BUILDING UP THE BROTHERHOOD
March 26, 2015
From the beginning of this ministry, we focused on sonship with God. Most of the articles on this site in some way relate to being sons of God, brothers to one another, and in line to inherit our Father’s belongings – the heavenly kingdom. Of course, there are many other subjects that can be discussed such as immortality of the soul, the trinity, end-time prophecies, evolution vs. creation, hell fire, demons, etc. And yet we choose to focus on sonship. Why?
We focus on sonship because sonship is more than a mere doctrine. Sonship is identity. It answers the most basic and pressing questions of man, namely, Who are we? Why are we here? And where are we going? Sonship is the key to life, the key to freedom, and the key to a new era of enlightenment – the next religious frontier!
The Key to Life
When we look out into the universe, we realize that our planet is infinitesimally small compared to the vastness out there. Our planet is in a remote area, so very, very far from what is believed to be the center or origin of the universe. It is quite humbling. We appear to be so insignificant that many in the scientific community believe we are a cosmic accident, and thus on our own, subject to another cosmic accident that will extinguish us. But sonship reveals that we are not a cosmic accident, and though we are small, we are not insignificant!
By means of sonship with God, the vast universe that we are able to observe from afar is our inheritance. (Romans 8:17; Philippians 3:14; 1 Peter 1:3-4) When our time on earth is complete, the sons of God will venture into the heavens to see and experience up close and personal the things that scientists can only speculate about. It is the Father’s purpose that man first be flesh and blood and then later become spirit. The Apostle Paul explained this in this letter to the congregation in Corinth:
“So it is with the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised up in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised up in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised up in power. It is sown a physical body; it is raised up a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living person.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, what is spiritual is not first. What is physical is first, and afterward what is spiritual. The first man is from the earth and made of dust; the second man is from heaven. Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust; and like the heavenly one, so too are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we will bear also the image of the heavenly one.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:42-49
So in order to receive our heavenly inheritance, we must be changed from flesh and blood to spirit. The mortal body is not capable of living off the planet.
“But I tell you this, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s Kingdom, nor does corruption inherit incorruption.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:50
The sons of God will be given new bodies after death, bodies that are capable of surviving out in the heavenly universe:
“Look! I tell you a sacred secret: We will not all fall asleep in death, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, during the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised up incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this which is corruptible must put on incorruption, and this which is mortal must put on immortality.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:51-53
Those who do not accept or who reject sonship will complete their life adventure as do animals and that will be the end of that. (Psalms 146:4) It is as Jesus said: “the flesh is of no use at all.” (John 6:63) By its very nature, the flesh is inherently corruptible and perishable, just like everything else on this planet. No matter how much one may hope to live forever in the fleshly body, it is utterly impossible!
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, on the things of the spirit. For setting the mind on the flesh means death, but setting the mind on the spirit means life and peace; because setting the mind on the flesh means enmity with God, for it is not in subjection to the law of God,nor, in fact, can it be. So those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God.”
– Romans 8:5-8
However, sonship gives mankind hope. As mortals, born of woman, we are by nature sons of man, not sons of God. But the Father has promised to eventually adopt those sons of man who desire it, and make them spirit sons of God. It was his purpose even before our planet was formed:
“Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in union with Christ, as he chose us to be in union with him before the founding of the world, that we should be holy and unblemished before him in love. For he foreordained us to be adopted as his own sons through Jesus Christ, according to his good pleasure and will.”
– Ephesians 1:3-5
Until our adoption to become “spirit sons of God” with incorruptible imperishable bodies, we have the privilege of being called “faith sons of God” by means of our faith in Christ Jesus:
“You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus.”
– Galatians 3:26
“However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.”
– John 1:12
The Father gives his faith sons a ‘token of the spirit’ – His own personal spirit that dwells within each person who accepts their sonship (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19) – as the guarantee of our heavenly adoption and inheritance:
“Now he that produced us for this very thing is God, who gave us the token of what is to come, that is, the spirit.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:5
“But the one who guarantees that you and we belong to Christ and the one who anointed us is God. He has also put his seal on us and has given us the token of what is to come, that is, the spirit, in our hearts.”
– 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
“But you also hoped in him after you heard the word of truth, the good news about your salvation. After you believed, you were sealed by means of him with the promised holy spirit, which is a token in advance of our inheritance, for the purpose of releasing God’s own possession by a ransom, to his glorious praise.”
– Ephesians 1:13-14
The spirit of the Father, ‘the token in advance of our inheritance,’ relates us directly to the Father as his faith sons. In addition, we are faith sons because:
1. Jesus, the original son of God became flesh, in man’s likeness (Philippians 2:7), so that those who join with him by ‘eating and drinking of him’ as he commanded (John 6:53-56; Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20) are related to him as his brothers and can therefore be called the faith sons of God.
2. The spirit of the son of God – the Spirit of Truth – was poured out upon mankind so that all who allow themselves to be guided by spirit will be guided into the heavenly inheritance where the original son of God resides. (John 16:13; John 14:2-3; Romans 8:14-17)
3. We are baptized into Christ’s death symbolizing that we have died as to our fleshly life and are being raised up in spirit, poised to receive spirit life the way Jesus did. (Romans 6:3-4) We are born again, born anew, born of spirit. (John 3:3)
Those who reject our Father and who spurn His heavenly inheritance do not have the divine token and do not belong to Him. (Romans 8:9) But all who accept the token of the spirit, who become related to Jesus by eating and drinking of him, who are baptized into Christ’s death by abandoning their hold on a fleshly life, will be actually born again of the spirit. Only those who are born again and given incorruptible, imperishable bodies can live forever. And only those faith sons will gain the heavenly inheritance which is far more glorious than even our wildest imaginations. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
The Key to Freedom
The benefits of sonship are not limited to our future inheritance. Even now, on this planet, in this lifetime, recognizing and understanding our sonship gives us spiritual freedom – freedom from religious authorities who improperly demand our obedience and servitude. In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul aptly described how sonship is the key to freedom. He wrote:
“Now I say that as long as the heir is a young child, he is no different from a slave, although he is the lord of all things, but he is under supervisors and stewards until the day set ahead of time by his father. Likewise, we too, when we were children, were enslaved by the elementary things of the world. But when the full limit of the time arrived, God sent his Son, who was born of a woman and who was under law, that he might release by purchase those under law, so that we might receive the adoption as sons. Now because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, and it cries out: “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, then you are also an heir through God.”
– Galatians 4:1-7
Prior to the coming of Jesus, the Jews were enslaved to their priests – the supervisors and stewards – and burdened by laws and elementary doctrines. But when Jesus arrived, he revealed to them that they were not slaves, but that they were sons, free sons and heirs of the Father.
He explained that there was no longer a need for priests or clergy that would have to intervene on their behalf, nor for the burdensome rituals and high ceremonies associated with them. (Matthew 23:2-7) Instead of there being clergy and laity, all would be brothers and all would answer personally and individually on their own behalf directly to Christ and the Father:
“But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One. Neither be called leaders, for your Leader is one, the Christ. But the greatest one among you must be your minister. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
– Matthew 23:8-12
This is the freedom of sons!
The faith sons of God honor men of all sorts (1 Peter 2:17), but they do not allow men to be the masters over their faith. Neither do the faith sons need to be micro-managed with a multitude of do’s and don’ts. They believe what Jesus said that if they follow the two greatest commandments – to love God with their whole being and their neighbor as themselves – they have fulfilled all religious laws and rules. (Matthew 22:37-40)
Of course, the faith sons understand that there must be some type of administrative order in their religious associations, but they do not allow those ‘commands of men’ to become their doctrines. (Matthew 15:9) Our leader is one, the Christ and our only religious Father is the heavenly one.
We believe if more men and women understood and accepted their sonship with God, religious manipulation, oppression and abuse would come to an end, sectarian religious wars would cease and mankind would be on its way to the longed for peace and good will for all men. Sonship with God is the power position and the foundation stone for the next religious frontier.
The Next Religious Frontier
The prophet Jeremiah prophesied about a time when man would no longer need sacred books in order to have a relationship with God for God would write His laws in our hearts. (Jeremiah 31:31-33) The prophecy was restated by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Hebrews to show that the prophecy was being fulfilled in the lives of the followers of Jesus. (Hebrews 8:10-11) In fact, God’s entire law was summed up in the two commands that arise from the heart: (1) to love God with our entire being; and (2) to love our neighbor as ourselves.
During Jesus’ ministry, he also explained that a time would come when man would no longer need religious edifices or be a part of chosen groups in order to have a relationship with God. Where a person worshipped, ‘in this mountain or that mountain,’ would not matter, for God would be looking for those who worship with spirit and truth. (John 4:21-24) To help us in that endeavor, Jesus sent a helper – the Spirit of Truth – to guide us into all truth. (John 16:13) We could learn information from all men, but we would be taught by the spirit. (1 John 2:27)
That phase of worship was opened to mankind in the 1st century, but we have been slow to accept it. It has been hard for man to believe that worship could be that simple – that we do not need to belong to a certain group; that we do not need to idolize sacred writings; that love for God and neighbor fulfills all divine laws; and that everything we need to learn would be taught by the spirit. But as mankind awakens to their true identity and accepts the offer of spiritual adoption, they will be the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy.
The next religious frontier will consist of dignified men and women who know who they are, and who know where they are going. They will not be stifled and controlled by antiquated religious systems nor be bound and enslaved to long debunked superstition and error. They will finally learn religious self-governance of their own affairs without trampling on the rights of others. They will be a fearless people who are on an exciting quest for truth and understanding of their world and the universe using all tools available, whether it be in science or philosophy, without abandoning sound theology.
There is an abidingly beautiful resting place for all who seek refuge from the bitter winters of confusion now dominating the religious scene. The faiths sons of God are at the forefront of this exciting future. Recognizing our sonship with God makes it all possible.
This is the reason why we repeatedly emphasize the importance of sonship with God. Sonship is the foundation and starting point for all that true religion seeks to achieve. And it will happen as Jesus prophesied – as soon as the good news of sonship in the kingdom of the heavens is preached in all the inhabited earth, the end to sorrow, suffering, ignorance, poverty, and injustice of all kind will come. (Matthew 24:14)
We hope all who want to share in the glorious future of the sons of God will openly demonstrate their union with Christ by reenacting the Memorial or Remembrance Supper as often as they come together until we are able to have this meal with Christ in the kingdom of the heavens. (Matthew 26:29)
We welcome your comments.