Stage 2

Walking as a Son

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are." 1 John 3:1.
The work of the Cross resulted not just in the forgiveness of our sins, but in the restoration of our relationship with God. God could have simply saved us and given us eternal life - and that would have been more than we deserved! But He did so much more. He brought us into the very inner circle of His family.

Our relationship with God is like that between a father and his son (Hebrews 12:5-11). This "sonship" belongs to every Christian, whether male or female. We are all called "sons" because of the special status sons had in Hebrew culture.

Made Sons

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father'. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" Romans 8:15-16.

The Spirit of Sonship

When we believed on Jesus, our hearts were sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). God's Spirit is also called "the Spirit of sonship." It is through God's Spirit that we were adopted into the family of God (Ephesians 1:5).

The Spirit of God's Son

Galatians 4:6 is almost identical to Romans 8:15, but the differences are very revealing: "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.'"

The Holy Spirit is not only called "the Spirit of sonship", but also "the Spirit of His Son". We are sons because the Spirit of the Son is indwelling us.

Abba, Father

"Abba" was the family word for "Father" used by the Jews of Jesus' day. It is the same as the word "daddy" in English. It was the word that Paul himself used for his own natural father, and it was the word that Jesus used for His Heavenly Father.

"Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 'Abba, Father,' he said, 'everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will'" Mark 14:35-36.

The depth of the relationship that Jesus had with His Father has now been opened up to us through the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of God's Son (read Hebrews 2:10-15).

"For through him [Jesus] we both have access to the Father by one Spirit" Ephesians 2:18 (see also Matthew 10:20; John 20:17).
Through the Holy Spirit, our lives have been linked with the life of God's Son. The two verses - Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6 - show this link:
Romans 8:15 -- By the Spirit we cry, 'Abba, Father'

Galatians 4:6 -- Through us, the Spirit of the Son (Jesus) cries, 'Abba, Father'

We have been included in the very relationship that Jesus has with His Father! Not only have we been linked with Christ's death and burial (Romans 6:3-6), we continue to be linked with Him now! (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1-4).

Made Heirs

"Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" Romans 8:17.
Not only are we sons, but we are also heirs of God (Gal.4:7). But more than that, we are heirs alongside Jesus - linked with God's Son even in His inheritance! (Colossians 3:1-4).

Christ's Inheritance

The inheritance of Jesus, because of who He is, includes:

Our Inheritance

Because we are co-heirs with Jesus, our inheritance involves:

Two Misconceptions

Read Luke 15:11-32. This is not really the "parable of the prodigal son", but the "parable of two sons". The father divided his inheritance between both sons, with a double-portion for the elder (Deut.21:15-17). The way that both sons used their inheritance revealed each one's misconception of sonship. While the younger son took the inheritance for himself, the older son ignored his inheritance. Both left the presence of their father (even though the older brother never left home), for while the younger brother joined himself to foreigners (the world), the older brother joined himself to the slaves. Both saw their inheritance as separate from relationship.

Both sons were equally wrong. Both were self-centered and missed out on a true father-son relationship. But whereas the younger son repented, the older son failed to see his fault. In the parable, the father's response to his older brother shows the true meaning of sonship:

As Christians, we have been "born again into a living hope" (1 Peter 1:3). God has a goal for His children, that we will grow up to become mature sons - like Jesus, the Son (Rom.8:29,21).
"Dear friends, now we are the children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when [Jesus] appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" 1 John 3:2 (read also verse 3).


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