On Being Son of God

There once was a person who received the Spirit of God.

With the reception of this Spirit, the man became something he was not before: God’s own son.

Knowing that God was father, and protector, and deliverer, he implored God for deliverance in the face of suffering: Abba! Father!

But deliverance, and entry into glory, would only come after suffering.

This person, of course, is any person who has been united to Christ. This biography of adoption, hope, importunity, suffering, and glory, is Paul’s description of people who have received the Spirit (Rom 8:12-17).

Every Christian.

But perhaps you heard another story?

Perhaps you heard the story of Jesus?

Perhaps you heard the story of Jesus at his baptism being given the Spirit, and the voice from heaven saying, “You are my beloved son?”

Perhaps you got annoyed that I said this was a becoming, rather than an affirmation of what Jesus had been all along?

Perhaps you knew that Abba! Father! was Jesus’ prayer?

Perhaps you recognized that it is Jesus’ suffering that resolves in glory, first of all?

Perhaps we need to be so confused on a more regular basis. Perhaps we have gotten so in the habit of recognizing the bits of Jesus that we imagine to be unrepeatable, utterly unique, that we have missed the opportunities we’re given to recognize that Jesus’ life in relationship to God is a picture of a human life perfectly in step with the Creator.

We receive the Spirit of sonship, because Jesus first was appointed son (cf. Rom 1:4). We are led by the Spirit that led, indeed drove, Jesus into the wilderness and empowered him in a life of kingdom-bringing, death-defeating power. We cry abba, father because we are sons bearing the likeness of the firstborn son. We are heirs of this father because we share our elder brother’s inheritance.

The God who only said “very good” over the creation after the creation of people to mediate God’s own presence to it, did not give up on that plan. It is renewed in “the human, Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5).

10 thoughts on “On Being Son of God”

  1. It makes me really happy to see that there are people who share and understand this view.

    At the same time, it continually grieves me that my Christian friends completely fail to see this, thanks to the imaginary sacred “Trinity” that is worshipped throughout the world (along with penal substitution and all kinds of theological monstrosities), and the way religious authorities are quick to condemn anyone who does not agree with their dogma.

    I can almost feel the same grief behind the words written in this blog post.

    1. “… thanks to the imaginary sacred “Trinity” that is worshipped throughout the world (along with penal substitution and all kinds of theological monstrosities) … ”

      Wait a sec … the two Creeds that are recognized throughout Christendom as core beliefs are Christianity contain the very things that you claim are ‘imaginary’ and ‘monstrosities’. Are you saying that the Creeds are not correct? Do you not recite them at least once in a while at Worship?

      Do you “cross your fingers” when you say them?

      1. Your questions sound like rhetorical ones. I’m not sure I can meaningfully respond to that, as you have already decided that I’m wrong. I hope you realise that your tone reveals that you are offended by my statements. You’re even making presumptuous statements about me without even actually knowing anything about me.

        I hope what I’ve said here is helpful in some way. If not, please don’t bother responding, because I won’t.

        1. I think you could see why anyone who believes in God as trinity would be taken aback when someone calls their belief “imaginary.” Could you elaborate.

          And I agree the question about the creeds was snarky (“do you cross your fingers”), but it is a fair question. By calling the trinity imaginary (not real) are you rejecting the creeds?

          If God is not trinity. well, why not? Why would you call the trinity imaginary? Is there no Holy Spirit? Is that just a fiction? What is your foundation (scriptural backing) for calling trinity “imaginary?”

          2 Corinthians 13:13 would be a trinitarian benediction. What is Paul saying there? Is that not a hint of God relating and existing in 3 ways?

          1. It takes a good degree of epistemological awareness for one to realise just how many made-up assumptions foreign to scripture are required to support a Trinitarian perspective.

            Doctrines like “trinity” and “penal substitution” are essentially made-up frameworks that religious authorities of the past have imposed upon scripture. Those perspectives don’t actually exist in scripture.

            Epistemology / hermeneutics is extremely important, and without the awareness thereof, people easily read scripture and come to all kinds of fantastical conclusions that don’t actually originate from the text itself.

  2. Daniel, it is because of posts like this one I continue to follow you. The implications of what you’re saying are enormous. I’ve contended for years that Christ is defined by Jesus, but not confined to Jesus. Almost every time the verb “preach the gospel” is used in the N.T. it is in the middle voice. I was wondering if you were aware of that, and if so how do you challenge your students with that understanding.

  3. I wonder what your understanding of Colossians 1:15-20 is? And also Philippians 2:6-11. These passages present Christ as pre-existent (Col. 1:16; Phil. 2:6). How do these verses fit with your statement that the man “became something he was not before?”

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