Sons of God.
Have we ever fully realized what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God? While the sons are being perfected, it is not expected that the world will understand it, for it is declared that the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. But it is expected of the professed "followers of God as dear children" to understand their relationship to the Father, and to receive instruction from him.
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3:1,2.
"As many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Rom. 8:14. "Begotten sons, waiting for the adoption--full sonship."
The relationship to God as sons, was little, if at all understood, prior to the advent of Jesus Christ in the flesh. "Now this I say, that the heir as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be Lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father; even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world; but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because we are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." Gal. 4:1,7.
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household--family--of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye are also builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit." Eph. 2:19,22.
We see then that the evidence of sonship, is being led by the Spirit; having the spirit of truth to guide us into all truth, bearing witness with our spirit that we are the children of God; 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." Rom. 8:16,17.
Jesus said: "If ye love me, ye will keep my words. Greater love [R51 : page 6] hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command ye. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you." John 15:12,15.
What an inestimable privilege our Father has conferred upon us, that we should be exalted to the glorious position of sons of God; and to know, even here, what our Lord does; by being taught of him. "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in (him) it." 1 John 2:20,27.
We are living in the period of Christ's (Parousia) presence; and consequently near to the time when the sons of God will be glorified; so it comes to us with peculiar force, to heed the injunction of the "disciple whom Jesus loved;" "and now little children, abide in him; that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his (Parousia) presence. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness, is born (begotten) of him." 1 John 2:28,29. "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption--sonship--whereby we cry, Abba, Father. For unto you it is given, in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." Phil. 1:29.
How it strengthens us to "endure hardness;" and to "press forward;" and to rejoice, "inasmuch as, if we are partakers of Christ's sufferings, when his glory shall be revealed, we may be glad also with exceeding joy." 1 Pet. 4:13. "Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Heb. 5:8.
If with him God will freely give us all things; will we not, as sons, share with him as the author of eternal salvation? "The whole creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." Rom. 8:19. At present the world knows them not. As God is love, think you he will have anything but a loving family? We are taught to love the brotherhood; as members of one body to be interested in each other.
The first, of the fruits of the spirit, is Love. We are also taught, by precept and example, to love our enemies. There remaineth these three: faith, hope and love; but the greatest is love.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings; that ye may be blameless and harmless; the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. B. W. K.