The Spirit of Adoption, Grace, & Supplications

Zechariah 12:10; Galatians 4:4-7; Romans 8:15
       And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications.
       God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
       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.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): Prayer is the breath of the newborn soul, and there can be no Christian life without it.

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): None of God’s people come into the world still-born.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): The moment they believe, they are sons; and because they are sons, God sendeth forth the Spirit of his Son into their hearts, crying, “Abba, Father.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Praying is not a lesson got by forms and rules of art, but flowing from principles of new life itself.

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): The supernatural instinct of praying is found in all that are born of God, Galatians 4:6. It is as natural for them to fall a praying when the grace of God has touched their hearts, as for children when they are born into the world to cry, or to desire the breasts.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Praying is here called crying, which is not only an earnest, but a natural expression of desire; children that cannot speak vent their desires by crying.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): It has been remarked that slaves were not permitted to use the term Abba, father, or Imma, mother, in accosting their masters and mistresses―and from this some suppose that the apostle intimates that being now brought from under the spirit of bondage, in which they durst not call God their Father, they are not only brought into a new state, but have got that language which is peculiar to that state. It is certain that no man who has not redemption in the blood of the cross has any right to call God Father.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): The word Abba is an Hebrew, or rather a Syriac or Chaldee word, signifying “father;” and which is added for explanation sake; and its repetition may denote the vehemency of filial affection, the strength of faith and confidence as to interest in the relation; and being expressed both in Hebrew and Greek, may show that God is the Father both of Jews and Gentiles, and that there is but one Father of all.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): To my mind, the word “Abba” is of all words in all languages the most natural word for father. I must try and pronounce it so that you see the natural childishness of it, “Ab—ba, Ab—ba.” Is it not just what your children say, ab, ab, ba, ba, as soon as they try to talk? It is the sort of word which any child would say, whether Hebrew, or Greek, or French, or English. Therefore, Abba is a word worthy of introduction into all languages. It is truly a child’s word.

MATTHEW HENRY: It denotes an affectionate endearing importunity, and a believing stress laid upon the relation. Little children, begging of their parents, can say little but “Father, Father,” and that is rhetoric enough.

C. H. SPURGEON: I think this sweet word “Abba” was chosen to show us that we are to be very natural with God, and not stilted and formal. We are to be very affectionate, and come close to Him, and not merely say “Pater,” which is a cold Greek word, but say “Abba,” which is a warm, natural, loving word, fit for one who is a little child with God, and makes bold to lie in His bosom, and look up into His face and talk with holy boldness. “Abba” is not a word, somehow, but a babe’s lisping. Oh, how near we are to God when we can use such a speech! How dear He is to us and dear we are to Him when we may thus address Him, saying, like the great Son himself, “Abba, Father,” Mark 14:36.

MATTHEW HENRY: Now, the Spirit teaches us in prayer to come to God as a Father, with a holy humble confidence, emboldening the soul in that duty.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): The truly godly have the spirit of adoption, the spirit of a child, to which it is natural to go to God and call upon Him, crying to Him as to a Father. But hypocrites have nothing of this spirit of adoption. They do not have the spirit of children; for this is a gracious and holy spirit, given only in a real work of regeneration. Therefore it is often mentioned as a part of the distinguishing character of the godly that they call upon God…It is natural to one who is truly born from above to pray to God, and to pour out his soul in holy supplications before his heavenly Father. This is as natural to the new nature and life as breathing is to the nature and life of the body.

ADAM CLARKE: Prayer is the language of the children of God. He who is begotten of God speaks this language. He calls God “Abba, Father,” in the true spirit of supplication.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Every child of God prays.

JONATHAN EDWARDS: But hypocrites do not have this new nature…The spirit of a true convert is a spirit of true love to God, and that naturally inclines the soul to those duties wherein it is conversant with God, and makes it delight in approaching God. But a hypocrite has no such spirit. He is left under the reigning power of enmity against God, which naturally inclines him to shun the presence of God.

ROWLAND HILL: In all the avocations of time, the child of God will never lose sight of his heavenly Father. I have often seen a little child following his parent in the fields, and stooping now and then to gather a few flowers. He looks up and sees him at a distance; the little creature runs and gets up to him again, afraid he should go too far away. So the Christian, while gathering a few flowers from the world, suffers his God to be often a distance from him; but the instant he perceives that he is left alone, he runs to reach again his Father, Protector, and Friend.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): None of God’s children, as one observes, come into the world still-born; prayer is the very breath of a new creature; and therefore, if we are prayerless, we are Christless; if we never had the spirit of supplication, it is a sad sign that we never had the spirit of grace in our souls; and you may be assured that you never did pray, unless you have felt yourselves sinners, and seen the want of Jesus to be your Saviour.


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