One of my favorite TV shows from the 1960’s is “My Three Sons.” The show is about a widower, Steve Douglas, who is raising two of his natural sons and his adopted son, Ernie. Rounding out the family is his Uncle Charlie and a dog named Tramp.
In one episode, Ernie has been living as an adopted son for just under a year and he’s formed a bond with Tramp. He plays with him, feeds him and brushes him regularly, but then develops an allergy. Every time Tramp comes near, Ernie can’t stop sneezing. Steve takes him to the doctor and they try allergy medication, but it doesn’t help. Uncle Charlie decides to take matters into his own hands, which he does too often, and finds a family to take Tramp. Ernie overhears Uncle Charlie telling the other two sons that he’s giving Tramp away for Ernie’s sake, so Ernie decides on his own that he should leave instead. Tramp had been a member of the family much longer than he had. He packs his suitcase, puts on a suit and tie, and makes his way to the office of family services. When he arrives, he explains his situation to the counselor, who immediately calls Steve at his office.
Steve drops everything and heads to the office of family services. When Ernie addresses him as Mr. Douglas, he’s taken aback. Ernie explains that since he will no longer be his son, he should call him Mr. Douglas instead of Dad. Steve sits down and tenderly explains to Ernie that when he adopted him, Ernie became a permanent member of their family. There was no need for him to leave, and Tramp wouldn’t be leaving either. They would work around Ernie’s allergy and do whatever needed to be done to keep the family intact. Ernie was his son and nothing would change that. Ernie immediately called him Dad again, secure as a member of the family and happy to have his Dad.
In Galatians 4, Paul writes, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” In culture at that time, children were not adopted. The likelihood of a child growing into adulthood was so uncertain it wasn’t considered wise to adopt a child. Adoption as a son was a means of passing on an inheritance to an adult male. This is significant because in this context, the one who was adopting was choosing an adopted son knowing what kind of character the man possessed. When God provided a way for us to be adopted as sons, He knew everything we would do, all of our weaknesses and struggles, and chose to accept all who received Jesus as Savior to be adopted as sons.
Paul continues, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” In the Greek language, there was no equivalent to the Aramaic word “Abba.” At that time, slaves were forbidden to address the head of a family by this title because of its personal nature. The English equivalent of this word is “Daddy”. The word “Father” is included here to provide the readers a way of understanding the personal nature of the word “Abba.” What Paul is saying is that because we are adopted as sons, we have the Spirit of his Son in our hearts calling him “Daddy.” Paul concludes the thought, “So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” We have the right to call him Daddy.
I have a friend who, when he prays, addresses God as Daddy. Do you see God as Daddy? Try calling him Daddy when you pray and see if it changes the way you relate to him. It’s personal. It’s a name reserved for one that you love and who loves you. If you’ve placed your trust in Jesus as Savior, God is your Daddy and you are a permanent member of his family.