Sunday, October 2, 2016


1. One of the most significant things that is said about Jesus Christ in the Gospels is that He is a son, not just a son, but The Son, the Son of the living God.  His identity is proclaimed in His Sonship.  On the identity of the Son you might consult The Creed of St. Athanasius. In part it says,

For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of his Mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his manhood; Who, although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ. [The Creed of St. Athanasius] [i]

2. He says, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7).  So close is His relationship with the Father that he can say, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), and again, “He that has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). 

3. His relationship with the Father is the wellspring of all that He says and does.  When his identity is questioned, he replies, “I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him. . . I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.  And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him” (John 8:25-26, 28b-29).  Jesus the Son is the Lord for whom John the baptizer prepared the way.  That is His identity.  He is the Son of God.  He is the Lord of lords, and He is the King of kings.  He is Emmanuel, God with us in the flesh.

4. As a faithful and loving Son, Jesus lives in response to the will of the Father.  When challenged by John the Baptizer regarding who should be baptizing whom, Jesus says, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15).  Jesus has come to do His Father’s will and so He allows Himself to be baptized.  In doing so, He who is sinless descends into the waters of baptism and death to self, bearing our heritage of sin from our fathers, and our sins, upon His own shoulders.  He rises from the waters bringing us with Him.  “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

5. Jesus’ life and ministry is defined by what happens next.  As He comes up out of the waters of baptism He sees the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descending on Him “in bodily form like a dove” (Luke 3:22).  This outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace marks forever the character of His ministry.  The event, however, is incomplete without the words of the Father, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”  It is the proclamation of Sonship that publicly establishes the identity and ministry of Jesus the Son. 

6. Where are we to find our own identity?   Can we find our identity as men and women in our relationships as sons and daughters with our fathers?  Isaiah the prophet says, “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug” (Isaiah 51:1).  Our heritage has some positive value, but if, in a human fashion, we look to the quarry from which we were dug we might not find all that we need.  Instead Jesus invites us into relationship with His own Father.  “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name” (Luke 11:2).  That prayer invites us to share with Him in His relationship with the Father, but even as we pray we say “our Father”; which is a tacit admission that we are all brothers and sisters of one another. In this adoption, men and women alike, become the sons of God. The old male-female ranking vanishes, and we all alike, men and women, are sons of God. This means that all the promises directed to men in Holy Scripture now apply by redemptive grace to women as well as to men through our adoption in Christ.

7. Our adoption is necessary because the starting place of our identity is quite different from the starting place of Jesus.  Paul says “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1-3).  Having Adam as a father is a mixed blessing, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).  The result is that none of us have ever received perfect fathering, neither do we give it.

8. We are offered adoption, men and women alike, as sons of God. John the beloved disciple says, “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).  The personal acceptance of Jesus as both Savior and Lord is central to our relationship with God the Father.   Jesus cries out, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.  And whoever sees me, sees him who sent me.”  Again in his first epistle John says, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15).

9. In each of the four Gospels, and twice in Acts, we are given the promise that He will baptize us with the Holy Spirit.  That promise is not only the promise of the Spirit and His gifts and power, but also the promise of our own sonship, “because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6, see also Romans 8:15).  There is an experiential side to this baptism of the Sprit which varies from person to person according to their ways and potential of experiencing love, for the content of that baptism is the experience of the love of God. For it is immersion in the Holy Spirit that opens for us the door of sonship.  God is our father, and by adoption and the sealing of the Spirit, we men and women alike, are His sons.

10. Paul makes the same point when he says “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:14-15).

11. There is an important promise for the establishment of our relationship with the Father in the teaching of Jesus at the Last Supper, “Jesus answered 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).  The core of our experience of God is love, His love for us, and our response of love for him, and for His sake our love for each other. In, and through, Christ Jesus we have intimate access to the presence and love of God the Father.  How much time do you think you ever needed from a Father?  Your heavenly Father has all the time for you that you think that you need.  Here comes an important question.  How much of His time are you willing to enter into?  Note also the condition that Jesus gives; the promise is for those who will keep His word.

12. The Charismatic theology of the 1970’s regarded a fresh appreciation of the person and presence of Jesus, as a significant mark of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  However, from a biblical perspective, our adoption as sons of the Father, is the fruit of our experience of the Spirit of His Son in our hearts.

13. Be careful not to banalize it.  “Abba”, on the lips of Jesus, and on our lips, is not the childish cry “Daddy”, but rather the intimate response of the adult child to a Father who is sovereign in power and awesome in majesty.  It is with that in mind that Jesus teaches us to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).  Intimacy is mingled with awe, and like Jesus, we immediately begin to learn to pray, “Your will be done”.  True sonship brings with it surrender to the will of God our Father.  That is the abiding characteristic of the ministry of Jesus who says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.  For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing” (John 5:19-20a).

14. Many sons have never heard their fathers say “You are my beloved son.”  We may need to be re-parented, but no re-parenting from earthly father figures can match the healing that can come to us through the anointing of the Spirit and the loving adoption of our heavenly Father.  “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” Our new identity is anchored in the identity of Jesus the Son.  In this adoption, the re-parented adult sons of God can find re-formation in the parenting of their own children.  You can’t give what you don’t have, but on the other hand, you can give what you are receiving.


Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.
Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish
And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity,
     neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory
     equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and
     one incomprehensible.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords, but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by
      himself to be both God and Lord,
So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion, to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten,
      but proceeding.
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three
      Holy Ghosts.
And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another;
But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be
He therefore that will be saved is must think thus of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the
      Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of
      God, is God and Man;
God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance
      of his Mother, born in the world;
Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his
Who, although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ;
One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh but by taking of the Manhood into God;
One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ;
Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, he sitteth at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from
      whence he will come to judge the quick and the dead.

At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies and shall give account for their
      own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into
      everlasting fire.
This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.

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