15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
- Security: We are not to fear but enjoy our status as a child of the King (15a). A child-parent relationship is not characterized by fear of losing the relationship.
- Authority: Status of “sonship” not “slave” (15a). Slaves have no authority. They only do what they are told. Children are not mere servants and have authority. The children of God are given authority over sin and the devil. They are move about the world knowing that it belongs to the Father. There should be a confidence about them. They have the honor of the family name.
- Intimacy: “By him we cry, ‘Abba'” (15b). “Abba” is an Aramaic term best translated “daddy.” A child doesn’t often address their father as “father.” More often they use a term that shows loving, trusting familiarity. This is how we Christians can approach the all-powerful Creator of the universe.
- Assurance: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (16). When we cry out to God as “Abba,” the Spirit of God somehow comes alongside us (“with our spirit”) and gives us assurance that we truly are in God’s family.
- Inheritance:”Now if we are children then we are heirs” (17). This means we have an incredible future. Normally the first born would get a much larger share but he calls all Christian “heirs of God.” Paul is saying that what is in store for us so is grand and glorious that it will be as though we each had along gotten most of the glory of God.
- Discipline: “…If indeed we share in his sufferings.” When parents discipline a child they allow or introduce a milder form of pain in order to teach or mature the child away from behavior that will lead to far greater pain later. Hebrews 12:9-10 explains.
- Family likeness: Christians will suffer precisely because they are brothers and sisters of Christ. We get to be like Him! Though we are adopted, God actually implants Christ’s nature in us. As children of God, we actually come to resemble the Son of God. As we bear the family likeness of suffering, we become more and more like the Son and our Father in our character and attitudes.