William Andrew Dillard

“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
In this verse of scripture a contrast is being made between the spirit that dominated God’s people under the Law of Moses and the spirit that dominates His people in New Testament Churches. We do not have the spirit of fear which caused them to cry out “Lord, God,” but we have the spirit of adoption which causes us to cry “our Father.”
The key word for consideration here is “adoption.” In the modern day usage of the term it is used to convey the idea of receiving one outside the family bloodline and genetic pool, and making that person to become one of the family through legal action. This is not what is meant by the Bible term, although there are those who try desperately to make it so.
In the Bible there are degrees of son-ship designated by specific terms. “Teknon” is a Greek term translated in the Bible as a born child. “Pais” or “Padion” is the Greek work translated a small son, one under tutorship. “Huios” is the Greek term for a fully mature son who is able to act appropriately in the stead of, and in the name of, his father. It is this latter term, “Huios” that is consistently used of seasoned disciples in the New Testament Church. This is what every child of God in this age can and should become. This is what is meant in Romans 8:15 by the term “adoption.” In the original language this is a composite of two other terms. It is “huiothesia” a combination of “huios” mature son, and “thesia” to set or place; hence, the forceful meaning of the word is “to set in the position of mature sons.”
So, Paul encouraged the Romans and all of us with this enlightenment. We do not have the same position with God in the New Testament Church as the Israelites had under the Law. They had a continuous spirit of fear, but we have a continuous spirit and understanding of being mature sons who lovingly regard God as “our Father,” and do his bidding willingly and with gladness of heart.
Oh, what a joy it is to live in this position. God has given His Son for us. His Son has given His life for us. The Holy Spirit has empowered us and lives with us to continuously teach and guide us into the ways of all truth. We serve Him not out of a fear of being stoned if we do not, but because we love Him and are truly thankful for what He has done for us.
It is appropriate then that we should make the most of our prized position as mature sons. The more we know the more we can believe. The more we believe, the greater our faith. The greater our faith, the greater our hope. And in the end, the greater will be our blessed opportunity to rule and to reign with Him in the age that is about to happen. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be call the sons of God.


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  1. Daniel J Rice

    Amen! I love Bro. Dillard’s thoughtful expositions. Too many think that if you’re born again you’ve got it all. As Bro. Dillard says, “This is what every child of God in this age can and should become.” The new birth is an unconditional gift, adoption is not. Thank you James for sharing this.


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