more we know the more we can believe. The more we believe, the greater our faith. The greater our faith, the greater our hope. And in the end, the greater will be our blessed opportunity to rule and to reign with Him in the age that is about to happen. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be call the sons of God.
Preach the whole Bible.
The Bible is not full of holes.
When it comes to Salvation in Christ
The Father thought it! The Holy Ghost brought it and the Son bought it! While I was taught it and while I sought it the devil fought it but by the grace of God I caught it!! To the Lord my God be the glory for saving me after I heard the Old Gospel Story!!! (Junior Parker)
Anything that distracts us from vital prayer
in our lives is a treacherous thing. It steals
from us the blessings the Father longs to bestow,
and it takes from the Father
the glory he so richly deserves.
William A. Dillard
Parson to Person
Some questions are so important that one must know the answers. One question to which I refer is resounded in Holy Writ, but it is also penned quite pointedly in the lyrics of a classic hymn. “What will you do with Jesus, neutral you cannot be. One day your heart will be asking, ‘what will He do with me.’” Could there be a more relevant and pressing question on a greater number of people than this? Jesus plainly declared that those who deny Him, He will deny before the Father. Matt. 10:33.
Jesus needs to be in the forefront of life. Think about this incident. “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: “The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.” John 12:20-21. It occurs to this writer that the wholesale rejection of organized religion by the majority of our nation’s population is partly due to the obscurity of Jesus. Please consider:
* Great edifices with stained glass windows and air conditioned environment are pointed to with pride, but where is Jesus?
* Social programs designed to busy one abound, but where is Jesus?
* The determination to present a non-offensive religion a lost society may keep the pews warm and the coffers full, but where is Jesus?
* Pulpits may be ablaze with educated homilies, but where is Jesus?
Strong witnessing and preaching about Jesus is needed! Men must know they are lost without Him, and that His sweet grace is freely offered to them for the trusting.
Consider the contrast of long ago with today’s society. Zacchaeus was so excited about the possibility of seeing Jesus that he climbed a tree to do it. Believers were so excited over the prospect of bringing a palsied man to Jesus that they cut a large hole in the roof of the house where He was. Multitudes followed Jesus to hear Him, and to witness His works without regard for food or lodging.
Today, people are so complacent about Jesus they are more likely to go fishing or to visit relatives than to meet with Him for worship. They will avoid any discussion of the need of salvation among their fellows for fear of being considered a radical. Often church meetings are esteemed so unimportant that members will look for excuses to be absent. Is the power of God diminished, or have we faked people into the church who are incapable of spiritual appreciation and excitement?
These things may be easily dismissed by nominal, worldly-minded “Christians,” but judgment flies toward earth on swift wings. Dear friends, “What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be! One day your heart will be asking: ‘What will He do with me?’” Will you be happy with reciprocation?
William Andrew Dillard
WAS PETER A POPE?
Much usage of the term “Pope” has been employed of late in international news. It is an interesting word that many attribute spiritually to one man, and credit him as father (pope. papa) to the church: the successor to the apostle Peter, they say. Around Easter, the subject appears more frequently. Never mind that Peter was never a pope or a papa to any church, or that he was a married man with a stated mother-in-law. Think about it!
“Father” comes from the Greek word “pater” meaning “father”. From this word, we get the extended adjective “paternal,” etc. Several languages have a similar form of “pater” to indicate that basic idea. The specific term “Pope” is often listed as Pope (from Latin: papa; from Greek: πάππας pappas, a child’s word for father. Of all the many ways these terms may be used, the basic idea of them all is that of origin, progenitor, and creator. We correctly recognize our male parent as “father” and although the idea of caregiver, provider, protector, and instructor may be associated with that person in one’s mind, the basic idea remains progenitor even in the synonyms of “Dad” or “Pop.” These terms certainly are most appropriate in designating our earthly relationships, but in the dimension of the spiritual world greater, more respectful, and worshipful restrictions apply.
Spiritually, the term “Father” became especially endearing to New Testament disciples of Jesus through Whom we came to know our Creator, not so much as “Lord God” but as “Our Father:” a much more loving, mature, and endearing term of close-knit, day to day relationship, as we live within the scope of His holy will. Jesus clearly and commandingly said, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Matt. 23:9. Jesus also forbade ecclesiastical hierarchy in His church; Matthew 20:20-29. Moreover, those who minister spiritual things in the church are not to be considered priests any more than other members of the church because the entire church is a royal priesthood. I Peter 2:5. Neither is there any man on earth who may take ascendancy over others in regard to approaching God or finding acceptability or blessings from God. There is one mediator between God and man and it is that man Christ Jesus, I Tim. 2:5.
So, what does this writer think about all the hoopla? Well, it is just that,“ Hoopla.” But, it is more profitable to point out truth and errors than to negatively criticize. There is one Judge of us all. No one will escape an appointment before Him, and He will not deviate from His Holy Word. The personal responsibility to know, and to do righteously is too immense to entertain such foolishness for very long. So, is that fried chicken I smell coming from the kitchen? Maybe there is a biscuit and a little gravy there, too!
William Andrew Dillard
THINKING THANKSGIVING DAY
In the context of many Bible verses, those who know and worship God are admonished to be thankful. In a world of sinners in which Satan is god, and humanism is the religion of choice among the disobedient and wayward, evidence of thankfulness can be scarce.
Let the Words of the Psalmist take center stage: “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:3-5
Thanksgiving Day in America is set aside by presidential proclamation. It is a federal holiday that most likely will be filled with reveling more than in giving of thanks. That is sad, indeed. America is blessed above all nations on earth, and its people should be the most thankful in spite of huge problems that plague its systems in many ways. However, it is not hard to note the abundance of goodness heaped on the country by the Almighty.
Even the Grinch and the neer-do-well folks have reason to be thankful to God. If for nothing else, the gift of reason alone. Properly understood, this simple fact should drive thankfulness to the top of every person’s heart. When one is thankful, he acknowledges that it is He who has made us and not we ourselves. Thankfulness values human life, not just our own but that of others, and of the unborn, too. Thankfulness worships the Creator in the realization that every good and perfect gift comes to us from the Father of Lights with Whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning, James 1:17.
To thankful hearts, the focus on Thanksgiving Day is a special blessing. It is not a ritual to indulge in once a year, but a way of life! The emphasis underscores how far, and in what ways, we may have fallen from it, and that is priceless. Thankfulness, like faith, comes through the knowledge and acceptance of the teachings of God’s Word. So it is no surprise discover thankful people being well versed in it.
Arguably, there may have never been a time when the need to experience true thankfulness was greater. May we all stop, reflect, and increase in this special quality of life.
William Andrew Dillard
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF “ABBA”
In contrasting Old Testament and New Testament covenantal life, notice how Paul details it quite clearly in Romans Chapter Eight. The possibility of saved people walking after the flesh is real and warned against in strong terms. The warning begins in Verse One which restricts the “no condemnation” status to a spiritually correct walk. The possibility of that occurring is underscored in Verse Fifteen, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” What is the significance of “Abba?” Think with me for a moment!
“Abba” is a Hebrew term which translates as “Father” in English as indicated in the text. This is a new term for first century church members who were largely Jewish. They formerly called upon the Creator as “Lord God” and that always in fear as they learned their sinfulness in contrast to the total righteousness of God. They had a long history of learning the severity of the Law, and the punishment associated with breaking it. So, the term “Abba” or “Father” is new and peculiar to the New Covenant.
The spirit of the Old Covenant was one of bondage. The Spirit of the New Covenant is one of loving endearment, and an understanding of the Lord God of the Old Testament now as “Our Father.”
This reality is directly attributable to the Spirit of adoption so noted in the text. But to the English reader, “adoption” is a legal term which denotes admitting one to a family as a legal heir who is not such by birth. This is NOT what is meant by the text. The term “adoption” here is a translation of the Greek word “Huiothesia” which mean to place in the position of a mature son. That position of maturity in spiritual matters is intricately linked to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the pillar and ground of the truth, even the same body on which the Holy Spirit came to take up tutorial residence on Pentecost, Acts 2. Therefore, the term is not a term of relationship, but a term of position.
How blessed are modern, dedicated, members of New Testament Churches! Here, they are led to spiritual maturity by which they are enabled to make correct decisions and judgments as the bride of Christ in the absence of the bridegroom. We do not cower before Him as the stern Lord God, but humbly bow before our loving Heavenly “Abba!”