God’s Inheritance of Glory in Sons

Inheritance related to performance?

The idea that T. Austin-Sparks takes as the basis for these messages is that sonship is something yet to be attained by the believer, a state of spiritual maturity and therefore he makes a distinction between “children” and “sons” in the Scriptures. The apostles, though, do not make such a distinction. The words are used as synonyms. Sonship is not a quality, nor a qualification, but it is a right. The apostles do exhort the readers of their letters again and again by pointing them to the fulfilment that is yet to come; there should be spiritual growth, a ripening of the fruit of the Spirit. However, they take spiritual growth unto maturity as the normal course, just like healthy children in the physical realm grow naturally. When the apostles see a lack of growth they admonish the believers. In his letter to the Roman Christians Paul emphasizes the super-abundance of God’s grace (chapter 5). It is the overwhelming spiritual wealth in Christ imparted to the Christian by the Holy Spirit which is the “home” in which the child of God lives and is brought up. Hence Paul's indignant tone of voice against the accusations that he preaches a lawless and therefore a dissolute life (3:8). How could you ever live in sin (chapter 6) when you may — by faith — reckon yourself united with Christ’s death and resurrection! You are a child of God now. You have the mind of the Spirit, which is life and peace (chapter 8). The law can never give you that! The law, though good and holy, will only bring condemnation and spiritual death. It will only reveal — and that is the very function of the law of Moses — how sinful and hopeless natural man is (chapter 7). Life in the Spirit is the only way to please the Father and the only guarantee to reach the end, the resurrection (8:11), the inheritance (8:17) and conformity to the Son (8:29). Even persecution and suffering for the sake of the Lord will not stop you. On the contrary, if you suffer, it shows that you are on the right track, and God will see to it that it works together for your good, to the fulfilment of the hope that is set before you. We glory in tribulations (chapter 5); they only strengthen us in our hope. So please, do not for one moment think that sonship is a kind of higher spiritual state that you may or may not reach, a special class of Christians. It is a believer’s right from the moment he puts his trust in the Saviour! Please do not make grace conditional. Conditional grace is something like a square circle. How often do we hear, “Only if this …, only if that …” in sermons. Can you imagine the Lord Jesus calling us, “Come unto Me…” and then, when we come to Him, He says, “Wait a minute…”?

These messages, though, are not about our inheritance, but God’s. In very feeble human words we could say that God’s glory is a glory that goes beyond Himself, because it is based on love. God is love. He needs something to love. Love without an object is nothing. And of course it is His Son Who is the object of His love. To be more specific it is His Son glorified that the Father is after. And His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is glorified in the act of saving sinners by His death on the cross for them, delivering them from corruption in His resurrection and bringing them to eternal glory. “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us… ”. When we see that multitude, saved by the blood of the Lamb, standing before God’s Throne, justified, reconciled, forgiven, glorified, righteous, sanctified, accepted in the Beloved, the only thing we can do is to give God all the glory. That is His inheritance. It is the thanksgiving, adoration and worship for His unfathomable love from innumerable lips that make up the boundaries of His Kingdom. It is not a Kingdom that He usurped, like Satan once did, but it is His right. Though our debt has been paid by the blood of the Lamb, in a sense we will always remain debtors, debtors to pay our tribute, give Him the glory and worship due to His Name and live a life that is pleasing Him, i.e. life in the Spirit. That is what Paul means, when He writes to the Corinthian saints, by the power and wisdom of the cross of Christ . It is the power of God’s love. How could we ever resist such love! It brings us down in the dust; it breaks our pride. It is pure grace. T. Austin-Sparks shows in this series of messages that it is God’s love that explains His dealings with us. It explains God’s dealings with David, as a type of the Messiah. It is not His dealings that make us sons, but, as the writer to the Hebrews says, because we are His sons and not bastards, God deals with us. The discipline and training He applies to us is not unto sonship, but He disciplines and trains His sons to teach them that His grace is utterly sufficient for them to live the kind of life that pleases Him. At the same time He shows to all the authorities in the heavenly places the undeniable reality of the resurrection of His Son at work in those who trust Him, His “manifold wisdom”.

We can draw our conclusion that the eternal inheritance, whether it is our inheritance in Christ or God’s inheritance in the saints, is not related to our performance. Holiness and spiritual maturity is what God may expect from us according to the grace in Christ, His Son and we are to be blamed if we come short. So let us come together to encourage and exhort one another, “so much the more as ye see the day approaching…” (Heb. 10:25).