What It Means to Be Full-Fledged Sons of God

by Wayne Barber

What It Means to Be Full-Fledged Sons of God

The Scriptures teach us that we are no longer "slaves" but because of faith in Christ Jesus we are "sons of God." Believers don't seem to realize what this means. In Galatians 3:26, the Apostle Paul makes his most dramatic statement concerning the relationship we have with Christ, as believers: "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." Then he carries this subject into chapter 4 and compares it to living as a slave in 4:7: "Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God." Wow! We are no longer slaves to a law that demands our performance and then condemns our every effort! Instead, we are "sons" of a God who loves!

To begin with, he uses the word huioí for sons in Galatians 3:26 and 4:7. This is the word for "mature sons"-a point at which none of us has yet arrived-but Paul uses it to show that nevertheless, in Christ, we have the full privileges of mature sons in God's family. That in itself is awesome! But there is so much in this word huiós, "son." The eternal destiny we all have as "sons" of God is built into this word!

There are other words to describe God's children. For instance, there is the word tekníon, which is simply a birth child of someone, one who bears the image of his parents. There is neâpios, which is a baby that can't walk or talk. There is paidíon, which is a child that is growing and is in need of instruction.

But huiós stresses the integrity of the relationship. It is the mature child that is one with the father, both in desire and in action. Jesus is always the Huiós of God. He is never the tekníon of God. He is never the paidíon of God, nor the neâpios of God. He is always the Huiós of God. He is always totally in sync with the Father.

And, praise God, here in Galatians 3:26, we are called the huioí of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Not neâpios as in 1 Corinthians 3:1; not paidíon as in Hebrews 2:13; not tekníon as in Galatians 4:28. By describing us as huioí, we can see that there is a process that began when we were saved. We are destined to one day be in total oneness with Him and to rule and reign with Him for all eternity in total oneness with Him.

In Eph. 1:5 Paul says, "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will." The word for adoption is the word huiothesía. It comes from two words; huiós and títhemi, which means "to place"; hence, to place someone into sonship. We are predestined to sonship.

And Romans 8:23 adds: "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" (cf. also Rom. 8:19). This shows that "adoption," or "sonship," has not been completed yet experientially. There is a future promise to those who are sons. It is connected here, in Romans 8, with the "redemption of the body." There is a day coming for all believers, when we will receive a glorified body. That will be the crowning moment of our being "sons of God."

First Corinthians 13:8-12 informs us that "…we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away…For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known." One day we will stand as the mature sons of God. We will fully know, and fully love Him as He has fully known us and has fully loved us. So we see that our being sons of God is a journey that begins at salvation and takes us on into eternity future.

This is why we go and preach. We want believers to know "who they are and whose they are" in Christ. Keep praying for us-Wayne and Diana-and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.