“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!’” Romans 8.14-15
As someone who’s never experienced the love of a father, the cry of the Spirit of adoption sounds like a voice in a foreign tongue. Fear, not love, is my native language.
It’s hard for me to believe in God’s love or accept his grace. I try to earn it. And when I can no longer fool myself that I am a good enough person, I hide. When I do seek forgiveness, I try to find ways to repay the debt. When that fails, I cower in fear of condemnation.
Fear, not love, also characterizes my relationships with people, especially Christians. Seeing them as God’s representatives, their rejection feels like his rejection; their judgment feels like my condemnation. That is the spirit of slavery.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4.4-5
The Scripture reminds me that God’s people are not God. They are people just like me whom God has purchased out of a slavery just like mine. They, too, are adopted children still learning to accept their new Father’s grace and to speak this new language of love.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8.1
The Spirit of adoption frees me from condemnation, frees me from the slavery of fear. Free from fear, I find myself running to God with my sin instead of away from him. Confident in my new Father’s love, secure in his acceptance, I’m free to love others from a pure heart, without fear of rejection. Our freedom from slavery is freedom to love.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5.1
This article was originally published here.