What is the purpose of sonship? It is to bring us into a place of spiritual responsibility. God never puts responsibilities upon ‘official people’, but upon sons. Therefore He has to train us as children in order to develop sonship in us, to bring us there where we can take responsibilities for God. He seeks to bring us to a state of spiritual maturity, to full growth. This cannot be done in some Bible school, or by putting people ‘into the ministry’. God never works on an official side. Oh yes, God does take us into His school. He can also take us into His school in some training institute. And it is a blessed thing if He does it. But God’s school is something very different from mere scholarly activity. His Word says: “My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art reproved of Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” Note this word “whom He receives”. The exact meaning in the Greek is not ‘receives’, but “whom He positions” or places. It is a matter of position. God is seeking to develop a state in us where He can trust us. When God is dealing with us, there is behind it a wonderful assurance that He is going to put His trust in us. He is bringing us into a position of trust. We do not just want to be servants, bits of a machine, but sons who have become one with the Father, and in whose hands He can put spiritual responsibilities. When we truly recognize this, we begin to understand why God is dealing with us as He does. But because God is in it we know that the end is sure. He will bring His children through.
The fact of His sonship gave to the Lord Jesus perfect assurance as to the ultimate issue and accomplishment of His life. It carried Him far, although He knew that the Cross was immediately ahead, and He was going to be killed. He ministered here for three and a half years, and then all His earthly life came to an end. How did He face it? He regarded it as something to come and to pass, but it made no difference to Him and His relationship to the Father. His sufferings were just a tunnel to go through, and then to come out into the light to go on for all eternity, because He was the Son of God. Death was a mere incident for Him, for His sonship was indestructible, eternal. He knew that His work did not finish on the Cross, but was going on, on the ground of resurrection for all eternity. He was not just living for this little space of time. Thus He derived His strength from the fact of sonship.
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