Becoming Sons of God
God offers to adopt us into his family. We actually become sons and daughters of God! We need to understand how this works.
AMP Gal 4;1 NOW WHAT I mean is that as long as the inheritor (heir) is a child and under age, he does not differ from a slave , although he is the master of all the estate; 2 But he is under guardians and administrators or trustees until the date fixed by his father. 3 So we [Jewish Christians] also, when we were minors, were kept like slaves under [the rules of the Hebrew ritual and subject to] the elementary teachings of a system of external observations and regulations. 4 But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to [the regulations of] the Law, 5 To purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us [and be recognized as God’s sons]. 6 And because you [really] are [His] sons, God has sent the [ Holy] Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba (Father)! Father! 7 Therefore, you are no longer a slave (bond servant ) but a son; and if a son, then [it follows that you are] an heir by the aid of God, through Christ.
Christ’s sacrifice not only gives us right standing with God, if we ‘become adults’ the Bible describes our new relationship as heirs & sons of God. When we follow Christ, and we grow beyond childhood we are adopted as full heirs and sons.
I don’t think most Christians today understand what this is means. Most Christians never come of age. They remain forever as children some even as infants.
MSG 1 Peter 2:1 So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. 2 You’ve had a taste of God. 3 Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God. [NLT Growing into a full experience of salvation]
Our call is grow up mature and whole in God by drinking deep of God’s pure kindness. Let’s look at other verses on becoming mature Christians to better understand how we are to drink deep of God’s kindness.
Versus on becoming Mature
There are quite a number of verses that pertain to this discussion. If you prefer you may jump to the summary section below. I’ve highlighed the key sections for emphasis.
NLT Heb 5;7 While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. 8 Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. 9 In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. 10 And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
‘A Call to Spiritual Growth’ [NLT Heb 5 continued]
11 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
Hebrews Chapter 6 (continued)
1 So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. 2 You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.
Infants still need to be taught and to hear the basic things about God’s word [over & over again], but adults ought to be moving forward to further understanding and (sharing) teaching others. Adults through experience and training develop the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
MSG John 15;7 But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. 8 This is how my Father shows who he is-when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
When we are actively absorbing and applying God’s word in our lives we receive three promises. Our prayers will be heard, our lives will yield fruit, and we will mature as disciples.
MSG Col 1;28 We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. 29 That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.
MSG Eph 4:1 In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk-better yet, run!-on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere.
MSG 1Tim 4;13 Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. 14 And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed-keep that dusted off and in use. 15 Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! 16 Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.;
MSG Heb 12;10 While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. 11 At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.
MSG Jam 5;7 Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature , patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. 8 Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time. 9 Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner.
Verses on Seeking one Mind
NLT Eph 4;13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Let’s become the adults that Christ calls us to be. Lets not rely on others to teach us, but take up the role of teacher, not content with listening to others but constantly seeking more understanding, and sharing that understanding with our brothers and sisters, seeking one mind with the body of Christ. In this way we become adults and can claim to be sons and daughters of God.
MSG 2 Tim 2;22 Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness-faith, love, peace-joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. 23 Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. 24 God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, 25 working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, 26 enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.
MSG John 17;21 The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind- Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. 22 The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they’ll be as unified and together as we are- 23 I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence That you’ve sent me and loved them In the same way you’ve loved me.
MSG 1 Cor 10;15 I assume I’m addressing believers now who are mature. Draw your own conclusions: 16 When we drink the cup of blessing, aren’t we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life, of Christ? And isn’t it the same with the loaf of bread we break and eat? Don’t we take into ourselves the body, the very life, of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, our many-ness becomes one-ness-Christ doesn’t become fragmented in us. Rather, we become unified in him. We don’t reduce Christ to what we are; he raises us to what he is.
Other verses on sonship
AMP Rom 8;15 For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship ] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! 16 The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. 17 And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory. 18 [But what of that?] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! 19 For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship ].
NLT 1 John 5;1-5
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Summarizing the Keys to Maturing as Sons of God
As we drink deep of God’s pure kindness we grow up mature and whole in God 1 Peter 2;1
To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less. Col 1;28
Maturity Grows as we apply our spiritual gifts for the body and run on the road God calls us to.
Eph 4;1, 1 Tim 4;13
As we learn from discipline we mature in our relationship with God. Heb 12;10
Turn from infantile indulgence to mature righteousness-faith, love, peace-joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God, Avoid useless arguments, but gently work with those who refuse to obey. 2 Tim 2;22
Remember the standard that you use to judge others will be applied to you. James 5;7
Our goal is to become one heart and mind with each other. John 17;21
Christ doesn’t fragment us, we become unified in him, and he raises us to what he is. 1 Cor 10;15
We share both Christ’s suffering and his glory Rom 8;15
As we mature as sons of God obeying the Commandments will get easier. 1 John 1
We defeat the evil world and achieve victory thru our faith John 5;1
All creation longs for the day that God’s sons will be made known. Rom 8;15
I think the following verse ties many of these issues together and can be used as a starting point. If we are not careful we can fall into the paralysis of analysis, but I thinks this verse starts us in the right direction.
MSG 2 Peter 2;5 So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, 6 alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, 7 warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. 8 With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. 9 Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. 10 So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll have your life on a firm footing, 11 the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I think today’s churches have fallen from the their biblical assignment, the call to servant leadership, to seeking one mind, and to the beleiver gathering command. This discussion is detailed in Lukewarm Churches
May We Become Mature In Our Understanding And Embrace Our Biblical Role, Living As Sons Of God, Our Abba Father & Disciples Of Christ,