THE SPIRIT OF SONSHIP
It is even more difficult to say what the Spirit of sonship is. Sonship refers both to the life of the son and to the position of the son. Thus, sonship is not only a matter of life, but also a matter of position. A boy who is the son of a certain man has the sonship of that man because he has obtained that man’s life and has the position of that man’s son. Therefore, he has the sonship. We all have been born sons of God. This means that we have the life of a son of God and also the position of a son of God. Both the life and the position are related to the Spirit and are included in the Spirit. If you have the Spirit, you have the life of a son of God and the position of a son of God. However, if you do not have the Spirit, you have neither the life nor the position.
A MATTER OF EXPERIENCE
This is not merely a matter of doctrine, but a matter of experience. You may claim to be a son of God, and indeed you are. But whenever you are not one with the Spirit, the life and position of a son of God are no longer evident. For example, are you a son of God when you quarrel with your wife? It is difficult to say. On the one hand, because you have been regenerated, you are certainly a son of God. However, as you are quarreling with your wife, as far as your experience is concerned, you are like an unsaved person, because at that time you are not one with the Spirit. When I am one with the Spirit, I have the life of a son of God and the position of a son of God. But when I am not one with the Spirit, the picture is altogether different. By this we see that if we would experience the sonship, the life, and the holiness, we must be one with the Spirit.
Because the Spirit is in our spirit, the only way to be one with the Spirit is to exercise our spirit and to focus our whole being on our spirit. Here in our spirit we touch the Spirit. We touch the Spirit of holiness, the Spirit of life, and the Spirit of sonship. When we do this, we are immediately living by the Spirit in our spirit. By doing this, we are designated, sanctified, transformed, conformed, and even glorified to be the sons of God.
Because some of you still hold on to the natural concepts, you may be troubled when you hear these things. I realize that such a message differs from some of the teachings you heard in the past, especially the ethical teachings regarding the improvement of your behavior. For example, if you are a husband, you have probably been admonished to love your wife. But I doubt that even one husband has succeeded in doing this fully. The matter of husbands loving their wives is a religious, ethical teaching; it is not the basic revelation of the Bible.
(The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)