PREDESTINATED UNTO SONSHIP
In Ephesians 1:5 Paul says, “Predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” God has not only selected us, but also marked us out beforehand. Before the foundation of the world, in eternity past, we were marked out for the purpose of sonship.
We have seen that the only way for us to be holy is for God to come into our being. This is related to sonship. Every son has been born of a father. All that the father is issues in the son. Hence, a son is the issue of the father’s life. Some versions render the Greek word for sonship in Ephesians 1:5 as “adoption.” Although this rendering is not wrong, it is easily misunderstood. We have not been adopted by God; we have been born of Him. I am not an adopted son but a born son, one that is the issue of the Father’s life. I have never seen a Caucasian brother who has brought forth a Chinese son. In the same principle, I have never seen a Chinese brother who has brought forth a Caucasian son. A son is always the issue of the father.
First we were created by God. But at the time we believed in the Lord Jesus, we were born of God. Thus, we each have two stories, the story of our creation and the story of our rebirth. By creation, we are not sons of God. Rather, we are merely the creatures of God. But by rebirth, by regeneration, we became the sons of God.
THE MEANING OF SONSHIP
As the Son of God, Christ is the expression of God. No one has ever seen God, but the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has declared Him (John 1:18). Thus, the meaning or significance of the Son is that He expresses the Father. The Son is the issue of the life of the Father and the expression of the Father.
We have pointed out that in order for us to become holy, we need to be born of God and thereby have the life of God. When God’s life enters into us and becomes our life, we become sons of God. A son has both the life and the position of a son. The position of a son is a matter of heritage. As sons of God, we shall inherit all that God is. We have been born of God, and now we have the position to inherit whatever God is. This is the meaning of sonship.
All Christians need a vision of the significance of regeneration. Regeneration means that we have the life of God and the position to inherit all that God is. In the new heaven and the new earth, we shall realize that whatever God is has become our inheritance. This is sonship. Some may accuse us of teaching that we shall become God. No, we are not becoming God, but we are becoming divine. We have the life of God, we have the position to inherit whatever God is, and we are becoming divine.
The first aspect of the divine purpose is that we are being made holy, and the second is that we have been marked out for sonship, that is, to have the life of God, to express God, to have the position to inherit whatever God is, and to become divine as the Father is divine. The Son of God said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (14:9). The day is coming when we shall be able to say, “He who has seen us has seen God, because we are the sons of God.” In the New Testament the term sons always denotes the expression of the father. Before we were saved, we were sons of disobedience expressing Satan, the evil father. Today we are sons of God expressing God, not by our deeds or behavior, but by having His life with His nature within us. Day by day He is working Himself into our being so that we may become His expression. Eventually we shall inherit all that He is.
(Basic Training, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)