3 dimensions of divine sonship

Deuteronomy 14:1: “You are the sons of the LORD your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness on your foreheads for the dead.

laugh-412038_640Through Jesus we become sons of God (John 1:12). We become changed from being ordinary children of men. Jesus was by nature, by birth Son of God but he chose to be called son of man, so we can be called sons of God. This is because, he became man to restore the “God” in us.

Remember that when God made man and put him in the Garden of Eden, he was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28). He was to represent God on the earth. He was to speak like God, move like God, think like him, but things fell apart with the coming of sin (Genesis 3).

Sin contradicts the nature of God. It made relating with God impossible.  Then it was discovered that man could function optimally alone, away from God and independent. And while Jesus the son of God came on the scene, he modelled what it means to fully function as the image of God even in the sin infested world. He maintained and modelled constant communication with God, expressing dependence, deep knowledge of, and obedience to him.

Dependence

The Son depends on God the father for everything. When we begin to think of God as father, we are able to rest knowing that he will provide. Jesus depended on God for guidance, direction for what to do per time.

There was an open channel of communication between them which was only problematic when he hung on the cross carrying the sins of the world (Mark 15:34). There, again, we saw the true colour of sin as a communication breaker between man and God.

We see in the bible that sin breaks the communication of the healing grace of God to us. James said we need to confess our sin one to another so that we may be healed (James 5:16). Before Jesus healed a paralytic man, he declared to him: your sins are forgiven (Mark 2:1-11). And after he healed a man paralysed for 38years, he told him that he should sin no more, lest something worse comes upon him (John 5:1-14).

While it is wrong to claim that every sickness is as a result of a personal notable sin, as the story of Job showed, it is clear that with the introduction of sin in the world, sickness entered into it. It is hard to imagine sickness in the pre-fall world of the Garden of Eden. It was incongruous.

Jesus was assured of God’s continuing approval because he does always what pleases him. In an expression of dependence on God, Jesus was a praying person.

He did not presume to allow a day to go by without reaching out to the father in prayer. No wonder God reached back to him in power all the time.

Before day, the bible says that he rises up, departing to a solitary place to pray (Mark 1:35). The impression this left in the minds of the apostles was so strong that they later said that they should not allow themselves to be distracted from prayer by any other engagement (Acts 6:4).

Before the grave of Lazarus, he displayed his dependence on God, and by acknowledging him there he glorified him (John 11:1-45). By his prayer there he displayed dependence on God. And Lazarus came from the grave to the amazement of all.

Knowledge

Jesus told the Pharisees: If I say I do not know God I will be a liar like you (John 8:55). He came revealing God. He is the complete revelation of God. And it is in an ongoing relationship with Jesus that we can increase in our knowledge of God. Jesus described himself as the door (John 10:7), the way, and that no one comes to the father except through him (John 14:6). No one comes to know the father except through the embrace of Jesus.

And it is that knowledge that empowers and emboldens us. The knowledge of the father emboldened Jesus to take the radical steps he took. He knew the father was with him every step of the way. When he neared the death on the cross, he said that the disciples will depart from him but the father remained with him (John 16:32).

The knowledge of God in Jesus was not some static mental thing. It emanates from the dynamics of a vital relationship which was facilitated in the place of prayer.

If there was anyone who should not pray, separating himself for hours on end to be alone with the father, it was Jesus, seeing he is God.

But he separated himself physically from other activities and from other human beings to be with the father. When he taught us on prayer he said we need to stay apart, go to our closet and shut the door (Matthew 6:5-6).

That means prayer is primarily a private moment with God. It is spiritual interaction with the father of spirits (Hebrews 12:9).

The notion of private prayer as part of intimate devotion to God was not observed in the Old Testament, but Jesus brought that understanding to the fore. So now we can come to God in the name of Jesus Christ on an individual basis.

We do not come claiming any personal privilege except the one provided by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross of Calvary (Ephesians 2:13). When we know God through the blood we know him in his love, mercy and holiness. And we are therefore enabled to express the same things. The knowledge of God as said earlier is not something static, it is the outflowing of his person to us and through us.

It was the prodigal son’s knowledge of the father’s generosity and abundance, which drew him back when he hit the bottom (Luke 15:17).

Obedience

Jesus exhibited obedience to the father leaving for us an example to follow. Sonship is expressed in dependence on the father, knowledge of the father and obedience to the father.

Jesus was obedient to the point of death and was given a name above every other name (Philippians 2:5-11). Because he expressed the ultimate in obedience, he was given the ultimate in authority, and now his name has to be obeyed.

The son is the representative of the father and not on himself. He actualises the vision of the father, and in this case the heavenly father. God is our father and we owe him obedience. Obeying him is the way we honour him. God asked the children of Israel through Prophet Malachi, if I be a father where is my honour (Malachi 1:6)?

He said some people honour him just with their mouths but their hearts are far from him (Mark 7:6-8). And when it comes to love, Jesus quoting the words of the Old Testament said that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart (Deuteronomy 6:5, Luke 10:24). To explain that that means, he told his disciples: if you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15), you will not look for ways to contravene my will when they have been made very explicit. He said: if you continue in my word you will be my disciple indeed (John 8:31).

As many as are led by the Holy Spirit they are the sons of God, the bible says (Romans 8:14). And to be continually led by the Holy Spirit presupposes that we are continually obeying the leading. The point is when we are faithful with little, we get more (Luke 16:10). Jesus called him the Spirit of truth who will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). But we still have the choice of take the path of truth or to follow lies.

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