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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 8 - Verse 15

Verse 15. The spirit of bondage. The spirit that binds you; or the spirit of a slave, that produces only fear. The slave is under constant fear and alarm. But the spirit of religion is that of freedom and of confidence; the spirit of children, and not of slaves. Compare See Barnes "Joh 8:32"

through Joh 8:36.

Again to fear. That you should again be afraid, or be subjected to servile fear. This implies that in their former state, under the law, they were in a state of servitude, and that the tendency of it was merely to produce alarm. Every sinner is subject to such fear. He has everything of which to be alarmed. God is angry with him; his conscience will trouble him; and he has everything to apprehend in death and in eternity. But it is not so with the Christian. Comp. 2 Ti 1:7.

The Spirit of adoption. The feeling of affection, love, and confidence which pertains to children; not the servile, trembling spirit of slaves, but the temper and affectionate regard of sons. Adoption is the taking and treating a stranger as one's own child. It is applied to Christians because God treats them as his children; he receives them into this relation, though they were by nature strangers and enemies. It implies,

(1.) that we by nature had no claim on him;

(2.) that, therefore, the act is one of mere kindness—of pure, sovereign love;

(3.) that we are now under his protection and care; and

(4.) that we are bound to manifest towards him the spirit of children, and yield to him obedience. See Barnes "Joh 1:12".

Comp. Ga 4:5; Eph 1:5. It is for this that Christians are so often called the sons of God.

Whereby we cry. As children who need protection and help. This evinces the habitual spirit of a child of God; a disposition,

(1.) to express towards him the feelings due to a father;

(2.) to call upon him— to address him in the language of affection and endearing confidence;

(3.) to seek his protection and aid.

Abba. This word is Chaldee—(

CHALDEE) —and means father. Why the apostle repeats the word in a different language is not known. The Syriac reads it, "By which we call the Father our Father." It is probable that the repetition here denotes merely intensity, and is designed to denote the interest with which a Christian dwells on the name, in the spirit of an affectionate, tender child. It is not unusual to repeat such terms of affection. Comp. Mt 7:22; Ps 8:1. This is an evidence of piety that is easily applied. He that can in sincerity and with ardent affection apply this term to God, addressing him with a filial spirit as his Father, has the spirit of a Christian. Every child of God has this spirit; and he that has it not is a stranger to piety.

{t} "bondage again to fear" 2 Ti 1:7 {u} "but ye have" 1 Co 2:12 {v} "whereby we cry" Jer 3:19; Ga 4:5,6

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