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).

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