Marks of Sonship
Evening service follow-up of a sermon on adoption, February 3, 2008
Those who have been adopted by God and are now part of his family are marked in a particular way as being part of God’s family.
I. An interest in God’s love – some call it God’s peculiar love.
a. I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17:23
i. Just think for a minute what Jesus is saying here. Did you catch it? Jesus says here that God loved us (his disciples) even as he has loved Jesus. This is quite a statement isn’t it? But our adoption as sons and daughters allows us to know this kind of love.
b. and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:5-8
i. We are probably all familiar with this passage. But let’s put it in the context of being adopted. Notice when it was that Christ died for us. When was it? That’s right. While we were still helpless and in 5:8 he says that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
So the first mark of sonship is an interest in God’s love. Now the second mark of sonship is our newly found spiritual nature.
II. A partaker in the divine nature
a. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 2 Peter 1:4
i. Peter was praising God in this passage just as Paul is in Ephesians 1. Peter is speaking of God’s precious and magnificent promises and Paul speaks of great spiritual blessings.
ii. Peter says ‘for by these’, referring to God’s divine power and his call upon our lives, God has given us a new nature. A spiritual nature.
b. Where were you spiritually before you were saved? Listen to how Paul describes where we were before Christ in Ephesians 2:1-3. And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
i. We are also called children of wrath, it is said that we lived in the domain of darkness, and what does Paul say in 1 Corinthians 2:14?
1. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.1 Corinthians 2:14
2. We can see that we had no part of God’s nature before Christ. But it is a mark of the sons and daughters of God that we are now able to understand spiritual things because we are partakers of the divine nature.
III. We live as children of the King. Living as a child of the king includes…
a. Obedience - As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 1 Peter 1:14
b. Walking in truth - I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. 2 John 4
c. Rom. 8:15–21 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Romans 8:15-21
i. What are the marks of sonship in this passage?
d. Gal. 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
e. and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.Hebrews 2:15
i. what is the slavery talked about here? Slavery to sin, the law.
ii. As sons we have a responsibility to live as God’s children.
IV. Protection, consolation, and provision
a. Luke 12:27–32 “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! “And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. “For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
b. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18
i. What does this mean to a son or daughter of God?
c. 2 Cor. 1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:4
d. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
V. Fatherly discipline
a. Heb. 12:5–11 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Hebrews 12:5-11
VI. We have a glorious inheritance
a. and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:17
b. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:23
c. James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? James 2:5
d. Phil. 3:21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. Philippians 3:21