Sunday 16 August 2015
Key Passage: Romans 8:14-19
14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. .. 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint- heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”
Although God has many children, He only has few “sons!” This may be shocking to some of you but in strictly New Testament sense, our spiritual birth as God’s children is different from our adoption as His ‘sons.’ Position of Sonship describes a believer who has come to a place of maturity, responsibility, and authority in the family of God.
When Paul spoke of adoption he drew from Roman imagery. It is not only a process whereby a child who was not part of a family becomes a member of that family but the celebration of a child’s coming to full maturity, when he can begin to enjoy the privileges of sonship. To be adopted as a son means to have the full rights of an heir.
While our full adoption is a future reality, we can still enjoy the privileges of sonship in this life. Again, though only male children were adopted as sons in the ancient world, the situation is different in God’s family. Here, both males and females are adopted.
THE PRIVILEGES OF SONSHIP
Sons possess spiritual intelligence: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:14. Children have to depend on external rules for guidance but sons receive guidance from the Holy Spirit that indwells them. “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” 1 John 2:27 (Also see John 16:13).
Sons recognise their special relationship with the Father. “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”” Galatians 4:6. They are not afraid to call God, ABBA, which is similar to the English word Daddy! It describes the intimacy and tenderness that exists between a father and his son. It’s what a Jewish boy would call his father. Interestingly, this was probably the way Jesus addressed His heavenly Father (Mark 14:36). As sons, we no longer cringe in God’s presence but genuinely reverence Him. We are no longer in bondage to rules that only serve to alienate us from God. Some of us grew up with earthly fathers that made us fear their presence. That’s how we view God. We are still ruled by ‘slavery mentality.’ We see God as looking out for our mistakes in order to smack us. Not so anymore. Rather, we can come boldly into His presence knowing that we are His and are always welcome (Hebrews 4:16).
A son is an heir. He has inheritance rights. “And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…” Romans 8:17a (see also Galatians 4:7). In Christ we have obtained an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11). Once a child has been adopted, his former status no longer counts. He may have come from a poor and wretched background but once he has been adopted everything about him is changed. His new status is defined by what his father has. Just imagine what our heavenly Father has.
A son also sticks with his father in good and bad times. “…if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:17b. The mark of a son is that even if he has to endure suffering, he stays in the family, he has nowhere else to go. “And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.” John 8:35 (also see John 6:66-69). A son accepts discipline from his father knowing that it could be his father’s way of training him. “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.” Hebrews 12:7-8.
These are great privileges available to sons. Jesus is the pattern Son. While He was on earth He demonstrated what it means to live as God’s Son. The difference between us and Him is that while He is the Son of God by nature we are by adoption. We can live like Him on this earth. “By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17 NET. (See also 1 John 2:6).
If you don’t know who you are, the devil knows who you are and will take advantage of your ignorance! “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” 2 Corinthians 2:11. He certainly knows about our adoption as sons of God. He can do nothing to destroy it, but he will do everything to make sure that we don’t realise its potency.
If he can get you to doubt your status in God then you won’t be effective in exercising authority over him and his works. For instance, just after the Father had announced concerning Jesus: “You are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22b), satan came shortly after that and said to Jesus: “If You are the Son of God…” (Luke 4:3). What was his intention? Obviously to get Jesus to doubt who He was and thereby diminish His authority.
Satan already had a track record in doing so. At the beginning he came to Eve and said to her: “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” Genesis 3:5. But wasn’t that what they were created to be? “So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27. Satan’s chief weapon has always been deception, if he can’t deceive you then he can’t destroy you!
When you stand against a situation, you must not entertain a doubt about who you are in Christ. Part of the problems we face today is identity crisis. Many people don’t know who they are in Christ. No wonder they are living below Kingdom standards.
MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD
Manifestation means “an act of showing or displaying.” “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].” Romans 8:19. AMP. Clearly, it is saying that nature is waiting for the sons of God to be revealed. The world is waiting for us to come to our place in destiny, otherwise they will continue in bondage, corruption and sufferings.
There are people and situations that are tied to our manifestation. If we remain whining and complaining children they will continue in their hopelessness. Some of our lives are like magnets, if we rise we shall draw other people along with us. We have been redemptively positioned in our families, communities etc. to play certain roles and until we manifest as sons, no one will play those roles. It is when they see us manifesting as sons that they will become interested in the Christ that’s in us. That will be the key to their salvation.
Whenever there is oppression or a challenge, God will be asking: “Are there no sons?” For instance, when Israel’s territory was occupied by foreigners, this was God’s response. “Against the Ammonites. Thus says the Lord: “Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? Why then does Milcom inherit Gad, and his people dwell in its cities?” Jeremiah 49:1. Note that ‘Milcom’ was the demonic principality worshiped by the Ammonites. It was this spirit that had occupied the land that belonged to God’s people because there was no son to challenge it.
For 40 days, Israel and the Philistines were in a stalemate in the valley of Elah (1 Samuel 17). Goliath kept asking Israel to present a man to challenge him in the battle but there was none. Israel’s army was made of wimps, not warriors! They didn’t know who they were – they had lost their identity. The situation was so until David showed up.
He probably was a mere teenager but he knew who he was as a covenant person. He knew that Yahweh was greater than all the false gods of the Philistines. When Goliath began to curse him by dagon, David must have had a good laugh. Was it not the same dagon who fell and broke his neck and limbs before the Mighty God of Jacob? (1 Samuel 5:1-5). Though David lived in the Old Testament, yet he was one man who understood and manifested the Spirit of sonship. He defeated Goliath and took away the reproach from Israel.
Some of us are being threatened with/by gods that are no gods. Let the Spirit of sonship rise up from within us. The greater One is within us (1 John 4:4). Jesus said “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” John 10:19
When we manifest as sons we walk in the original purpose of God in creating man. Adam was referred to by Luke as ‘son of God.’ Luke 3:38. In that position he walked in dominion. He lost it all as a result of the fall. Jesus came as the only begotten Son of God to show us how to live like ‘sons’ in the earth. May God open our understanding to who we are in Christ and enable us by His Spirit to manifest our sonship.