«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!’ «(Romans 8:15)
Being born in a family of recognized prestige, having a lot of money and properties, reaching exceptional professional or academic goals are some of the ways to achieve honor and value in a secular world. But to God, these things do not have ultimate value. The Lord does not look at the outside but at the heart. He values human beings according to their love for the Creator and for their neighbors.
Despite the fact that God’s scale of value differs from ours, He uses our language and culture to help us understand ideas and concepts. This is what He does by repeatedly using the example of slaves and freemen in the New Testament to illustrate the life of a person before and after accepting Christ as their Savior.
In Roman times, there were no social groups that defended freedom and abolished slavery. Very few people considered the injustice of making and keeping slaves because it was part of their daily life. In fact, slaves could be subject to abuse and oppression, but those who were faithful and obedient, received special treatment and sometimes became free and were hired as assistants, teachers, or accountants, according to their abilities.
The final step toward freedom was when a slave became an adopted son. Today’s verse takes this reality of the society of that time and presents the contrast between slavery and adoption. The first one was a condition of fear. Fear of being humiliated, beaten, physically, emotionally or sexually exploited . . . The second one was the condition ofa legitimate child which allowed the adoptee to address the pater potestas without the need of using the courtesy title, and simply calling him Abba (Dad or Daddy).
According to the Roman law, the shift from slave to adopted child was an enormous change. From the moment of adoption, the adopted child received a new name and the surname of the family. He also acquired the right to receive the entitled share of thein heritance just like any legitimate child. Furthermore, he was to be considered like a biological and legitimate son under the Roman law. Finally, his previous life of slavery was erased and completely forgotten.
Today, let us accept the privilege of not being slaves anymore, but of being children of God. This will make us forget all our imperfections and flaws to focus on this spirit of adoption that gives us the right to treat our heavenly Father with the affection of a child.