“Behold I send the promise of My Father upon you.” The question we need to ask is whether the Holy Spirit is the “Father’s promise” or is He the promise of “the Father?”
Phil Mason (“Quantum Glory“, p.321)
This is an intriguing question. I believe both answers are right, but I think we miss the main point if we don’t know why we’re given the Holy Spirit. I believe it was the Father’s purpose to give us Himself!
This is a central to the theme of my blog, so I repeat it a lot, but this was the purpose of Jesus’ last discourse in John’s gospel (Jn.13:31-17:26). This was how He intended to have us live like He did on the earth.
Welcome to Christianity 101 as Jesus taught it.
“Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23)
You see, the “Christianity” that Jesus brought was not some new orphan religion that has one still looking up into the sky and wondering about God. It’s not a religion at all, it’s about a loving Father who has sons (the biblical term “son,” like “bride,” does not refer to gender but to the nature of the relationship). These sons are royal heirs to this Father’s Kingdom and their purpose on the earth is to be about their Father’s business.
Jesus was begotten the Son of God. He was also eternally God the Son. However, as Son of Man, He was the “firstborn,” the prototype (Col.1:15), with the purpose of bringing “many sons to glory” (Heb.2:10).
We cannot be Christians if we are not also sons.
True Christianity is about sonship. Religion is about being an orphan. A religious orphan is someone who does not have the Spirit of adoption as a son (Rom.8:15).
But even under the Old Covenant, the children of Israel were spiritual orphans. They did not have the Holy Spirit living in them so they could not be sons, even though they could be “saved” by faith, if you will. But if you are in Christ, you are not an orphan, you are born of the Spirit, you are a NEW CREATION (2 Cor.5:17).
This is why true Christianity cannot be a religion.
Consider what Jesus is saying here…
“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
Paul said it this way…
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” (Rom.8:15)
Identity is everything. We cannot function in the Kingdom properly if we don’t know who we are. But our problem is, we don’t know what we don’t know. That’s why we need revelation, not man’s opinions or human rationale…or even some of our trusted evangelical traditions. Otherwise, we’re no better than the Pharisees.
So. we need to rid ourselves of our religious orphan-minded identity and purpose. Salvation is not about going to heaven when you die as much as it is about becoming a “son” in our heavenly Father’s Kingdom–now and forever.
Religious orphans live like they have no father. They live under an illusion of separation from God, as if He is not always presently living in them. They don’t live like they have a home in God. Everything they do is motivated from fear and seeking affirmation instead of motivated by love as affirmed sons.
And orphan-minded Christians are not seeing who they really are, so they remain in a religious fog. And while they may clearly relate theologically to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, they fail to clearly see themselves dead, buried, and resurrected with Christ as sons of God.
The implications of not experientially knowing our true identity are astronomical and can even be catastrophic. This is why Paul said, Knowing this… (Rom.6:6, 9), which means, we can read about this all our lives and still not know this. That would be tragic.
Yes, if you are in Christ you should live like you are a son of God…just like Jesus was and lived as a son of God on the earth. As Jesus is, so are you in this world (1 Jn.4:17). There is no other biblical version of Christianity. That doesn’t mean we’re God, it means we’re in Him…and He is in us.
Do you see why this question about the Father matters?
For we cannot just give this “Father” business lip-service and then get back to just talking about Jesus.
The Father is not just the salutation to our prayers and Jesus the closing. That would be to miss completely where Jesus is leading us. This kind of Christianity actually dishonors Jesus and disregards why He did what He did for us.
Consider the fact that He did not say He was the only way to heaven, He stated that He was the only to the FATHER…
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
And consider how Jesus saw Himself…
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him…9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:7,9)
Then Jesus told us that He was sending us to same way He was sent…
“So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21)
Jesus said to His followers that it would be the Spirit of our Father who speak through them…
“for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” (Matt.10:20)
In fact, knowing the Father is how Jesus defined eternal life…
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You [Father], the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)
Jesus’ prayer (the real “Lord’s Prayer”) was that we would get this critically foundational point of being a Christian…
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one. (John 17:20-22)
Which, by the way, is one reason why the body of Christ is so divided today. If we think like religious orphans, we will never be one in the Father and Jesus.
After all, orphans don’t belong, they don’t trust, they are loners. They don’t know intimacy in relationships, they operated out of fear instead of unconditional love.
So, the world rarely ever sees the Christians that Jesus was praying for in John 17. They see various versions of religious orphans trying to be Christians.
Beloved, can I say it again. We are not orphans. We were given the promise of the Father when we received the Holy Spirit. Christian maturity means growing up into Christ (Eph.4:15), which means, growing up into a son like Jesus was a son. It means when people see us they should see the Father.
And maybe when the world sees the Father in us the same way they saw Him in Jesus they would believe that He send Him? Just saying…
Brilliant. Just shared this on Twitter.
Absolutely love this post! Thanks you so much. My favourite. If you see me you see the Father. I love your take on Sonship. We need to understand that as sons we are under His grace, no longer slaves and working for His approval. I watch my 7 year old son, he knows His entitlement no matter what he’s done and I take that pattern off of him toward God my Father. Bless you. I look forward to looking through your site more when I have more time. Thanks again.
Thanks. Your comments are much appreciated. Yes, your seven-year old son would be a good example to help us begin to understand the nature of our relationship with our heavenly Father.
This is so good. “True Christianity is about sonship. Religion is about being an orphan. A religious orphan is someone who does not have the Spirit of adoption as a son (Rom.8:15).” This statement is truth that will help me in communicating my faith with unbelievers. No one truly wants religion. Everyone wants relationship, to belong, to have a future- He wired us that way. Thank you for putting it so clearly. Thoroughly enjoyed the read 🙂
Thanks. I appreciate your comments. Yes, I think when we think and see ourselves like Jesus we’ll get the same response from people He came to save. I’m glad it’s clear too. It couldn’t be clearer in my understanding, but sometimes it’s difficult to express that in words that would come across the same way. So your words of encouragement here are very helpful. Sometimes, people look at me like I’m crazy when I talk about this stuff. It’s good to know I’m making sense. 🙂
Another really great post.”The implications of not experientially knowing our true identity are astronomical and can even be catastrophic,” Amen and amen. Great summary statement of so much of what ails the body of Christ. Thanks for pointing people in the direction of His heart.
Thanks for your encouraging comments here. This post probably sums up how God has transformed my view of Christianity and why I’ve decided to start writing. So much is tied to our identity as sons in relationship to our Father. I think that’s why Paul would pray that the “eyes of our heart would be enlightened, that we may know…” Because the tragedy is in when we don’t know. But I think we’re in a time when Papa God is calling His rebellious and religious orphans home! These are truly exciting times.
What a difference it made to know that the gift OF God (as opposed to a gift FROM Him) is eternal life. Ties in beautifully with John 17:3. I missed this for many decades. Mmm. He Himself is the gift. He gives good gifts, doesn’t He?
I needed today’s reminder that I am not an orphan. My heart is pretty raw – more of the “dying to self” process…which always is delivered through being hurt by people, isn’t it? Thanks for this encouragement. With great skill, you rescued me from a day of utter depression!
Amen. We all need that reminder. What a joy to be His, and He is ours! I’m glad I could be used by God this way. You may want to read (and listen to song) today’s post, “Letting Go.” I wrote that post for our “crap days.” 🙂
That would be today! I’m on my way…
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“True Christianity is about sonship. Religion is about being an orphan. ”
This is brilliant. I’ll give you credit the first time i use this, but after that, it’s mine. A good tweet this. Really really good.
LOL! Thanks. It’s really the difference between Christianity and every other religion–including the religious version of Christianity. It’s as significant as salvation by grace through faith. Unfortunately, most of what we’ve gotten since Constantine in the fourth century is a Christian version of the Old Testament. The Reformers restored Scripture to us and salvation by faith, but left of the rest of the religion of men intact. And it was actually appropriate for their day, but not in ours, 500 years later. The Kingdom is always advancing and our understanding must advance with it, although the Word of God doesn’t change.
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