What does it mean when born-again Christians call God Abba Father?
This name is a very special name to us. Let’s see why.
In the King James Bible there are many different names used to describe God. Here are some of them.
Elohim means “God” – This name refers to God’s incredible power and might. He is the One and only God. He is Supreme, the true God in a world that promotes many false gods and religions. He is the one on whom we can fully rely, He is Sovereign, He is the one we can completely trust. He is the Mighty One over all of nature, this world, and the heavens above, our creative God who has worked wonders by His hands. God reminds us that He is Elohim every single day. His amazing power is at work in every sunrise, and every sunset, in the way He holds the stars in the sky, and carries His people through difficult times. You can be assured, you are held by an Almighty God, you never have to fear, you feel the great love God has for His people, God’s hands are strong and secure. There is no better place to be then in His amazing Hands!
Yahweh means “The Lord” – Yahweh is derived from the Hebrew word for “I AM,” it is the proper name of the divine person, coming from the verb which means to “exist,” “to be.” When God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses was scared. He needed reassurance, he needed to know God was bigger than this problem, that He would carry them through, that even if people wouldn’t listen to him, they would listen to the One who sent him, because His name carried that much awe and honor. “And Moses said unto God, “Behold when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, “What is his name?” what shall I say unto them?” And God said unto Moses, “I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel I AM hath sent me unto you.” Exodus 3:13-14
God’s name, Yahweh, is one of authority. It is one that holds great power, and says to all who hear, “I AM the One, true God, follow me.” God is still the “Great I AM,” for He never changes. We can trust His loving leadership in our lives, just as Moses did. He calls us for his specific purposes, reminding us that He knows our way and He has a plan for all of us.
Means “God Most High” – El Elyon is a name used through the Old Testament revealing God is above all gods, that nothing in life is more sacred. He is indeed the Lord Most High, the One who reigns supreme. He is greater than any force of darkness in this world, He is bigger than any problem we might come up against in this life. In daily life struggles and battles, we sometimes just need to be reminded that God is still in control. He never will lose His power and might, though the world feels dark and full of evil these days, He has conquered death and sin. He is Mighty! He is Lord! He is exalted over all!
El Roi means “The God Who Sees” – I love the kindness and care that this name holds as it points to God’s character. He is one who chases after us, who follows us with Holy Goodness. He is the one who sees us when we feel lonely, all on our own, or when we just need the reminder that God is close. He is there when Satan is testing us.The name El Roi says to us that God is watching over all, both good and evil, that He sees the affairs of all people, and knows when we feel lost and unloved.
When Hagar had run away to a desert place far from those she felt hurt and betrayed by, we see God surround her in so much grace, love and care. He didn’t leave her alone in her troubles. Nor will He leave us to fend for ourselves through difficult times. This story of God’s name reminds us that He is always close, that He sees us when we feel that no one else does, and that He cares.
El Shaddai means “God Almighty” – God’s name, El Shaddai, reminds us that He is all-powerful, He is the Mighty One, He is the 9-1-1 to run to. And we can find refuge and rest in His shadow. This is comforting in a world where we face many battles day by day. Sometimes it’s hard to know who we can trust, we may feel unsafe or uncertain in circumstances surrounding us. We want to know that our loved ones are protected and covered in His care, especially when they’re away from us. This verse and God’s reminder that He is the Almighty gives us the security and assurance that nothing else around us can offer. He is the God who sees all, knows all, and has the power to go before us, walk with us daily, and cover us from all sides. Dwelling in God’s presence gives us shelter and rest.
Yahweh Yireh means “The Lord Will Provide” – God will provide for our needs. Every one of them, He is faithful, He is able, nothing is too difficult for Him. Sometimes His timing is different than ours, maybe we feel that He’s forgotten and hasn’t heard our prayers. Sometimes we get our “needs” and “wants” mixed up, and other times He knows what is better for us than we even know ourselves. We can trust Him, that His timing is perfect, and that all things are possible for Him even when we can’t see a way out. Abraham found this to be true. Alone with his son Isaac in the wilderness, He knew and trusted that God would provide for a sacrifice in place of his only child. He believed in God’s character, and knew Him to be faithful, loving, and the God who will provide. Often it seems, that God tests our hearts like He did Abraham’s that day. He wants to know what we’re willing to lay down before Him, before He opens the doors of provision and blessing. “May we be found faithful”. Amen.
Yahweh Nissi means “The Lord Is My Banner” – This is the name of God that proclaims His protection, leadership, and deliverance for His people. Just as God brought divine protection for the Israelites against their enemy, the Amalekites, He offers us protection and deliverance today from the enemies we may face in this life. While Joshua and the people fought against their enemy, Moses stood on top of a hill with God’s staff in his hands. The Bible tells the story that even though Moses grew weary, when his hands were lifted by those who supported him, the Israelites were winning, and when his hands lowered the Amalekites were winning. It was clear to all who gave them victory that day. Sometimes we spin our wheels trying to battle through evil in our lives. We get weary, we get upset, we get angry, and we end up losing to Satans influence. God’s reminder is to all that we need to put Him as our banner, our protector, that One that is able to lead us and give us supernatural victory against evil and obstacles that come against us. If we allow Him to be in control, He will do more on our behalf, then would ever be possible on our own.
“Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.”
Jehovah Rapha means “Healer, the Lord who heals you” – This name brings so much comfort and hope to many of us who have prayed for healing and deliverance from disease, illness, brokenness, or painful circumstances. It reminds us that God knows we’re in need of help, He understands we’re in need of healing, and He promises to redeem every broken place in our lives. We live here on earth, enemy territory. Satan rules here and we all suffer from this. He never leaves us on our own to fend for ourselves. Without Him we couldn’t have hope for true freedom and healing, but just as God brought miraculous deliverance from all types diseases and difficulties throughout His word, He promises to act on behalf of His people still today. Sometimes the healing doesn’t come in the timetable or way that we would choose, and that can be hard. But as believers we still have this hope and assurance: we will live forever free in Heaven, far away from the burdens we’ve carried here in this life. Jesus promises to make all things new, and God will wipe away every tear.
And said, “If thou will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statues, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that health thee.” – Exodus 15:26
Yahweh Shalom means “The Lord Is Peace” – God is the only One able to give us the peace that passes all of our own understanding. Gideon knew this well from a time that he and his people were surrounded by a fierce enemy. There was nothing about that time that seemed “peaceful.” And yet, God showed up strong on their behalf, He was faithful and brought deliverance straight through fear-filled days. Maybe that’s why Gideon felt so led to build an altar to the Lord and call it, “The Lord is Peace.” In times of greatest darkness, he had seen how true this was. The peace of God often doesn’t make sense to a world that would tell us to hurry and worry. A world that seems hard some days, and often so full of struggles. That is the world Satan has us living in. In the midst of it all this evil, He reminds us that He is our true peace, so we never need to fear. No matter what we face!
Abba means “Daddy, Father” – Abba is the most intimate form of God’s name, except for Emmanuel “God with us” showing us His character as our loving daddy. He is the One who can be fully trusted, the One we can lean on, the One who cares about all that concerns us. Just as a godly father’s presence in our daily lives at home is one of protection, security, and unconditional love, the constant presence of our heavenly Father is what gives us the strength and covering we need for this life’s journey. This is one of my favorite names of God because in it He conveys His heart for each of us born-again Christians, as His children. He gives us the privilege of being called his own sons and daughters. He provides the way for us to call out to Him and the assurance, beyond a doubt, that He hears and will answer. In our most difficult to painful times in life, we can crawl up into the lap of our heavenly Father, and know that He is for us, and His arms will hold us secure.
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6
As we can see the name “Abba Father” is one of the most significant names of God to us.
Abba Father appears three times in the King James Bible.
And he said Abba Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
When Jesus said (all things are possible unto thee) He was affirming God’s power.
(this cup) refers to our personal suffering and our death, it also refers to God’s judgment on our sin.
(not what I will, but what thou wilt) refers to the Model prayer Jesus told us to pray in Matthew 6:10
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
This verse tells us the Holy Spirit is not an agent of bondage but the means of our adoption into God’s family. The Holy Spirit gives us our consciousness that God is our Father. This applies to all true born-again Christians. We have God’s assurance of our status and therefore of our salvation.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.
To sum up all these verses is to say the one big difference between unbelievers and born-again Christians is that, apart from a relationship with Christ, all people are actually spiritual slaves to sin, which is made clear by referring to the law in this verse in Galatians. It was necessary for Jesus to die, to redeem and set free by purchase, sinners out of the slave market of sin. And therefor born-again Christians are saved. The other real difference is that born-again Christians are adopted sons instead of being a son of the bloodline. Jesus Christ is the only Son naturally related to God His Father. All of us born-again sons (including females) have legal status with God our Father or Abba. This legal status is a guarantee of our salvation and our rightful place in Heaven, our new home.
All glory to God
His humble servant Lee M. Buchanan