Abba, Father!

—the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

— Romans 8:15

Until our outward condition is that of sons royal, sons divine; so long as we groan under sickness and weakness and weariness, old age, and all heavy things; so long we have not yet received the sonship in full—we are but getting ready one day to creep from our chrysalis, and spread the great heaven-storming wings of the psyches of God. We groan, waiting for the redemption of the body, the uplifting of the body to be a fit house and revelation of the indwelling spirit—nay, like that of Christ, a fit temple and revelation of the deeper indwelling God. Hence the revealing of the sons of God, spoken of in Romans 8:19, is the same thing as the redemption of the body; the body is redeemed when it is made fit for the sons of God; then it is a revelation of them—the thing it was meant for. When we are the sons of God in heart and soul, then shall we be the sons of God in body, too: “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

The redeemed body will show the same self as before, but it will show the being truly—without the defects and imperfections of the former bodily revelation. Even through their corporeal presence shall we then know our own infinitely better, and find in them endlessly more delight, than before. Until the redemption of the body arrives, the true sonship is not wrought out, is only upon the way. Nor can it come but by our working out the salvation he is working in us.

Commentary

Adoption and the Sons of Abba

by Dave Roney

There are two accomplished things, one lying within the other, neither as yet fully realized by us; the first of these is the comprehensive Victory wrought by Christ over all things whatsoever; the second has to do with the full ascendancy of the creature transformed not in part but the whole into the glorious image of Christ; it is the full Sonship of the child grown up, accorded all the rights of familial adulthood, which is the meaning of “adoption.”  The first thing must appear before the second is possible; “Until our outward condition is that of sons royal, sons divine; so long as we groan under sickness and weakness and weariness, old age,and all the heavy things; so long we have not yet received the sonship in full.”  It is for this adulthood of the children of the Father, the Adoption, that the entire created cosmic realm has long awaited with groanings inutterable; for it is by that present made yet future coming Adoption that the bondage of sin, of failings and misfortunes of misery and death, of pathos and pain, shall pass away as must the mist gathered in darkness flee before the risen sun.

The Son of Man, come as the Babe, made war against sin and death and wrought the Victory; He did not do it of an instant but only through trial, ordeal, by the increasing of earthly years, was about thirty of those years in age before He was prepared for the ministry of Reconciliation.  We, likewise, have been called by God as those “but getting ready one day to creep from our chrysallis, and spread the great heaven-storming wings.”  What means to us “Now is the day of our salvation” except it is the time for us to struggle within earthen chrysalides, the breaking out a little at a time, with each Spirit led volley against the walls encapsulating Self, producing fissures through which floods more and more of the Divine light-streams from Heaven's portals?  Is our Captain to be the only one bearing a cross?  He did it for our redemption; we must do it for our sanctification; He bore His cross for all men everywhere, and so also must we bear ours, the demonstration of light and salt in a broken world; even as He died for sins we must die to sin, and as we crucify our own flesh and its desires we are breaking free from the bondage, growing as children ever more toward our adulthood in Christ and the Adoption yet future.  This present age and our life in it is our ordeal of earthly years wherein we mature from small children to adult children qualified for our future entry into the reign and rule of sons.  Even now we are putting away the things of childhood and assuming those of adults; it is our preparation for Adoption.  Can you detect the relationship between Christ being prepared during His life to become our Ransom and we, in our lives, being prepared for our Adoption?  The same obedience, the same desire toward God, the same trials and temptations, the same death and resurrection life is common to both.

In the meantime, while abiding here in this life, “We groan, waiting for the redemption of the body, the uplifting of the body to be a fit house andrevelation of the indwelling Spirit—Nay, like that of Christ!”  He had created the earth, will not destroy the old one but will make the old thing entirely new lest He suffer the loss of even an atom of what He has made; He will do it with all contained in His creation; He will do it with men, will transform them entirely, throughout, from fleshly seam to spirit heart, the entire fabric of worlds, beasts, sand and stars, of flora and fauna, with thoughts and desires, with all things comprehensively and so also, then, with His crown jewel, Man: His Reconciliation will be unbounded.  “Behold!” He declares concerning the Renovation; “I am making all things new.”  He is doing it now, will continue the work to its glorious and eternal conclusion.  He will bring to Himself His Church “without spot or blemish;” do you suppose He will not make a new creation of all other things? Or that He would content Himself to set that great diamond in a rusty ring?  That He would make a mansion and have the herder's swine residing outside?  That He would leave any of the former things, those which are corrupted and passing away, to remain in His universe?  We who have been made alive in Him are the firstfruits of the coming Season; in our train all things will be made new, and must be; for how else should the world be fit for such as we who shall be clothed in righteousness and glory?  The Adoption of the sons and daughters will usher in the fullness of God from Whom, and through Whom, and to Whom are all things in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.

Does the reader see, are you able to grasp a little of the magnitude of what I am saying, of that glory which even now lies before us, at the doorstep?  “When we are the sons of God in heart and soul, then shall we be the sons of God in body, too; 'We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is'.”  And we shall see all which He has made as it then, as yet now future to us and by our perspective, “is” as well; for from the humblest to the highest among the works of His hands shall be this: The whole of it and not the part will perfectly reflect Him in all its substance.  There will be no more defect anywhere in the creation of God then which will worry our glorified bodies as now, with the present mortality and corruption; as we, “after our kind,” when “this mortal shall have put on immortality and this corruptible shall have put on incorruption” it is then, then! will we be like Him, so also everything He ever created will, after its own dimension, likewise be like, which is to say, fully reflect, the Maker of it.  We are even now “partakers of the Divine nature,” and the now brute Nature will likewise, according to the limitations of it, come to reflect that Divine nature throughout.   In the meanwhile, we have much work to do: “Until the redemption of the body arrives, the true sonship is not wrought out, is only upon the way.  Nor can it come but by our working out the salvation He is working in us.”

Says St. John; “No man has seen God at any time,” which is not the same as to say “No man will ever at any time see God.”  Do you not, even now, long to sit in your Papa's lap? and feel His great heart beating next to your small one? —look up into the Face of Love, the Eyes of Compassion, and pull His whiskers? —have Him enfold you in His great arms and whisper to your ear “I love you, My child; more than I could ever tell you, more than you could ever know?”  The tiny ant has eyes but are so weak that it cannot see the man standing in front of it; the man is there to be seen, but in its present condition we would say of the ant “No ant has seen a man at any time.”  Does Jesus see His Father?  If He could not, then what need would He have for eyes?  And if Him, how much more so we?  And we, when the final glorification has taken place, when we are become like Him, when our great Adoption has been celebrated, when our childhood has blossomed into the fullness of Christ as Adult Children, what need would we have for our eyes if the God of Love was invisible to us?  When we “shall see Him as He is,” the great Ceremony shall have taken place; we shall not only see Him as He is, but will see all things as He sees them.  And He is eternally seeing the Father first before all things, as shall we.

In the forgoing I have mentioned our Adoption and related what it means to each of us, what it means for the entire universe, and what it means to our Abba.  I have done it quite poorly.  I would encourage every reader to take the true concept of Adoption, which is far from the miserable interpretation given by some noted theologians, and mix with the small facts we can garner out of Scripture as liberal a portion of upward looking imagination as one can muster.  And know that even if the imagination does not reflect the actual glory ahead, it will in the least be moving us in the right heart-direction.  Knowing also that whatever is our grandest, highest, and most beautiful thoughts concerning it, these all fall entirely short of the glory to be revealed in us.  We have not yet this grand Adoption but only the spirit of Adoption— yet this spirit, that of hope, of uprushing hearts, is sufficient even now to compel us by Love poured out to cry with all our expectant hearts and all within us “ Abba, Father!”