Facets Of The Endearing Term, Abba

Mysteriously it appears only three times in the entire Holy Bible. But, despite its scant use, the verses wherein it is found reveal the deep love of God for each one of us and teach us about communion with God and living for Him.
Facets Of The Endearing Term, Abba
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2016 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

Jesus, when in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, called unto the Father in heaven, crying "Abba!" By the Holy Spirit Paul uses the term in regard to the true disciple's relationship with the Father in Romans and Galatians. Those are the only times we read the word “Abba” in the Holy Bible.

Easton’s Revised Bible Dictionary {1} notes it is a Syriac or Chaldee word "and in each case is followed by its Greek equivalent, which is translated "father." It is a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence. It has no perfect equivalent in our language.” “Abbot” comes from

this term.

“Abba” being Syriac or Chaldee could be considered a foreign term to any Jew during the time of our Lord's earthly ministry. It is first recorded in the New Testament as being used by Jesus whose native tongue would be Aramaic. To me, this is an indicator from Jesus that our heavenly Father reached out to all people, even those not of Israel.

To me, this also has a connection to when God called Abram, whom He later called Abraham, from Ur of the Chaldees. “Abba” has a possible connection with Chaldea, but it also has a possible connection with Syria. Syria could be considered the “halfway” point between Ur and Canaan, where God led Abram, that is, Abraham.

Issac was the son of Abraham. When it came time for him to have a wife, Abraham refused to let Isaac leave Canaan and go to Syria, or what could be called Pandamaram. Abraham ordered his servant to go there to find a wife for Isaac, but strongly warned him not to take Isaac there. For this, I consider Canaan to represent our place in new life in Christ, Ur as the old realm we were called out of, and Syria as a realm of compromise.

Those in the world or “in between" are indeed in the clutches of satan {2}, but God still loves the sinner and yearns for their reconciliation unto Him. So, it is not an accident that a Syriac or Chaldean term is used by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament through Christ and Paul where God’s love towards all is displayed in the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ.

It is also no accident that it occurs three times, representing the fact that God, for our salvation, subsists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Keep in mind that we ourselves subsist as body, soul, and spirit. As you see, the a "common denominator" between us and God is that we are both "a spirit."

Once we are truly saved, being a redeemed child of God, He makes our spirit in tune with His Spirit. No longer do we need to look at God as Judge. No longer does His wrath abide upon us. In Christ we become his child. We can cry, “Abba, Father!” We cry out to Him in such a manner in the following ways.

I. When Brought To A Place Of Submission

Mark 14:36 (NASB) -- "And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.""

When someone really becomes a Christian they submit to the rule of God through Jesus Christ. As they walk in Him and grow in Him they continue to learn to submit and surrender any aspect of their life, or any course of action, that might be a hindrance, or even a danger, to their spiritual development. There will be times when one's personal desire will not be what God wills.

When praying in Gethsemane Christ knew that He would soon become our sin in the eyes of the Father (2 Corinthians 5:21). He would become a curse (Galatians 3:13). The sweet fellowship between Father and Son would be shattered. Personally, to a point Christ did not want this, but He knew it was the will of the Father. He became sin and went to the cross because He loved you and me. That was the only way to rescue us.

I would also say that Christ’s crying “Abba” is a signal to those who are in, or have returned to, the world, or to those who are weak Christians in the realm of compromise. His cry is a call to them to remember our spiritual ancestor Abraham who had no other gods and to cry out “Abba! Father!” I have said it before in many messages and teachings that if one feels they have walked away from God that they should seek Him for His mercies and forgiveness. James 4:8 declares, ”Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”

II. In The Power Of The Holy Spirit

Romans 8:15 (NASB) -- "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father.""

Earlier I pointed out a similarity between us and God in that He is a Spirit (John 4:24) and we are also a spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). This verse points out that when one becomes born again they receive the Spirit of adoption. We who are enemies with God are changed by His grace into an actual redeemed child of God. Christ then resides within us by His Spirit.

As you see, "Spirit of adoption" stands in contrast with "the spirit of bondage again to fear." Given the context, this speaks to the fact that because of Christ's finished work we no longer need to be bound by sin. As a redeemed child of God we no longer have to be afraid of being consigned to hell, but enjoy, instead, a loving relationship with God as our Father Who will lovingly help us to grow in Christ as we

respond to His written Word and to His spoken Word to our heart.

No longer do we attempt to please God by our own strength, but we please Him by yielding to Christ within. The blood of Christ covers us when we transgress (see 1 John 1:6-9 for full details). In no way does this mean we should have a flippant attitude and just sin anyway. Someone with an attitude like that is really not in love with God through Christ as they should be.

III. In The Preciousness Of Our Sonship

Galatians 4:6-7 (NASB) -- "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

While the context of this passage speaks to the fact that believers in Christ are not bound to the Jewish Law (which was designed to bring people to Christ), it can be applied to the general written laws of God in that, as explained in Romans, before we come to Christ our sin nature responds in rebellion to His rules. This drives us deeper into sin when we respond to our sin nature.

However, when one truly turns to Christ God places the Spirit of His Son into the center of our being which frees us to truly love God, just as the Son loved the Father. Christ attempted to explain this to some of His fellow Jews as recorded in John 8:31-36 . . . 
"So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 33 They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free'?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 "The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.""

So part of the good news of the Gospel is that when we turn to Christ we are no longer slaves to sin and because we are a child of God we are an heir of God through Christ. There is tremendous and glorious treasure with being an heir of God. Christ, Who is God and man, makes the connection for us to enjoy Eternal Life. Just as God will continue forever, anyone who truly trusts in Christ will continue forever.

But there is so much more to being an heir of God, and it does not just deal with "life hereafter," but with life right now. We become agents within the Kingdom of God. We are allowed to flow with His power. We become kings and priest in Christ in His eyes. Both the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit are enjoyed by those who are truly in Christ.

All of this and much more is due to the fact that Christ, as the Son, was submissive to the Father. Many people do not understand why God is expressed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but He lovingly subsists that way for our salvation. We can never please God, we can never truly be sinless, until we die to self and permit His Son to live within us.


{1} From an electronic copy of Easton’s Revised Bible Dictionary incorporated in the Online Bible Program.

{2} Not capitalized on purpose. Experts Column gives me the freedom to express myself in that way.

This article was written in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. The name of the message is simply “Abba!” God willing by July 30, 2016 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M410 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. An * next to the abbreviation for another translation or version indicates the same for the text presented.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.

Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Last updated on 24-07-2016 160 1

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    All of us are in need of being in the presence of Jesus and looking hard at who we are and what evil within us needs to leave and its control over us broken. Jesus, the Holy One of God empty us of our violence and imbalance.
    reply 0
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