You have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).
I may be sacrificing any semblance of credibility for admitting this, but I absolutely love the movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Yes, it’s ridiculous; and yes, it’s not exactly the best theological commentary; but every time I watch it I find myself laughing hysterically (and slightly ashamed at my ability to quote every line).
One scene I particularly enjoy is when God sticks His head through the clouds and speaks directly to King Arthur. God is all business, and He appears to have become quite frustrated and impatient with humanity. At one point, He goes off on a tirade about how annoying His subjects are: “If it’s one thing I can’t stand, its people groveling. Every time I try to talk to someone it’s ‘sorry this’ and ‘forgive me that’ and ‘I’m not worthy…’”
What stands out to me about this scene though, is how the film-makers, in their attempt to create something humorous, have actually provided a sobering commentary on how many people truly do view God.
A lot of folks, when they think of God, see Him as a harsh cosmic judge or task-master. They see a man with a long beard and glowing crown (not unlike the picture of God in the movie), sitting on a throne bossing people around: “Do this, do that, follow the rules, and don’t even think about doing anything fun or I shall smite thee!”
But that’s the not the picture of God we’re given in the Bible. In fact, Romans 8:15 says exactly the opposite.
Paul tells us in this verse that those who are in Christ don’t need to fear God as a slave owner. The image of a cruel, impatient, and demanding God poking His head through the clouds to give us His marching orders is simply not true.
God doesn’t see you as His slave; He sees you as His beloved child. He has adopted you into His family because He loves you with the perfect love of a sinless Father. This unconditional love is what allows us to respond to Him as our “Abba (Daddy),” and come to Him to be fathered rather than judged or condemned.
Imagine if King Arthur had addressed the movie version of God as “Daddy.” I doubt He would have received a warm embrace. But that’s the danger that comes with misunderstanding God’s true nature: As long as you fear God’s judgement, wrath, or condemnation as a slave-driver, you will be more likely to grovel before Him than to run to Him for help whenever you fall.
But now that your union with Christ has made you a permanent member of God’s family, there’s no need to grovel. You can run straight to your Abba Father with confidence that He will embrace you no matter what.