Paul’s gospel is stated often in quite complex terms. One commentator has said that the simple statement of Paul’s gospel is found in Romans 5:8, “…God proves his love for us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us.” This statement of Paul’s gospel comes in Romans 5:1-11. It is a link between Romans 1:18-4:25 and Romans 6 and 8, where our passage occurs.
The human refusal to honor God is displayed most vividly in our inabilities to express through our worship the honor God deserves. Our human speech betrays our failure despite God’s indwelling spirit.
In Romans 8 the theme regarding the Christian family is developed. Because we are given the Spirit we can live in freedom despite all odds. Our passage points out that our “adoption” as children of God secures our being freed of any fear. Our affirmation of this comes in our ecstatic cry, “Abba! Father!” most probably in worship.
Our adoptive "daughtership/sonship" is an idea extended from the notion of God’s election of Israel as the chosen people (see Deuteronomy 4:34). God’s election of Israel now in Romans indicates that Christians are not only the people of God but part of God’s very own family. Through faith and baptism we have been adopted into a relationship with Jesus Christ as brother and with God as Father. This is very close to what we hear in Galatians 6:16 that Christians have become “the Israel of God.”
This new familial relationship suggests inheritance from God and therefore implies that the Christian becomes God’s heir. As joint heirs with their brother Jesus Christ they will suffer jointly but most importantly are jointly glorified.
This adopted sonship expresses for Paul that the Spirit puts to death the deeds of the body and gives new life. On this Pentecost 2013 the “birthday of the Church” we are assured that our lives can be lived in freedom. We live no longer according to the flesh but are indeed led by the Spirit.
When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is the Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.