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!" (ESV).
I do not know what it is like to be an orphan. It must be an exhilarating feeling for an orphan finally to be adopted by a family, to have a father, mother, and siblings.
In the wake of wars, natural disasters and famines there tend to be a lot of orphans. Some will never know the closeness of a family.
How interesting is the above verse, therefore, where the Holy Spirit is described as the "Spirit of adoption." What a relief it is to know that anyone can be spiritually adopted by God. What a profound and beautiful mystery it is that we can cry out to God as our father just as Jesus did.
Romans 8: 16-17 continues:
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.
There is a message of hope in these passages for those who might be starting out with very little hope. God bless the missionaries and aid workers who try to communicate this hope in difficult parts of the world.
These verses apply, of course, to all of us, even those of us with large supportive families. Even the best families, composed as they are of imperfect human beings, will experience stresses and strains, pressures and problems. God is there for us too, filling in the gaps, healing the pain, bridging the solitudes.
In The Message, Eugene Peterson paraphrases the above verses as follows:
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us-an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him! (P.319).
Peterson, Eugene H. The Message (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Navpress) 1993.
There are good times ahead. What better message to pass on to our friends and neighbours?
Peace and fellowship to all.