Theme: Sonship (Part 2)
(Key Verses: Gen 25:19-21)
The scriptures call Abraham “the father of us all” and in that Abraham is a type of our heavenly Father who inspires us to seek Him through the faith of Jesus and obediently follow in His righteousness which comes through that faith (Rom 3:22; Rom 4:12; Rom 9:7-8):
Rom 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.
Isa 51:1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
Isa 51:2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.
Through Abraham, this type of fatherhood is explained to us so that we can understand the way our heavenly Father cares for all in the generation of the first Adam, but more especially for His elect:
1Ti 4:9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
1Ti 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
Like Abraham, we are called to separate from our fleshly kindred and to labour and suffer reproach as we learn about His all-important spiritual inheritance which is given to God’s spiritual sons “who first trusted in Christ”:
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Abraham’s life of faith and his sojourning in Canaan reflects our own spiritual experiences and journeys to take possession of the spirit life in Christ. Spiritual sonship is also typified in Abraham’s offspring through Isaac (Rom 9:7):
Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
Heb 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Spiritual sonship is a foundational theme in the book of Genesis and it is the major purpose of God with all mankind in the generation of the first Adam (Gen 2:4). Through the lives of Isaac and his offspring, the essence and dynamics of spiritual sonship is further developed for us, as this theme is also more detailed in the sum of God’s Word. Isaac is a type of Jesus, in this sense, as Jesus’ relationship with His Father is pictured through the relationship between Abraham and Isaac. In Jesus, the beloved Son of God, will all be accepted eventually as spiritual sons of God at the appointed time (1Co 15:22; Col 1:13; 2Pe 1:17; 1Jn 4:14-15; 1Jn 5:9-11):
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
Heb 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.
God is in the process of forming spiritual sons who will be according to the spiritual image of His Son Jesus Christ. The reason for the creation of this temporary evil carnal eon is to humble us and prepare all in the first Adam to become spiritual sons of God (Ecc 1:13). This is the desire or will of God and He will succeed 100% through this strange work of God which few are given to understand in this age (Isa 28:21; Isa 55:8-11; Isa 46:10). The first Adam is an important part of this process of becoming sons of God, and no-one will know Jesus in spirit unless they can see the first Adam and his function in them (Joh 3:3-6; 2Th 2:3-4):
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become [Greek aorist tense indicating a process] the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
But we also need to see Jesus fulfilling both these positions, as the son of man and the son of God, as He declared that He is indeed the first and the last (Rev 1:11; Rev 1:17; Rev 22:13). The Father has established in Jesus the double portion which is the rulership in the generation of the physical Adam and rulership in the generation of the spiritual Adam, which are also the two eons through which Jesus will make spiritual sons to the glory of the Father (Eph 1:10; Php 2:9-11; Joh 1:1-4; 1Co 15:22-28; Heb 1:5-9). For this reason God appointed Jesus to be worshipped as such by all in this creation (Heb 1:6-7). But this creation is subjected to corruption from the hand of the Creator from the beginning, while Jesus was given incorruption (the fullness of God’s spirit):
Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Rom 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption [Greek: “uihothesia”], to wit, the redemption of our body.
The worldly concept of adoption is not expressing the scriptural viewpoint of sonship (Greek: “uihothesia”), as this word “adoption” also causes much confusion. We are not taken into a foster parent’s house in the process of becoming sons of God. We are taken from our original state of corruption in the fleshly house of darkness of the first Adam as per God’s design, into the house of Light of our heavenly Father. Spiritual sonship is not our first estate, but the end result of a process of being born again in Christ, the Son of God:
Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.
This position of sonship in God’s kingdom is what the faith of Christ works now in those whom the Father chose before the foundation of the world to receive this spiritual sonship first:
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children [Greek: “uihothesia”] by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.
According to Dr. James Strong’s explanation of this Greek word “uihothesia”, it is formed from two concepts being “uihos” (meaning “a son”) and a derivative of “tithēmi”, which is a ‘prolonged form’ for the Greek word for God, namely “theō” or “theos”. “Tithēmi” therefore has to do with the positioning or placing of a person by God in His spiritual family or kingdom (Joh 6:44). We naturally have no place in that spiritual kingdom (1Co 15:50). Here we have a verse to clearly express what is meant by “uihos” and then also what the concept of “uihothesia” scripturally implies:
Rev 12:5 And she [the woman connected to the earth/wilderness] brought forth a man child [Greek: “uihos”], who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
This man child is the “uihos” who is given rulership and authority over all nations, as this man child initially refers to Jesus Christ. This “uihothesia” is therefore those who have been given a higher authority in Christ, who is the mature son (the “uihos”) of the Father because He was given the fullness of God’s spirit from His creation (Joh 3:34; Col 1:19; Col 2:9). The “uihothesia” are those elected by God to be the first to be seated with Christ in God’s kingdom as the mature sons of God. This is the positon of those who has the mind of Christ and has been given dominion over sin, even while in a fleshly body (Rom 6:14):
Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
This all links with the inheritance in type which God promised Abraham, even through Isaac, the son “by promise”:
Gal 3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Gal 4:23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
“…by promise” is the only way anyone will receive the spiritual inheritance from the Father in this life. Spirit life is now given in downpayment through the faith of Christ, but it is already exceeding anything in this physical creation (Luk 24:49; Act 1:4; Act 2:33; Eph 1:13-14; Gal 3:14). God only works through faith, and this is a hard lesson for all of us to learn who become so attached to physical solutions and “the arm of flesh”, as our natural instinct is always aligned to what mankind supplies (2Ch 32:7-8).
Jer 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
Abraham was the man of faith and was given two sons initially – the firstborn was Ishmael, who was born of a concubine named Hagar, who was a slave from Egypt in his household. Ishmael was about fourteen years old when Isaac was born, revealing to us that the fleshly offspring is first on the scene and matures much quicker than the spiritual offspring – this is why this physical connection is so strong in us (Gen 17:21; Gen 17:24-25; Gen 21:5). Isaac was the offspring “by promise” through Sarah, the “free woman”. Abraham, like all of us, was attached to the flesh and wanted Ishmael to live before God (Gen 17:18):
Gen 21:12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad [Ishmael], and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Ishmael and his offspring in us are also seen in the way Christ first comes to us in fleshly form (2Co 5:16; Gal 4:25). Many indeed receive Christ in His fleshly ministry, but very few are given to receive Him in His spiritual ministry in this age:
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
The “many” are referred to as babes in Christ as they are inspired by the fleshly blessings they receive in Christ, and these are still their primary concern:
1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes [Greek: “nepios”] in Christ.
The focus of the “nepios” is also on causing divisions and strife through fleshly comparisons, among other problems the struggle with, as some in the Corinthian church:
1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
The spiritual Christ is not yet formed in these “little children” who still attached themselves to the weak and beggarly elements of the world:
Gal 4:19 My little children [Greek: “teknion”] of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.
God inspired the “uihos” to travail in birth with these little children in showing patience and much physical affection (this is what “teknion” means) until the spiritual Christ is formed in them. But the spiritual inheritance of God rests now on the “uihos” in Christ who are clearly distinguished from others as these verses clearly indicate:
Rev 12:5 And she [the woman connected to the earth/wilderness] brought forth a man child [Greek: “uihos”], who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child [Greek: “teknon”] was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children [Greek: “teknon”] of God:
Rom 8:17 And if children [Greek: “teknon”], 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.
The Greek word “teknon” relates very closely with the “uihos” as God’s offspring who He is elevating to a deeper and higher understanding of spiritual things in Christ, which is also referred to as being seated in heaven – having the mind of Christ (Eph 2:6; 1Co 2:16). Many find these different stages of spiritual growth offensive as if there is a carnal hierarchy at work, which is not true. The “uihos” is called to “reasonable service” to others which is quite the opposite to what the worldly concept of elevation is (Rom 12:1). Service in the kingdom of God is to give your life in ministry to others through the inspirational work of Christ:
Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
Mat 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
Mat 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Mat 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Spirit life will eventually be given to all in the generation of the first Adam, but now it is only reserved for those whom God humbles to take up their cross and bear His reproach “without the camp” (Heb 13:13). Humility comes only through fiery trials in order to be glorified together with Him in service to others:
Rom 8:17 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.
Those who can receive chastening and judgment on their sins and transgressions are brought to glory through those sufferings, and that is how we see God’s face in glory – “mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” (Exo 33:17-20; Col 3:1-5). Only these humbled sons of God can receive correction because of the teachable spirit of Christ in them:
Heb 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children [Greek: “uihos”], My son [Greek: “uihos”], despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son [Greek: “uihos”], whom he receiveth.
Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons [Greek: “uihos”], for what son [Greek: “uihos”] is he whom the father chasteneth not?
This is how we will all access our inheritance in the spirit when we are ready to receive it:
Heb 2:10 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.
It is only when our heavens are opened through the baptism of fiery trials that we are enabled to see spiritual things, as testified in Christ after His baptism, and then the Father is only pleased with the mature sons:
Luk 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
Luk 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son [Greek: “uihos”]; in thee I am well pleased.
Isaac is revealed in scripture as the beloved son of Abraham who displayed obedience and submission. Even when his father wanted to sacrifice him, there was no resistance:
Gen 22:7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
Gen 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
Gen 22:9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
Isaac was “brought as a lamb to the slaughter” as a type of Christ being the Lamb of God showing mature sonship in accepting the Father’s will and His fiery judgment above his own will and desire (Isa 53:7; Mat 26:39; Mat 26:42; Mat 26:44). This judgment is on the household of Christ now, and it is the place of pressure and tribulations where all the mature disciples will follow Jesus, as this will be “according to custom” of Jesus (1Pe 4:17; 1Jn 4:17):
Luk 22:39 And going out, according to His custom, He went to the Mount of Olives. And His disciples also followed Him.
Luk 22:40 And when He was at the place, He said to them, Pray that you do not enter into temptation.
Luk 22:41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw. And He kneeled down and prayed,
Luk 22:42 saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done.
Even when Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to God’s commandment, God has given Abraham the faith that Isaac will be raised from the dead (Heb 11:17-19):
Gen 22:15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
Gen 22:16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
Gen 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
Gen 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
Although the context of a land was part of God’s covenant with Abraham, the inseparable promise of sonship through whom the whole earth will be blessed is tying it all together. God repeated this promise of sonship directly to Isaac after Abraham’s death:
Gen 26:2 And the LORD appeared unto him [Isaac], and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
Gen 26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
Gen 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Gen 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Isaac is reminded of Abraham’s obedience to the commandments of God and how God will fulfil this promise of numerous offspring through Isaac. God ordained that the faith of Christ, our spiritual Father, will be the way to please God and through this faith of Christ sonship matures (Heb 11:6). This sonship is what Isaac brings to us in type as we read about his life in the scriptures. Isaac married Rebekah when he was at the age of forty (Gen 25:19-20). But Rebekah was like her mother-in-law, Sarah, barren initially:
Gen 25:21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him….
Isaac “intreated the Lord” for twenty years in prayer and did not seek a quick way out. His focus was on the Giver of life, and he learned from His father that consulting with flesh is not the way God wants His true sons to go. Those who are sons of God are led by His spirit, which are His words – they do not think or go beyond “that which is written” (1Co 4:6). Like Isaac, they obey God and accept His will in all things:
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons [Greek: “uihos”] of God.
Isaac learned that faith waits and is patient, even as love is the obeying and doing of God’s Word, not just the hearing (1Jn 5:2-3):
1Jn 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
1Co 13:4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
1Co 13:5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil;
1Co 13:6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth;
1Co 13:7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
A “uihos” spirit is the spirit of love and of the knowledge of Christ and the Father who will take us out of being childish and encouraging us to progress to spiritual maturity being able to handle the truth of judgement on flesh and the losing of all in this life (Mat 10:38-39):
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son [Greek: “uihos”] of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children [Greek: “nēpios”] tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Spiritual maturity is marked by the love of Christ through the spirit of sonship which is poured in our hearts by the spirit of the Father (Rom 5:5; Rom 8:23; 1Jn 5:1-3):
Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption [Greek: “uihothesia”], whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
In Christ alone we have been made the “adoption of sons” even as we are waiting for the release or redemption from this body of flesh:
Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption [Greek: “uihos”], to wit, the redemption of our body.
Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive [Greek aorist tense = process] the adoption of sons [Greek: “uihothesia”].
Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons [Greek: uihos”], God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son [Greek: “uihos”] into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.