For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 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.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. (NLT)
Our own earthly fathers can shape or misshape our approach to our heavenly father. A harsh, dictatorial father can cause us to see God as something like that. An emotionally or physically absent father can have us assume God is at a great distance from us. An indulgent father may lead to our regarding God as some benevolent grandfather in the sky.
Our heavenly father is free of such characteristics. He wants to draw close to us, he understands us, he does not love us out of sheer necessity, but loves us with a warm passion. If we have his Spirit in us, we are his much-loved children who can approach him with confidence because Jesus has opened the door to his presence.
But we need not sink into a soft sentimentality because of this. We can readily call him our dearest Father, but we cannot reduce him to a merely nice old gent of the Santa Claus variety. We can only approach him as our dearest Father because Jesus took away what estranged us from him in the first place. He was and is and always will be a holy and utterly perfect God. He is not our best mate who with a nod and a wink tolerates our imperfections.
Jesus went to the cross so that a perfect God could accept us despite our imperfections. He died and rose again so that we imperfect people can rest in the presence of a perfect God who is our dearest Father.