Lesson 32—Romans 8:14-21

Our Position as Sons and Heirs of God

When David captured Rabbah, the royal city of the children of Amnion, he brought forth the people that were therein and made slaves of them. They laboured in the forests and in the brickkiln. 2 Sam. 12:30, 31.

How different was his dealing with Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul. The poor lame lad might well have dreaded being found by the king, but his fears were all gone when seated at the king’s table as one of his sons. David shewed “the kindness of God to him” 2 Sam. 9.

We too have experienced the kindness of God. We were prisoners at the bar, guilty and condemned to die. We deserved to die. Rom. 1:32. Like the prodigal son in Lk. 15 we would have welcomed servitude, “Let me go into the kitchen and live with the servants,” said he. “Make me as one of thy hired servants.”

But the Father would not hear a word of it. The best robe, the ring, the shoes, and the feast in the Father’s house told the story of a Father’s love that could be satisfied with nothing less than a full measure of blessing for his son.

We have already noticed that Chap. 1-3:20 describe the “far country.” Then we saw the grace of God abounding over sin.

Though clothed in rags, by sin denied
The Father did embrace His child
And I am pardon’d reconciled.

Now we are amazed at the full results of the gospel. We learn that the love that sought and found us brings us into a place of nearness and nearer we could not be for

In the fulness of His grace
God puts me in the children’s place
Where I may gaze upon His face

Two distinct words are used in these verses concerning our position and privileges as children of God.

In vs. 16, 17 and 21 it is the word “children”; a very tender word, literally “a born one” like the word “bairn.” We have been born into the family of God and are His dear children, the objects of His Fatherly love and care.

But in vs. 14 and 19 the word is “sons” speaking rather of our place, character and dignity as members of God’s household.

Then also we notice in vs. IS that both the Hebrew and Greek word for “father” is used. Having received the Spirit of adoption we cry, “Abba, Father.” Thus both Jew and Gentile are one in the family of God and even the tiniest babe amongst the children can say “Abba.” Someone has said it is a word especially for baby lips whereas the Greek word translated “Father” is for the more advanced.

In our next lesson we will study more fully this subject of Sonship in its sevenfold aspect but meanwhile let us cherish in our hearts the love of our Father. For not only is there the joy of my being able to call the God I once feared my Father but by the Holy Spirit the answer comes from God Himself “my child.” He Who found all His pleasure in His beloved Son has brought us into that same circle of love. We are accepted in the Beloved.


1. Give an Old Testament and a New Testament example of the kindness of God.

2. Why is God spoken of as “Abba Father?”

3. Find the other verses using the Hebrew word for

4. Father in Mark 14 and Galatians 4.