Luke 15:19: I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’
You can be born a son, but you have to be made a servant. You are born again becoming a child of God in an instant but you need to be trained to be a servant.
In your spirit you are born again, but in your soul which is descriptive of your ongoing development as a human being, Paul says it needs to be renewed, it needs to go through changes, it needs to be remade (Romans 12:1-2). We need help to become better, over time, but we became born again in a moment.
Even Paul said that he still strived to be more for God than before (Romans 15:20). In spiritual service there is always something to stretch to.
Paul said at the end of his life that he has finished his course, he had served God fully (2Timothy 4:7). He was not serving God to seek approval (we have been approved in Jesus, with his righteousness) but to seek his agenda, to seek to do his will, being one with him.
He said woe is me if I preach not the gospel, adding that he was not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). He commonly refers to himself as the servant of Jesus, i.e. a bond slave (Philippians 1:1). A slave which does not have a choice by choice.
In the overarching emphasis on grace in the church there seems to be no place for being a bond slave. The speakers seek to paint all other perspectives of truth as the wrong one and that theirs is the only right one.
The message of grace is good, but to be a servanthood you need some grit, and we need a grace that gives grit. We know it is God who works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure but we still need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13).
Paul said that he had been given the abundant of grace through Jesus, but he added that he laboured more than others (1Corinthians 15:10), but was quick to say that it was not him but the grace of God which was with him.
Whatever you think, there is some work involved in grace. What you take all the work out of grace, then it is empty, and servanthood is about work, putting your body under to deliver on divine objectives (1Corinthians 9:27). The grace preachers act as if your will is important, only the right confession, but the right confession without the right action (steps) is dead, just as the faith without works is dead.
What then will be the basis of reward in heaven, if not what we have done in the flesh? We do not get rewarded for being born again, we are born again based on the blood of Jesus, but we get rewarded for being good and faithful servants (Matthew 25:21), and that has to do with some work. Paul said that he puts his body under so that after he has done the will of God he will not be a castaway, and no one preached grace more than him.
You are still responsible for the decision you make, hence the need to yield to the Holy Spirit. It is written: as many as are led by the Holy Spirit they are the Son of God (Romans 8:14). The more you are led or that you yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit, the more you are manifesting as son of God.
There are three levels of divine sonship that we can exhibit as depicted in the story of Jesus. Jesus was born Son of God.
When the Angel Gabriel came to Mary saying to him that the child she will bear will be called the son of the highest (Luke 1:32). Even at the age of twelve (to avoid any confusion after for those who will want to claim that it was when the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus at the time he was baptised in water by John that he became the son of God) he told his parents that I must go about my father’s business, meaning God (Luke 2:49).
That level of sonship is sonship as identity. It is the level of sonship in which you still needed to explain to people that you are a son just as Jesus explained to his parents that he was a son of God.
But later Jesus will say to the people that the very works of miracles he performed testify about who he is. He does not need too long explanation. When John the Baptist sent people to him, asking: are you the one or shall we look for another? He said, the miracles I do, says it all.
This second level of sonship is the servant sonship, which for example was exhibited when he was at the pool of Bethesda and healed only one man (John 5:1-12). He was acting on instruction, he said: what I do is what my father wants me to do (John 8:28, 12:49-50, 6:38). This is servanthood at his peak the sonship of obedience, sonship being about allowing yourself to be led, guided by the Holy Spirit and doing supernatural works.
The third level is manifested/declared sonship. The bible says that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead.
The first level of sonship is “who we are,” the second level: “what we do as servants of God,” while the third is what we are made into with a resurrected body in the order of the resurrected Christ at his second coming.
John wrote that we do not yet know what we would be like, but when Jesus appears in his second coming, we will become as he is (1John 3:1-2).
The first level of sonship corresponds to receiving Jesus, while the second has to do with receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit in power, just as it was with Jesus. We await our third level of sonship.
In the focus verse the young rebellious son was asking to be made a servant. Gone was his obnoxiousness, pride, his demands of his rights, he desire for freedom, now he wants to be under the roof of the father, under his influence, he wants to be under control.
He has tasted the fruit of his self-will, in sharing the meal of pigs and now he wants the will of the father (Luke 15:11-32). He knows that what he missed about the father was the love, provision, unconditional acceptance and favourable attention, contrary to his experience in the foreign land where the attention he got was because of his money.
Jesus walked on the earth as a servant of God as it was prophesied about him (Isaiah 53:11). He was bound to the will of the father. He said: I must do the work of him who sends me while it is day, the night comes when no man can work (John 9:1-5).
The servant has a work mentality, and a key part of the work is waiting upon the Lord. If he is the Lord then we are the servants. We do his bidding. But the true servant do not come up with their own assignments, they wait on the Lord and move as he bids them.
The children of Israel were in error for not doing the desire of God. When God wanted them to move to the Promised Land, they decided that was not a good idea and God said that they will die as wanderers there. But they changed their minds regretting their act of complaint and set out for the land, but they were slaughtered before the enemy and ran back (Numbers 14:26-45).
So it is not about if something is a good idea, but is it a God idea? It is not if it is a fantastic idea, is it a divine idea? It is not about what God has said, but what is He saying?
Jesus said that man shall not live by food alone by every word that proceeds for the mouth of God (Luke 4:1-4). What is the word proceeding from the mouth of God for you sustenance, your fulfilment, success, satisfaction this year, this month, this week, and today? We live based on the word of God, and we serve based on that.
- The Christological Hymn of Colossians 1 (liberatinglions.wordpress.com)
- His Son In Me (theologywreck.net)
- Sonship in the Book of Romans (afellowpartaker.wordpress.com)
- September 25 (bookministry.wordpress.com)
- Sonship (hiking2christ.org)
- Spiritual Maturity (busolajegede.wordpress.com)
- Never Again: The Power of One Little Word (siggit81.wordpress.com)
- Slavery vs. Sonship: (peculiarbeat.com)