Grasping God as Our Father

In this teaching we are going to look at the Biblical accounts of the term “Abba, Father” – taking time to enjoy God as our Father in Heaven.


In Mark we read of Jesus praying, “‘Abba, Father’ ‘…everything is possible for you. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” (Mark 14:36) The writer of the Book of Galatians tells us, Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” – (Galatians 4:6) The Book of Romans, “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)

This Father’s Day let us grasp the privilege of being given the right to call the God of heaven, “Abba Father.” (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers (Eds.). (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) The passages we have just read. 1.) Show Jesus’ dependence on His Father, thus teaching us of the necessity of being totally dependent on God’s will in our lives. 2.) Our privilege and enablement to cry out to God, Abba Father is a revelation of the Holy Spirit of Christ. 3.) Our privilege of calling God, Abba Father is through the Spirit of adoption, becoming an heir of God and co-heir with Christ.

The Word Abba

The term Abba is a Chaldee word expressing warm affection with an assured confidence. (Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely) Abba is the Aramaic word for Father, spoken along with the Greek term Father (πατήρ patḗr) expresses Jesus’ dependence on God, His Father as He faced the suffering of the crucifixion. (Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version (Mk 14:36). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.)

Abba, Father used in any of the Biblical text is used in reference to a solemn responsible, adult address to a Father who is in heaven reflecting intimacy and affection. (Hardin, L. T. (2016). Prayer. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.)

When a child is afflicted, suffering the consequences of bad choices and is in the need of provision they cannot provide, he or she cries out to their father with a confidence, in a solemn responsible adult address fully dependent, knowing and trusting that their father will be there. Pennie and I are in agreement, it is our hope and prayer, our children know they can come home, whenever they are in need, no matter what circumstances they may find themselves in.

Understanding God as Abba Father opens our hearts to trust in God, no matter what circumstance our sinful nature has put us in, no matter what worldly view has led us to live by and no matter what lie of the devil we have believed. God wants us to know – we can come to Him.

Jesus use of the term Abba Father affirms His intimate relationship with His Father. (Moo, D. J. (1994). Romans. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st ce)

Thus, Jesus acknowledging, “…all things are possible for you…” along with the plea for His mercy, “…Remove this cup from Me…” Jesus is about the feel the pain of all the sins of the world, He is about to give up His life for the sins of all mankind. He trusted in His Father’s mercy and grace. Yet, He submits to His Father’s will, “Yet not what I will, but what you will.” It must be understood, the Scriptures teach us His Father gave Him victory over sin and death, Jesus rose from the grave to be seated at the right of His Father and intercedes for you and I. (Mark 16:9; Romans 8:34)

Holy Spirit Cries, Abba Father

The writer of the Book of Galatians tells us, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Galatians 4:6) Just as God sent His Son into the world, so He sends the Holy Spirit of His Son into the spiritual heart of people who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord. (George, T. (1994). Galatians (Vol. 30, p. 306). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

According to the whole council of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit of Christ is sent by both God and Jesus. (John 15:26) Jesus said the Holy Spirit will guide His disciples in “…all truth.” (John 16:13) The writer of the Book of Romans tells us, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” (Romans 8:9-11)

The Holy Spirit, whom led and empowered Jesus in His human life, is the Person of influence in the life-principles of the child of God. (Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 4, p. 137). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.)

There is a life principle which should intrigue us Galatians 4:6, a truth being a revelation more than an enablement. In Romans 8, we read of the Holy Spirit moving and enabling us to cry out, “Abba Father.” In Galatians, could it be it as it says, “God sent His Spirit [of Christ] into our hearts Who calls out, Abba Father.”

In Matthew 16 we read of Jesus asking His disciples, “But who do you say that I am? Peter’s revelation was, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Grasps what Jesus said, “Blessed are you… for this is not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-17) Touching God’s heart first comes with receiving revelation of who He and His Son is, then praise and public acclamation. This Father’s Day, why not invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate into our spiritual hearts the truth, God is Abba Father.

Abba Father Trough Adoption

The writer of the Book of Romans tells Christians they, “…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.”

In Roman law, through adoption all previous relationships are severed. The new father exercises authority over the new son, and the new son enters into the privileges and responsibilities of the natural son. (Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, p. 182). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

The child of God’s relationship with his old nature should be done away with. The influence of his past which held him in slavery to his sinful nature, the world view and the lies of the devil now served.

Being an heir to Kingdom authority has its privileges and there are responsibilities in his life in Christ. The privileges of being an heir of God and co-heir with Christ are: Being a child of God (John 1:12); having access to God (Romans 5:2); being the temple of the Holy Spirit of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19); being a vital part of the Body of Christ exercising Spiritual gifts for the church and all mankind (1 Corinthians 12:13); blessed with all spiritual blessings consisting of protection, provision and guidance (Ephesians 1:13); along with having a permanent place in heaven. (1 Peter 1:3-4; Evans, W., & Coder, S. M. (1974). (The great doctrines of the Bible (Enl. ed., p. 317). Chicago: Moody Press.

The responsibility of being an heir of God and co-heir with Christ are: The privilege of sharing Jesus’ life brings the responsibility of producing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Colossians 1:10) God calling us sons gives us the privilege of knowing His will brings the responsibility of obeying His Word. (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 354). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.) The privilege of having Holy Spirit gifts brings the responsibility of exercising those gifts through sacrificial love. The privilege of teaching the Word of God brings the responsibility of studying to show oneself approved to God.

Jesus gives an evaluation to check our hearts with: “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I am from God…” (John 8:42) In His giving the promise of the Holy Spirit, Who reveals to us and enables us to cry Abba Father, Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) When the Lord was asked, “…how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” (John 14:22) “Jesus answered…, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’” (John 14:23-24)