What Does It Mean to Be a ‘Son of God’?
What Does It Mean to Be a ‘Son of God’?
Mark introduces his Gospel account with these words: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Christ was the Son of God. He had a family relationship with God the Father. And He came in the flesh to declare the Father (John 1:18). Why? The answer is astounding.
“[N]otice God calls these humans His own children,” Herbert W. Armstrong emphasized in Mystery of the Ages. “Many people say, ‘God just doesn’t seem real to me.’ God is a great mystery to them. Their own human fathers don’t seem like a mystery. They seem real. … I hope we will help make God as real to you as your own human father.”
Scripture repeatedly reveals that God is a literal Father, and we are His literal children! The word son appears 422 times in the New Testament, at least half the time referring to Jesus Christ. The word father in the New Testament usually refers to God the Father. The Bible says God is a Father and Christ is His Son: God is a Family!
John 1 talks about “the Word,” translated from the Greek logos, meaning spokesman, word or revelatory thought. Who is this Logos? Verse 14 says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” The Being who was the Word became the Son! At this point, He was the begotten Son of God, not yet born. Notice Luke 1:35: “… that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” When the Word became the Son, God became the Father! Hebrews 7:3 says the Word was “made like unto the Son of God.” The Word had no beginning, but the Son did! The Word was made the Son when He was begotten by God of the virgin Mary and later resurrected as the firstborn Son of God. The Word became the Son, and God became the Father!
Romans 1:4 says Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” This proves that being born again occurs at the resurrection, not at baptism. Jesus Christ was not the first to be born as a human—but He was first to be born of divine Holy Spirit at His resurrection.
Verses 3 and 4 compare two births: when Christ was born as a human being and then as the Son of God at His resurrection.
It is by this same method that we too can be born sons of God! Romans 8:14 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” God’s Holy Spirit must lead us—and if it does, look at what that makes us! The Holy Spirit impregnates us with God life, whereby we can call God our Father (verse 15), and we become His children (verse 16).
How plain! The Kingdom of God is the Family of God!
Mr. Armstrong wrote, “If we are Christ’s—if His Spirit dwells in us—if we are following where His Spirit leads—we are now His children, but now only heirs. Not yet inheritors. But Jesus Christ then becomes our elder brother. He is the firstborn of many brethren. We are His brethren and co-heirs. He has now been born of God—and He is God! Notice it!” (Tomorrow’s World, August 1969).
Christ, the firstborn Son of God, is the first to be born among many brethren (verse 29). Those who have God’s Holy Spirit are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (verse 17). When Christ became a human being who died and was then resurrected to eternal life, He became the first human to be literally born into the Family of God. Christ was born into the Family from the dead (Colossians 1:18). And, He is only the first of many to be born!
“For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10; Revised Standard Version). Christ pioneered the way. For who? For us!
1 John 3:2 says, “[N]ow are we the sons of God.” This is not only what we are called—it is who we are. Just as a tiny embryo, no larger than a pinpoint in the mother’s womb, is already the son or daughter of the human father even before it is born, so is a begotten Christian even now a son of God, though not yet born.
Verse 2 continues, “it doth not yet appear what we shall be ….” We are begotten sons of God right now—but we are still flesh. Yet when Christ appears, we will become something different; we will be God’s born children. We will become God as God is God. We will be able to see Jesus Christ just like He really is (verse 2). And not only that, we shall be like Him!
When God says in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” He means what He says! And just as Jesus Christ became the Son of God, so too can the rest of mankind!