Updated: May 17, 2019
“Sonship” is a shorthand term to describe those who are no longer children in the spiritual, but adult-like. A Jewish boy became a man when he turned 30 years of age; note that this was the age when Jesus was declared to be “God’s Son”:
“You are beloved My Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:32-33)
This was also the age that David was anointed as King over Israel. It was from this point that David truly began to reign:
"David was thirty years old when he began to reign, he reigned forty years" (2 Sam 5:4).
“Sons” are therefore believers (of either gender) who have come to a place of spiritual and soul maturity and are set on a particular course of action. In the case of Jesus it was His messiahship; in the case of David it was as king. Sons are no longer babes but full-grown in both character and nature.
Because of this, those who aim for a “higher call” should be aware that Sons need to pursue spiritual protocols that will enable them to incarnate the truths of He who alone is Truth. (A protocol is simply an agreement or course of action). So those who hunger for the “meat” of spiritual life will need to have a protocol or agreement to what is Biblically required. Some of the following principles from Scripture will assist us to see this.
Sons must be Father-pleasers. They must not be self seeking, neither act out of rejection, nor pursue their own ministry; they must not separate themselves from the brethren, or harbour hurts and grudges, no matter how justified they are or feel. Sons must learn to “bear one another’s burdens”. Like the Sons of the Resurrection they need to know their eternal destiny, and the spiritual nature with which they have been impregnated :
"...for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection". (Luke 20:36)
The Hebraist phrase, “sons of the resurrection” defines “sons of God” not in respect of character but nature; “being the children of the resurrection” to an un-decaying existence; and thus the children of their Father’s immortality.
1. Sons are led by the Holy Spirit
(Romans 8:14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
2. Sons must be willing to be sacrificed
(Romans 8:32) He who did not withhold even His own Son, but gave Him up for all of us, will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
3. Sons are related to heirship
(Galatians 4:7) So that you no more are a slave, but a son, and if a son, also an heir of God through Christ.
4. Sons have to learn what obedience is
(Hebrews 5:8) Although He was God's Son, yet He learned obedience from the sufferings which He endured.
5. Sons are sent forth, and willing to go
(1 Corinthians 4:17) For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
(Galatians 4:4) But, when the time was fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born subject to Law.
(Philemon verses 10-12) God's love for us has been manifested in that He has sent His only Son into the world so that we may have Life through Him.
(1 John 4:9) I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains… I am sending him back. You therefore receive him, that is, my own heart.
6. Sons are linked to glory
Hebrews 2: 10 For it was fitting that He for whom, and through whom, all things exist, after He had brought many sons to glory, should perfect by suffering the Prince Leader who had saved them.
7. Sons must be willing to be chastened
(Hebrews 12:5-7) And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
8. Sons must be proven in their character
(Philippians 2:22) But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.
9. Sons pass on the Father’s purpose to others
(2 Timothy 2:1-2) You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
10. Sons are foundational in building
(Genesis 4:17) Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.
(Revelation 21:14) And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
11. Sons are to be strong in grace
(2 Timothy 2:1) You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
12. Sons are linked to resurrection power
(Romans 1:4) ...who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.
13. Sons are inseparably connected to revelation
(Galatians 1:16) ...to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood.
14. Sons receive the Holy Spirit in intimacy
(Galatians 4:6) Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
15. Sons are faithful to their call
(Hebrews 3:6) ...but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house,whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence...
16. Life is associated with those in Sonship
(1 John 5:11-12) God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
Some distinctive features associated with “Sonship:
Sons of God are early targets for “hits” by the enemy to kill them before their destiny is complete. (eg: Moses, Jesus).
They are content in all circumstances (eg: Moses, Joseph, Jesus, Paul).
Sons are falsely accused, and then often persecuted.
Sons “know” the wilderness and how to persevere in it, waiting their time to come forth.
True Sons of God are patient and persevering.
They don’t have to try to vindicate themselves in the eyes of men.
Sons are often found in isolated places, unknown and unrecognised.
They know only too well the place of imprisonment and confinement, yet do not despise it.
Sons of God therefore have peculiar Biblical qualities about their character. They are mature in both spirit AND soul. They have leant to be dependent entirely upon their Head, Jesus Christ. Whilst they love the brethren, they SERVE only Christ. They are not man-pleasers, but Father pleasers.
The Biblical principles we have looked at earlier are the Protocols, the agreement based entirely upon Biblical truths. Any who desire to move on into the greater realms of Life will need to AGREE in their mind with these facts.
They will also need to LIVE these truths as realities from out of the inner man, and as such evidence that “Sonship” has truly taken hold of their spirit.
Living, or pretending to live as Sons when we are in fact still debating it within, will only bring frustration and death of expectancy. Neither will lead us to be fruitful spiritually speaking.
Let us therefore press on to the Higher Calling (Philp. 3: 14) and by living out of our spirit-man evidence the wonderful maturity of Soul and Spirit that has been granted us by our Heavenly Father — that He might receive the glory and that we may be well pleasing to Him in all things!