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Sons Of God

Romans 8:14

Paulís former exhortation to ďwalk after the SpiritĒ (8:12) is almost identical with the current definition
of those who are now "led by the Spirit."
But his thought moves forward as well, for now he turns from the concept of life to that of sons.
Both are linked with the work of the Spirit, but a deeper level is plumbed; the gift of life is seen
as the proof of sonship, and such sonship goes to the heart of God Himself.

The two leading ideas of Godís Spirit and manís sonship are then interwoven in a remarkable pattern:
"...for as many...sons of God." (Verse 14)
Such a verse is like a ladder which has been set up from earth to heaven, and its lowest rungs
are within the reach of all:
"For as many as are led...they are the sons of God." (Verse 14)

The emphasis on the work of the Spirit continues in this paragraph, but our Christian status
and privilege are now described in different terms.

  • What Paul has just said (Verse 13) is, "If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds
        of the body you will live
  • What he now says (Verse 14) is, "All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God".

    The two sentences are closely parallel.
    Both refer to the activity of the Spirit, but the first time in terms of life; the second in terms of sonship.
    In our society there are two ways of becoming children of parents.
  • By birth
  • By adoption
    God hath also appointed these two ways that His people should become His children.


  • "Sons" (uios, Gr.) is the proper word...sons agrees with the idea of "adoption,"
    "children" with the idea of the new birth (regeneration), and in this passage Paul uses both.
  • "Sons" is opposed to slaves while children has the idea of dearness.
    "Sons" also agrees with conduct for a son who should act the part expected of him
        in relation to his father.
    A kingís son must act as behooves a prince.

    Children move in different spheres.
    A child conveys the idea of dependence and immaturity.
    The difference is meaningful for each word has its own flavor even in English.
    Paul uses them accordingly.
  • "Sons" is the term more commonly employed by Paul.
    It denotes a legal relationship, and of privilege, and of rights.
  • "Children" is the term more used in the writings of John, and denotes kinship, nature, birth, and origin.

    Strictly speaking, one becomes a "son" by adoption, and a child by a new birth.
    We have received a spirit of trust and fellowship befitting those who have been brought into
    the family of God by His gracious adoption.
    The Holy Spirit places children of God (teknon, born ones) as adult sons in a legal standing
    before God and in relation to Him.

    These expressions, "Sons of God," and "Children of God," are so nearly related as to be
    in some connections interchangeable.
    But Romans 8:14,16,19,21 are not to be regarded as identical.

    According to Olshausen, the word, "son," expresses more the developed consciousness
    of adoption than does the word, "child."
    Alford says that the word, ďson,Ē implies a more mature and conscious member of Godís family.

    It should be added, that while the word, ďchildren,Ē emphasizes the natural and legal relations
    of origin and heirship, the word "sons" emphasizes the moral and spiritual relations of likeness
    and reciprocal affection.

    "Sons of God" points inward to the divine sonship by which men should be known:
    "They are the sons of God."
    The term, "sons of God," is all the more remarkable when we remind ourselves
    that God's only Son in the most strict and rigid meaning of that term is Jesus.
    (John 3:16; Romans 8:32)
    Christ is always called "Son," and is never called "child" of God.
    Emmanuel, both Lord and Christ; yet, Godís purpose when He sent Him into the world was
    that He should be "the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29)

    Therefore, to be reckoned as the sons of God means recognition by the Father that we belong
    to the "many brethren" of Him who is called the "firstborn."
    "For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26)
    "Ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6:18)
    This is infinitely more than to stand in the place of creatures in the presence of their Maker;
    it is more, far more, than to stand in the place of servants in the presence of their Master.
    It means that such a man has a new and vital stature in the divine household; he now belongs to it
    as one who is a son of God.

    He may be called other names in other circumstances; "chosen generation," "a royal priesthood,"
    "kings and priests unto God;" he may also be called a disciple or a believer.
    But such names are incidental to the ultimate reality: He is a Son, near and dear to the Fatherís heart
    and in the Fatherís presence.

    Sons - Not Slaves

    The Holy Spirit does not lead to slavery but to sonship.
    Paul said in Galatians 5:18: "If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."
    We were slaves under the law, but now we are the sons of God.
    There is a striking contrast between the old state of bondage and this new and active life of freedom.

  • We are not slaves who toil and sweat beneath the old state of bondage and this new and active life of freedom.
  • We are not servants, we are not strangers; we are the sons of God, at home in the Fatherís household.
    There was a time when we might have been glad to be known as one of the hired servants, (Luke 15:19)
    but the time has come when we hear the Father Himself declare:
    "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine." (Luke 15:31)

    This Idea Of Sonship Has A Three-fold Implication

    1. It means that we bear the Fatherís name and reflect His character, and we are placed in trust
      to be all that such a name implies: "That ye may be the sons of your Father which is in heaven."
      (Matt. 5:45)
    2. It means that we know the Fatherís love and enjoy His affection, and that love is now shed abroad
      within our hearts by means of His Spirit: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us,
      that we should be called the sons of God
      ." (1 John 3:1)
    3. It means that we share the Fatherís home and receive its benefits, and we delight in the dignity
      and the privilege which it confers: "Then shall they be called sons of the living God."
      (Rom. 9:26)
    Look At The Sons Of God

    The Privileges of The Sons Of God Are Unbelievable And Fantastic.

    As relating to the present life

  • He may look up to God as his reconciled Father in Jesus.
        Trials may befall him, but he knows that ďall things work together for good to those who...Ē
  • He may come to God with the confidence of a child.
    As his course draws nearer and nearer to eternity, it grows brighter and brighter.
    As for his privileges in eternity - "Eye hath not seen..."

    The Happiness Of The Sons Of God Lies In:

    The Effects Of Sonship Our Father treats us as His sons.
    He has a parentís sympathy for us, and He fulfills for us all that a father should - but perfectly.
  • He provides for us.
  • He defends us.
  • He extricates us from our difficulties.
  • He instructs us.
  • He corrects us.
  • He makes us mindful of His plans for us.
  • He will eventually take us home to be with Him forever.

    All Human Beings Are Not God's Children

    How do we know if we are?
    There are many signs in addition to the ones mentioned here:

    Reverence Him.
  • We would not do anything willfully that would displease Him.
  • We would submit ourselves willingly to Him for correction.
  • We would depend on Him for all our provisions.
  • We would wait patiently on Him to reveal His will to us.

    Be led by His Spirit
    We would wish to always be led by the Holy Spirit of God, rather than trying to have things our way.
    If led by God's Spirit, rejoice in the reality of your divine sonship.
    As God's children, let us evermore seek to be led by His Spirit.
    By this we may know that we are sons of God.

    "My Father is rich in houses and lands,
    He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
    Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
    His coffers are full, He has riches untold.

    I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
    A sinner by choice, and an alien by birth;
    But I've been adopted, my name's written down,
    An heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown.

    A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
    They're building a palace for me over there;
    Tho' exiled from home, yet, still I may sing:
    All glory to God, I'm a child of the King.

    I'm a child of the King, a child of the King;
    With Jesus my Saviour, I'm a child of the King."

    Sermon By Dr. Harold L. White
    Email Dr. White at