Sonship – God’s Original Design
God’s dream was to create a family, sons and daughters who would resemble Him and be one with Him and who would be His vice-regents to rule over the earth. His plan was that all people would be His children. Even when Adam fell and was driven from God’s presence in disgrace, he was still God’s son, just as the prodigal in Jesus’ story remained the son of the father even when he rebelled and left home.
The father in the story did not disown him. He waited for his erring son to return and welcomed him home with joy because his lost son had been found. No matter how far God’s human family runs from Him, we can never be “unborn” because, as the offspring of Adam, whom Luke described as “the son of God”; (Luke 3:38), we are all sons and daughters of God.
Paul acknowledged this by quoting a Greek poet in Acts 17: 28 – We are all His offspring.
The older son was equally “lost”, not because he ran away but because he was estranged from the father by having a slave-mentality. Like the Pharisees who despised “sinners”, the older son refused to rejoice when his brother returned home because he was more concerned about his brother’s behaviour than his standing as a son.
God had reasons for creating the human race. Apart from His desire to give His love to a family, He had to sort out an issue with Satan. God created the angelic host to be “sons of God’, but Lucifer, the highest of the angelic beings who became Satan, had designs on God’s throne. He was evicted from God’s presence and thrown down upon the earth. It was his plan to entice the human race away from love and loyalty to the Father to exert his rule over the earth through them.
Through the nation of Israel, it was God’s intention to reveal His true nature to the entire human race and to prepare them to receive His Messiah who would redeem humanity from slavery to the devil and restore and reinstate them into the family of God. Israel failed to fulfil its mission, but God always preserved a faithful remnant through whom He would send His Son.
Through judgement and discipline God dealt with Israel’s waywardness. He never gave up on them because Israel was His firstborn “son”. From the beginning He had planned and promised that He would send His Messiah to rescue them from bondage to sin.
But God’s promises to Israel extended beyond the boundaries of one nation. God’s love was for the whole world. His promises were made to the Gentiles as well. Not only did He call Israel His son; Egypt and Assyria, symbolic of the worst of Israel’s enemies, were to be included in the promise of blessing (Isa. 19: 24-25).
Can it be, then, that God has included the whole world, even those who reject Him and worship false gods, in His family? The Scripture concludes that all are potentially the sons of God, sons by birth and relationship but estranged from God through sin, rebellion and unbelief. Those who have received Jesus and believed on His name have been given the right to become children of God experientially (John 1:12), but the door is open for everyone to take their rightful place as His children through His mercy and forgiveness in Christ.
Through Jesus He set up His rescue plan so that those who are at enmity with Him may be reconciled through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross. Those who refuse His offer of mercy must accept the consequences of their choice, but it is their choice, not God’s that they face eternal judgment and destruction instead of the love of God’s eternal family.