To be a son is to have a shared identity with the father, as he derives his identity from him. It is in that context that we can understand how miffed the Pharisees were when Jesus claimed he was the son of God (John 10:31-38). They said he blasphemed. According to them, that he is the son of God, makes him God, which they thought was an insult to the “real God” and so they wanted to kill Jesus.
John made the fantastic claim that when we believe in Jesus, we receive the power to become sons of God (John 1:12), with His authority. Adam was the first to be called the Son of God, which goes to show how prestigious that label is (Luke 3:38). It is not to be used casually. To be a son of God means to be like God, which was what Adam was meant to be before he messed up with that sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 3).
The word Son also stands for maturity. Paul said that as many as are led by the Holy Spirit are the sons of God (Romans 8:14). The matured have learnt to yield to the Holy Spirit. Paul swore that a son when he is a child is under tutors but a time comes when he is matured enough to take responsibility.
A voice come from heaven to Jesus when he was thirty years old (not before), when publicly identified with his responsibility to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
A son is defined by responsibilities but also by privileges. For example, he has unbridled access to the father. The son is meant to carry on the legacy of the father. We see Jesus speaking endlessly of his commitment to the father, and pursuing the Father’s plans on the earth.
As children of God, we should follow in the steps of Jesus. We should not have any other ambition, except to do everything for the glory of the father, as Jesus did. Jesus said, reflecting on his mission on earth as he neared the time of his death, that he had glorified the name of the father, he had lived for him (John 17:1-5).
By the age of twelve, he told those who cared to listen that he had to go about his father business (Luke 2:42-49). Then from the age of thirty, after his baptism by John the Baptist, he went on a new gear which ended in his death on the cross as an act of obedience to the father.
The most important thing the son derives from the father is identity, as traditionally the father names the child. The angel Gabriel had to come to Joseph tells him the name of Jesus (Matthew 1:20-21), when Mary still had him in the womb, though he was just a surrogate father.
Also, sons are inheritors. Isaac inherited the blessing of God on his father and everything else of the father. Abraham and Sarah had stopped wishing their marriage was fruitful, when Isaac was born. Isaac meant laughter. There was not much laughter in the house of Abraham, until Isaac came along. The barrenness of Sarah was the one blemish in the life of a man (Abraham) God had increased in all dimensions and who has made a name for himself among the nations around, no-mean man by all standards.
He once complained to God: you have not given me a child since I have been relating with you and my servant will now be my inheritor (Genesis 15:1-3). For Abraham all he had summed up to nothing, if he does have a son who will benefit from them, who will get a head start through his lifelong investments.
The bible says that we are joint-heirs with Christ, as heirs of God (Romans 8:15-17). But since God cannot die, and in real terms we can only get inheritance until the father dies, what then are we going to inherit?
When man died in the Garden of Eden, in the context of that relationship, God was dead (Genesis 2:15-17). In an analogy, Paul said that whatever we are dead to is also dead to us. He said so when he was writing about our new relationship with the law. He said that when a man dies, his wife is dead to the law binding of her husband, and can marry another.
So when man died (as judgment on his sin), God also died to man, in a manner of speaking. What we then inherit is what God left behind. God left the earth behind and left his relationship with man behind when he “died.” When God allowed death to run rampage on the earth, he died to the earth and to the people on it, which were his.
Do you wonder what Jesus meant that the meek will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5)? It means that being joint-heirs with Jesus (who called himself meek [Matthew 11:29]), we would exercise dominion on the earth. And the earth and the people in it, through us, will regain the lost relationship with God. (That is what Paul said will happen in the manifestation of the sons of God: you and I [Romans 8:18-23]).
Jesus said the one whose sins we forgive is forgiven (John 20:22-23), making us custodians of the possibility of people coming back into relationship with God, which happens when their sins are forgiven.
Paul said that one of the pieces of warfare clothing that we have is the preparation of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). Without us people will not be able to have peace with God, without our preaching the gospel. If anyone wants to have a relationship with God, he has to come to us. It was not by chance that God sent an angel to tell Cornelius that he should send for Peter (Acts 10); it was because as joint heirs with Christ, we as Christians by the Holy Spirit in us will have to “give” people relationship with God, because we have it as joint-heirs with Christ, as sons of God. We have inherited that possibilities and people have to come to us for it (Or we go to them compelled by the love of God for humanity). That is why Jesus said we should go to the entire world preaching the gospel to all (Mark 16:15-17); which is why Jesus sent us to be witnesses to him (Acts 1:8). They won’t know the way if we don’t show the way (Acts 5:20).
That is why when Jesus said “no one comes to the father except by me (John 14:6),” it is the only logical spiritual arrangement, since God had died to his relationship with man and Christ as his Son is the inheritor of what he died to. It’s either the Son or we are lost forever. There is no other way.
Jesus said dominion in heaven and in earth is given to him (Matthew 28:17-20), that is his inheritance and we share in that dominion since we are joint-heirs with him because the bible says that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places far above principalities and power (Ephesians 2:6).
But where did Jesus get the dominion of heaven when what the father “died” to, were the dominion on earth and his relationship with man?
Note that when Jesus came to the earth, he died to his dominion in the heavenly place which he had being God from eternity past, as God the Word (John 1:1-3). After his resurrection, he had restored to him the full complements of his eternal honour (John 17:5), which dominion in heaven was part of. So he inherited as Jesus Christ what God the Word died to, though both are one and the same.
How is that possible?
It is possible because here is no God the Word again as was before the incarnation of Jesus. He forever changed when he took up the body of a human being. (God the Word and Jesus Christ are descriptive of the second person of the trinity.) Jesus inherited what God the Word died to, because in a sense, Jesus was originally God the Word, which means He (Jesus) originates from Him (the Word), so is his “father” in a limited sense, so can inherit what he left, getting the dominion/power in heaven.
The dominion of Jesus, therefore, is higher than the dominion of Adam because Adam only had dominion on the earth, but not in heavenlies. So the new creation which was started in Jesus is higher than the old creation started in Adam. We have higher dominion, capable of higher level of influence. That is why Jesus said that the least of those who are born again is higher in the spiritual realm than John the Baptist (Luke 7:28).
We share in the inheritance of Christ including what the Father restored to him (in glory), which he put aside when he decided to become man (John 17:5). Now restored to all his powers after his resurrection, we shared in them since we are his body (Ephesians 1:22-23). We are sons of God. We are eternal joint-heirs with Christ. He is the head and we are the body, and his eternal bride (Ephesians 5:22-26).
When someone decided to give a lecture titled: God is dead, God was not moved at all, because it is in a way man’s verdict on his relationship with God, which was dead, and a tacit acknowledgement of the need for God.
The man who is blind and does not know it thinks that everywhere is black. So from the point of view of man it may seem that God is dead but it is man than is dead, and needs life, which only God can give, and he has done so in Christ (1John 5:11).
- A gift to you: the key to healing the sick and suffering (citizenheaven.wordpress.com)
- We Are the Sons of God (codybateman.org)
- R.T. Kendall on the Stigma of the Virgin Birth (blackchristiannews.com)
- He Is Our Abba (pastorht.wordpress.com)
- The Promise to Abraham Fulfilled in Christ (modeoflife.org)
- Heirs with Christ (hkuicf.wordpress.com)