Maybe instead of calling it “Bible Study”, we might consider it to be a “S.T.E.P.” in the right direction. That could be an acronym for a coupleof things: the Sonship Transformation Exploration Project, or even the Satanic Termination and Eviction Process. A couple of things must go on – one of them very empowering, the other very freeing! Both absolutely necessary.
John 1:12 somehow always surprises and calls to me whenever I read it. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” It’s an amazing thought. Not one of those things you can take lightly once it impacts your awareness.
It also makes me think that too many of us only see ourselves as “believers”, but not much more than that when it comes right down to it. We “receive” Jesus. We “believe” on His name. But what does that mean? And where does it go from there?
There’s so much more! We may feel a sentimental rush when we sing that little chorus, “To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus, all I ask, to be like Him…” Yet do we consider that this is not only within the realm of possibility, but actually one of the big reasons for being a Christian? To actually become a son of God!
And didn’t Jesus promise, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12)
The first time I encountered these verses (or maybe they were encountering me) I had to wonder, Am I missing something here? There seems to be so much more in the way of powerful, transformative experience that goes with being a “believer”! I think I need to check this out!
The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, it turns out, took on some really dynamic implications in light of becoming a son of God… or maybe being restored to sonship through His redemptive work, His teaching, and the Holy Spirit’s input in the process of salvation – being made into sons.
Romans 8:19 reveals that “the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” (NASB) It appears that the creation itself is anxiously awaiting the revelation of not only the Firstborn Son Jesus, but the rest of the sons of God – His “younger siblings” we might say – to whom He gives the power to become as He was in this world. This is in order for all of creation to be set free from slavery to corruption “into the freedom of the glory of the children of God”! Kind of a bigger picture than we’re used to considering.
Jesus is always about the Father’s business – ransoming, freeing, and restoring God’s children in order for us to participate likewise in the same thing for the entire creation. That’s a tall order!
This is a spectacular bit of news! In fact much of the entire chapter of Romans 8 has to do with our becoming “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ”! It is also pointed out that this process does not come about through being some sort of spiritual couch potato, but through mortification of the deeds of the body, and through suffering. This may be where darkness experiences its eviction!
This isn’t a real popular idea these days, but it’s one of many of the big “if” in this chapter. Mortification has to do with the mind set on the spirit, not on the “flesh” nature or finite self and its agendas for “happiness”. To “mortify” means to subdue – to put to death – the desires rooted in the sin nature not only through self-denial and discipline, but by realizing that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us. God is doing a work in us through suffering!
It’s an attitude that begins in the mind “set on” and motivated by the Holy Spirit, who testifies with our spirit that we are children of God – as we see God at work transforming us into sons through the darker aspects of our lives. Nothing separates us from our Father’s Love! Even the sufferings of our times, 2000 years after the Bible events of Jesus’ life and the early church and the Apostles’ writings, take on a sacred meaning in light of all this!
Somehow I think this is an understanding that’s gotten lost in a worldly-minded Christianity focused on what feels good as being exclusively “God’s will” for us…
Strange. If Jesus had embraced that idea, there would have been no Cross and no redemption. Have we considered that in this light before? “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10)
Could we dare to go as far as to look upon the “negative” events in our life as a kind of experiential co-crucifixion, cleansing us and preparing for an infilling of the Holy Spirit, the likes of which we have never seen, in preparation for becoming sons of God?
Something to consider, especially during Lent, as we focus upon our Lord’s Passion!
(PS: (Sonship is the theme of an upcoming Bible Study we’ll be hosting soon. Details and dates forthcoming!)