Sonship is the most significant concept that God wants every human being to grasp, understand, and walk in. God is love, (1 John 4:8, 4:16), and He created sons to show His love both to them and for them, the sons of God, and to reveal His glory through their own being. We know that God was creating sons because He made humankind in “our own image, according to our likeness [not a physical, but a spiritual personality and a moral likeness], and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all of the earth…” (Genesis 1:26). Just as progeny resembles the father in the natural, God made sons to represent Him in the spiritual sense. Salvation is part of God’s plan but it is not the ultimate purpose. The ultimate purpose is to have a son who is truly representative of his Father—one who will rule righteously, according to the Father’s eternal standards, and one who truly understands that he is a spirit being contained in the flesh. When you speak of a son of God, you are speaking about someone whose Father is a Spirit. Ergo, the son of God is a spirit being contained in the flesh. For when God breathed life into man, (cf. Genesis 2:17), He imparted into man a spirit of His own so that man could communicate with God Spirit to spirit. This singular aspect is what separates man from all creation including the angelic.
When we grow in our desire to truly know Christ, our spirits become progressively more active in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. We come to love Him more, to obey Him, and to put His will ahead of our own. That is the point where we begin to become considered a mature son of God. But we do not become that immediately once we receive Christ. Yes, we are sons, but the word describes a new or immature believer as a child. There is a process that we walk through before being considered mature. John 1:12 says “as many as receive Him, to them He gave the right to become sons of God.” There is a transformation that occurs in the maturing process that results in us becoming mature sons of God. God gives us the natural to understand the spiritual. In the natural we start out as a child and go through a maturation process to become adults. The same is true for the sons of God. The different levels of development can be seen throughout the bible. In the New Testament, when the word son is used, we can go back to the original Greek to get a clearer understanding of the word. Son can mean anything from a new born infant, nepios, to a little child, paidion, or a teenager, teknon, or a young adult, neaniskos, and finally huios, which is a fully mature son who accurately represents the Father.
This maturing process is best accomplished with the help of a spiritual father, who is a mature man of God who is able to mentor and guide you in your spiritual growth. A good example of this relationship is seen between Paul and Timothy. We know that Timothy was not Paul’s natural son because Acts 16:1 states that Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman and a Greek father, yet Paul referred to Timothy as “my child in the Lord”, (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17), and my child in the faith, (cf. 1 Timothy 1:1 and 1 Timothy 1:18).
The spiritual father teaches a son to see how he or she is ruled by their soul and their worldly ways. He helps them transition from the rule of their soul in their lives to the rule of the Spirit of God. This teaches them to go from relying on their reason, their emotions, and their worldly ways for provision and protection, to relying on God Himself as they learn to trust what the Spirit is showing them. The spiritual father comes along side to teach and assist. He settles the emotions of the soul of the son because the soul is not a reliable implement for faith towards God. He explains the role of suffering that is necessary for maturing. This process is designed to limit and restrict the input of the soul in determining the true nature of reality. This allows our spirit to be the preeminent lead in our lives and it allows us to part the veil and return to the reality of the Spirit of God in our lives and look to the Kingdom of God for our provision and protection.
Ephesians 4:8 states that Christ Jesus gave certain gifts to men. These gifts are enumerated as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors (shepherds g4166) and teachers. (cf. Ephesians 4:11) Jeremiah 3:15 states “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” A father is a shepherd, i.e., one who gives care and oversight of the ones who have committed themselves and who have chosen to follow God’s precepts. The most important aspect of a true father is that he rules for the benefit of the son. He teaches the sons to rule righteously which is what Jesus taught when He said He only does what He sees the Father doing and “When you see Me, you see the Father.” (cf. John 5:19, 14:9) The spiritual father teaches the son to measure all things by the eternal standard, not the worldly, carnal standards of the day.
God intends to reveal His glory through His manifested sons, assembled as the corporate Man in Christ, who have overcome and been delivered from the bond of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God who worship Him in spirit and in truth. (Romans 5:17a). God’s original intent was to restore the relationship of God and man as Father and son. God always intended that the end of the age would bring forth the perfect fruition of that which He planted in the earth from the beginning.
Sonship is a fundamental concept that is expressed throughout Scripture as well as Sam's teachings. For further development we recommend the teachings within the Maturing Through Sonship branch, especially the 'Sonship Series'. See also My Father! My Father! book by Sam Soleyn.