Read Romans 8:14-16
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 So 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.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. (NLT)
Husbands and wives, parents and children, even close friends, will have nicknames or pet names for others. They are words used only within the confines of friendship; they are exclusive names that are not to be used by all and sundry.
If I greet a female acquaintance in the supermarket aisle or even after church, I would be unwise to call her ‘snookles’ or ‘coco pop’. Which might be the name her husband bestows on her in lighter moments. I have no right to call that person that name because I am not in that relationship with her. The relationship is what gives the pet name its legitimacy.
When it comes to bestowing a name on God, we are invited to call him ‘Dearest Father’, a very intimate term. And yet it is not a term to be used by just anyone. True, God loves everyone, but not everyone is his adopted child. Not every child can call every man her father. That child has to be in that father’s family.
We who trust in the mercy of Jesus and have thus received his Spirit are free to call God our dearest father. Much loved strangers have become much loved family members and so we are entitled to call him ‘Father’. Which, after all, is the Christian name for God.