I’ve been spending time in recent mornings poring over the apostle Paul’s remarkable letter to the Galatians – specifically, meditating on the theme of sonship.
The thread of the idea of sonship runs throughout the New Testament – maybe it’s not one of the most prominent themes by volume of word usage, but I can’t help concluding that it is, in fact, a dominant theme of the entire gospel.
Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came to redeem and re-create fallen people, and make them God’s sons (and daughters).
So why has this amazing truth been so hard for me to digest over the years? I mean, really digest on the level of emotions. Having and enjoying a conscious relationship of sonship with my God.
Why would I hold back from a loving Father? What’s with the nagging, overarching feelings of dread and doubt that have seemed to swirl in my heart despite such clear teaching? If I’m a beloved son, why don’t I feel like a beloved son?
I see others who so easily take in these bright beams of gospel light and rest, at peace, knowing that God’s smile is not faded, fickle, or dependent on today’s state of mind. I always been jealous of such brothers and sisters.
After all, are my children any less my children, any less loved, on any given day? Is not our father-son relationship something of enduring permanence, simply because…it just is?
The fact is, I think we all tend to worship a God partially carved in our own image, and much of the Christian life is spent unlearning this idolotry, and replacing these defective God-pictures in our hearts with truth. Some think God is unrelentingly harsh and live in cringing fear. Some feel that He is so full of gushy-love that holiness is way at the back of the bus. Maybe our internal “wiring” and past experiences have much more to do with our view of God than the Bible does.
I’m a systems-thinker. I am compelled to figure out how things proceed from one thing to another, how things fit together – I ask questions and poke and prod and try to understand inter-relationships. Undoubtedly, this is why I gravitated, early on in my Christian experience, to theological studies. Figuring out God’s truth, His plan, His…(here’s where the trouble begins)…system.
God and truth as system.
Systems have outlines and connections and flow charts. Systems have right and wrong. Systems don’t have…heart. Systems don’t have children. Systems don’t dive into the messiness of live and embrace returning prodigals.
No wonder it’s been taking me so long to absorb sonship. I’ve preached sermons on it. I’ve known the theology of it. I “get” how sonship fits into the redemptive purpose (system).
But what I really need is to learn to be a son.