BIBLE READING: GALATIANS 4:1-6; 1JOHN 3:1
For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of Adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! Romans 8:15 (AMP).
The Scripture above contrasts two spirits: The “spirit of bondage” or “spirit of slavery” and the Holy Spirit, referred to as “the Spirit of Adoption.”
There are two different mindsets or spirits (attitudes) we can have in our approach to God i.e., we can approach Him as slaves in bondage or we can approach Him as His Adopted Children. The Bible presents a High View of adoption and uses it to parallel the Relationship God wants to have with us. The spirit of slavery or bondage views God as a Slave Owner and we His trembling subjects. The spirit of Adoption views God as a Loving Father and we as His beloved sons and daughters.
A spirit of slavery is manifested in legalistic religion. Many cults and even some Christian denominations put so much emphasis on rule-keeping that they instill fear and a sense of dread in their members. God is presented as a Taskmaster Who is never quite satisfied with anything we do. The bar is always set a bit too high, so people find religious activities to keep themselves busy in the hope that God will accept them for their effort. Even those who have been born again through faith in Christ’s Sacrifice for their sin (see John 3:3) can cling to a spirit of slavery, never realising the freedom that is theirs with the Spirit of Adoption.
There is a vast difference between the way sons serve their fathers and the way slaves serve their masters. For instance, slaves may perform duties while sons perform acts of love. Slaves dutifully obey but sons gladly obey. Slaves are motivated by fear of punishment while sons are motivated by love and relationship. Slaves ask, “What is required?” Sons ask, “What else can I do for you?” The Spirit of Adoption changes us from being fearful slaves to becoming joyful sons and daughters. The Spirit of Adoption allows us to “come boldly before the Throne of Grace” as a beloved child runs to his father in times of trouble (Heb. 4:16). Because of the Spirit of Adoption, we can enjoy serving God without fear or a sense of obligation. As a result, serving in our Father’s Kingdom becomes life’s highest ambition (see 2 Cor. 5:20).
Father, I pray that You give me a Revelation of Sonship in Jesus’ Name. Amen.