Words of Life ~ ABBA and ALPHA

 In this post I am including the word ABBA. It was not in the first list, but appropriate to post here with the word ALPHA. It will be the first word in the revised list. And of interest in this combination is that the meaning of ABBA is Father. A father carries the seed of life. Such was our Father in heaven who created life. He was the first ~ ALPHA ~ the first of all beings and all things. I appreciate that I am able to post this on the first day of the week.

An interesting note from searching the word ABBA is that it is found in the Old Testament sandwiched in the word Sabbath. Let us turn that over in our minds and hearts as we continue our search for the Words of Life.

ABBA G5 
Strong’s defines abba äb-bä  Aramaic for “father”
“father, customary title used of God in prayer. Whenever it occurs in the New Testament it has the Greek interpretation joined to it, that is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee “ABBA” through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name, to which the Greek speaking Jews added the name from their own tongue.” This does not indicate that ABBA would be a casual name for Father, as some have thought it to be the word for Daddy which is an informal name. We don’t have to bring Him down to our level to reach Him. He has already condescended to us through His Son and made us His children. Jesus instructs us in the Lord’s Prayer to call Him Father. Abba seems to be an expression used with the name Father with the concept of crying out to Him in special times of need.

ABBA, as Father, is only found in the New Testament, first recorded from Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Mark 14:36

The apostle Paul associated the word ABBA with the working of the Holy Spirit in our new birth and adoption. We are no longer in bondage to the law and sin, no longer children of wrath and fear, but reconciled through the blood of Christ to know God as our Father.

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

As we are born of His Spirit and joint-heirs with Christ and His Spirit dwelling in our hearts we can cry, calling to Him for all our needs. Note that from Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane Paul relates this to all God’s children, the Spirit of his Son that cries through us.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6

ALPHA G 1
Strong’s defines alpha ä’l-fä, first letter of Greek alphabet
“Christ is the Alpha to indicate that he is the beginning and the end.”

 ALPHA is found four times in the Book of Revelation as quoted from Jesus.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come , the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

“Saying , I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest , write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” Revelation 1:11

“And he said unto me, It is done . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Revelation 21:6

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Revelation 22:13

Gracious Father, we are in awe when we think of how you have arranged your words of life for us. You are Abba to your children. You created us for your own. From the beginning to the end you have planned and are gathering your family to yourself through Jesus Christ your Son. We praise you that by your grace you have made Him to be Life to us, the Alpha and Omega. In His name we thank you and desire to live as your children for your glory and our joy. Amen.
Fran

Photos:Tom Pumford, Unsplash
David Besh, Pixel

 

Words of Life ~ ADOPTION

What a difference it would make if we knew the true meaning of Christian adoption.
Our relationship with God is not based on a biological birth just by happenchance, but by a desire on the part of our heavenly Father to make us His own children.

We can start with what we know about human adoption. First: there is a couple’s desire to take a child, born to another family, into their home; to love, care, provide, and protect this child.

Secondly: there are rules and conditions that govern the process of adoption. Needy children are not just dumped on a family’s doorsteps; nor does a child choose its parents.

Third: there is the process of finding a child compatible to the couple who are adopting; unless there is a child the couple already knows. Still there is a legal process they must go through.

Fourth: there is a cost to adoption, which we will not go into here, except as we consider the cost of our adoption into the family of God.

Our heavenly Father has only one true Son, Jesus Christ, but before the foundation of the world He desired many sons and daughters and planned for our adoption (Ephesians 2:4-5).

The rules and conditions of His kingdom govern the process, by which He finds and makes known His desires.

His cost was the price of His own dear Son, given for us, to make us joint-heirs with Him (1 Corinthians 6:20).

How do we separate the price our Father paid and what the Son paid?

(Let me share a precious moment with our Lord and Savior this past week during the busyness of my duties as Jerry’s caregiver, and the research of the word “adoption.” The Lord revealed to me the meaning of true love that I have never known. I cannot fully describe this, but He opened my heart to see Him before He came to earth. I saw His great love for the Father, His great love for us and His longing to come to bring us to Him. He was not only willing, but desiring with His whole heart, ready to give His whole life, to live and to die for me. Imagine Him, an only child, desiring more children for the Father and at the same time desiring sisters and brothers with whom to share His monumental estate, His wealth, and His eternal life with the Father in heaven.)

No biological birth or human adoption can offer this.

No biological birth or human adoption requires this process.

No biological birth or adoption comes at such a price as the life of another human being, who is willing and ready to sacrifice with such a love for his father and brothers and sisters.

True, He knew He would be resurrected, but He was, for the joy set before Him, coming to endure the anguish and pain of the cross for those in need of a loving Father and the Life He gives through His Son. (I do not limit this Life to an after-death experience, but to Life now and forever.)

We are not negating the need for “new birth” but understand that He gives His adopted children a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3).  

ADOPTION into the kingdom of God begins here; our heavenly Father protecting, providing all our needs, loving, leading, assuring, and nurturing us as His children through this wilderness and on to glory with Him and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ came to bring many sons to glory with Him (Hebrews 2:10-12).

And He pursues us, knowing whose are His.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…Behold, now are we sons…(1 John 3:1-3).

We do not include any references from the Old Testament for the word  ADOPTION. Though there were incidents of adoption in the Old Testament, it was not a practice of the Israelites. It is only associated with the understanding of our relationship with God as our heavenly Father through Jesus’ redemption.

New Testament G5206
Defines ADOPTION  huiothesia (hwee-oth-es-ee’-ah) from a presumed compound of 5207 and a derivative of 5087; the placing as a son, i.e. adoption (figuratively, Christian sonship in respect to God):–adoption (of children, of sons).

 
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry , Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23

 “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”. Galatians 4:5

How blessed we are to know that before the foundation of the world we were chosen to be His children, in love 
”Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” Ephesians 1:4-5

Dear gracious, heavenly Father, who is rich in mercy, the love wherewith you loved us can never be fully understood. It was all planned before we were born, before we sinned and needed a Savior. Open our hearts to such love that would give your one and only Son to die for our sins. We cry, “Abba, Father” in love, thanksgiving and praise for bringing us into your family. Conform us to the image of your precious Son, our Lord and Savior. By your Spirit, spread abroad your love in our hearts so that we love you with all our hearts, our brothers and sisters and our neighbors as ourselves.
Fran

For a related article on adoption see Truth or Tradition.

Image:Julie Johnson (Unsplash)

The “Right” Man for the Job

Last year we were blessed to find an air-conditioning contractor who knew how our 21-year-old unit works. When we built our house in this small neighborhood, Jackson EMC was doing a joint project for the geo-thermal system and paid all but $3000. Expecting more than we knew was possible for a unit with an average life of 18 years, we tried one more contractor after the last one did all he could.

Joe from North Hall Heating and Air (I have to give him a plug for those who live in our area) answered our online request for someone who knows this system.

He charged us $45 for a service call, with guarantee to repair. He came a second time with an expert he had known for over twenty years, a friend who was retired after working in the field of geo-thermal systems in huge projects. He sat down with Jerry and me to explain how the system works and why we should be thinking of replacing the unit. While he was talking, Joe was working in the basement. We gently stopped his presentation (thinking of what this was costing us) and asked him to get to the chase. What was his advice at this point? Even if there was a short-term solution, we would eventually need a new unit.

The expert left; Joe came upstairs, saying he had changed a couple of connections. He left with no assurance of what he had done, but with no extra charge. We asked for an estimate for a new unit, expecting the inevitable.

We are aware that in the next year or two, we may be down-sizing again, and we will have to replace the system before we sell our home.

But, since Joe was here the last time, we have had heat for the winter and cool for the summer. This past month’s bill was $118.00, almost unheard of, even for a 2000 sq. ft. all-electric house.

In the middle of our adversities this, as well as other physical blessings, help us know the Lord’s continual care for us. We still need other contractors, including a technician to rid our house of ants and roaches (the one we were using failed after trying for two years).

Where is all this leading; where does this chapter fit to get us Beyond a Mere Christianity?

Our Spiritual House
How far do we go to find the man that has the knowledge and equipment to control the temperature in our physical house? We continue to search until we find the right man for the job.

Who has the expertise to fix what is needed in our spiritual house ~ the outdated workings of the human soul?

There is only one “right” man who knows the heart and the soul; who is qualified to come in to the basement of our lives, to examine, evaluate and estimate the cost of replacement.

The system that provides the air conditioning for our lives is an eternal system, and the continual connection is His own life and Spirit to the Father above.

“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,” (Romans 8:14-17)

The Cost
This continual comfort comes by His own cost: a holy life in humility and submission to the whole law of God, His “righteousness” as ours, His life given as a sacrifice, His blood shed for the final price. Our final cost ~ our whole life given in exchange for His. This is the life of a true Christian. This is no mere Christianity. Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior went beyond anything man could have imagined, even what was prophesied, to bring us beyond what we could ask or think of life.

What should we ask ourselves? Is our desire for comfort in this world based on our physical needs, or do we desire something more, based on what God is able and promises to do?

 Call To Me
We make the calls for our physical needs. He bids us to call Him for all of life.

 “Call to me and I will answer you,
and will tell you great and hidden things
that you have not known.”

Jeremiah 33:3

He knows that we will call when we come to the end of our own resources.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will
give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

We delight ourselves in the Lord when we come to the end of ourselves. And when we find our delight in Him, we desire to desire what He desires, even to the point of suffering for Him.

His eternal comfort and delight is ours when He makes the right connection for us.

There is only one “right” man. No other religion promises what Jehovah, the Lord our God promises. No other has the power to do what the Lord does, for, in and through His people.

“For there is one God,
and one mediator between God and men,
the man Jesus Christ.”
1 Timothy 2:15

Our Father in heaven, Father of lights, Father of glory, having sent your Son, the Lord of glory, we praise you; for your Holy Spirit we thank you; for your wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ and revealed to us in your Word and by the power of your Holy Spirit which we could never afford. We praise you that you planned before Creation to provide all that we would need here and for eternity through your Son, our Lord and Savior ~ all for your glory and our joy. In His precious and powerful name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Christ the Mediator

No Condemnation ~ ~ ~ ~

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 In chapter eight of Romans we see the proof of the power of the gospel to deliver us from the condemnation of the old law, which was written on stone, and to bring in the new law which is written on the mind and in the heart by the Holy Spirit. We are no longer under the law of sin and death, living in the state of, and a slave to sin, but lifted by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ to a state of righteousness in Christ. This new law is a new life in Christ, powered by His Holy Spirit, that enables us to turn from walking after the flesh ~ obedience to our own desires and rebellion against God. This new life of the Spirit in Christ gives us His power, in our struggle against the flesh, to desire to please Him and walk as Christ walked in obedience. This new law now governs and enforces, so as to enable us more and more to mortify the deeds of the flesh. This is the obedience of faith that Paul speaks of in chapters one and sixteen.

Romans 8:1-18
This is one of the strongest passages in the New Testament that describes the new, and true life, of the believer. Though not yet perfect we have a relationship to God, as Father, through Jesus Christ ~ no more wrath; all sin is pardoned and we are reconciled to God.   There is now no condemnation ~

1.  To those who are in Christ Jesus
2.  Who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit

There is proof through the power of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He has brought us from the depths of our depraved state of sin and death, to be joint heirs of His kingdom. We no longer desire to do our own will; but the indwelling Spirit of Christ leads us more and more in obedience to His revealed will through His word. This is what Peter was speaking of when he said, “Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But, grow in the grace and knowledge of our our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:17-18

We are the sons of God, having received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, “Abba, Father,” His Spirit bearing witness with ours that we are His children, born of His Spirit for faith and obedience.

Then he brings us to the crux of the whole matter. The power of the gospel in our obedience of faith will prove itself in our suffering for the sake of Christ and the gospel.

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It seems almost ironic that we come into this world under the death penalty, the wrath of God pronounced on the world because of sin.  Then He brings His people, by the power of the gospel, from under His wrath to experience the wrath of the world.  But, there is a difference ~ a great difference!  Those who do not receive the good news of Christ continue under His condemnation here and for eternity.  The power of the gospel, even through our suffering for the gospel, propels us forward and upward, onward and homeward to the glory that awaits us in Christ.

Many have a great testimony of faith until it comes to obedience in times of suffering for Christ. But, for true believers here again we see Paul’s contrasting. As with the power of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ over and above man’s sin, there is the glory that we are promised in Christ over and above what we may suffer for the gospel, for righteousness, and His name’s sake.

How do we describe this suffering? Is this always in persecution or does this include the working of the Holy Spirit in us for our sanctification? Is it easy to give up this life for a life in obedience to our Lord and Savior? How do you interpret this suffering in relation to the gospel and walking and being led by the Spirit?

Abba Father, fill us with your Spirit, to know the power of Christ in us; that we may witness to this new law in our hearts and lives as we strive in obedience of faith, and struggle against any remaining sins. By your goodness, bring us to repentance and joy in Christ; the freedom promised to us in the precious gospel that is proclaimed in this and every generation; until you have gathered all into the fold.   In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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