Sons Through the Son
Friday of Epiphany 4
3 February 2017
There are sons and there is the Son. The difference is enormous. Christ is the Only-begotten Son, born of the Father from eternity. We are reborn sons, not by birth strictly speaking, but by re-birth. The rebirth comes at the price of the Only-begotten Son, that through adoption by His blood redemption, we might become sons of God. We become sons because of Him.
 
Much modern theological thought about who the Son is gets this relationship backward. It begins by presuming that we all share a kind of sonship through the divine spark that is implanted in us; all are godlings, as Mormonism asserts. Christ merely has the largest measure of that divine spark. He most powerfully exhibits what all of us already possess but often insufficiently. He is humanity writ large. He is the exemplary human after which we ought all to strive. His sonship is merely best, not only.
 
Such a son places our adoption into jeopardy. Our re-birth is reduced to an act of self will. I am giving birth to myself. Such an idea is risible on the order of the old joke about my being my own grandfather. In birth there must be the begetter and the born. One does not give rise to oneself, except in the looking glass world of modern liberalism in which the deluded individual is his own creator. I am birthing myself by becoming more like Him. This is not God's way, for His Son is the Only-begotten, this only-ness excludes all others. The us in God is only Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; not ourselves, and especially not through our fanning into spectacular flame the divine spark in humanity. Such an attempt only sets afire the bonfire of the vanities kindled by the spark of our pride. Kyrie, Eleison.
 
There is only one true Son, who by His blood and death adopts us into the family of our Father. He pays the price to manumit us from slavery to death, that we might be called true sons, and receive the Life from Him. He is the Son by birth. We are sons by adoption in Him.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
 
"The words of our Lord's teaching do not permit that the disciple should be above his Master, or the slave rule over his Lord. In these contrasted positions, subordination to knowledge is the fitting state of ignorance, and unconditional submission the appointed lot of servitude. And since it is the common judgment of all that this is so, whose rashness now shall induce us to say or think that God is a creature, or that the Son has been made? For nowhere do we find that our Master and Lord spoke thus of Himself to His servants and disciples, or that He taught that His birth was a creation or a making. Moreover, the Father never bore witness to Him as being anything  else but a Son, nor did the Son profess that God was anything else than His own true Father, assuredly affirming that He was born, not made nor created, as He says, 'Everyone who loves the Father loves whomever has been born of him' (1Jn 5:1).
 
"On the other hand, His works in creation are acts of making and not a birth through generation. For the heaven is not a son, neither is the earth a son, nor is the world a birth; for of these it is said, 'All things were made through him' (Jn 1:3); and by the prophet, 'The heavens are the work of your hands' (Ps 102:25); and by the same prophet, 'Do not forsake the work of your hands' (Ps 138:8). Is a picture a son of the painter, or a sword a son of the smith or a house a son of the architect? These are the works of their making: but He alone is the Son of the Father who is born of the Father.
 
"And we indeed are sons of God, but sons because the Son has made us such. For we were once sons of wrath, but have been made sons of God through the Spirit of adoption, and have earned that title by favor, not by right of birth. And since everything that is made, before it was made, was not, so we, although we were not sons, have been made what we are. For formerly we were not sons: but after we have earned the name we are such. Moreover, we have not been born, but made; not begotten, but purchased. For God purchased a people for Himself, and by this act begot them. But we never learn that God begot sons in the strict sense of the term. For He does not say, 'I have begotten and brought up My sons,' but only, 'I have begotten and brought up sons' (Is 1:2)."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 12.11-13
Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
 
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
 
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)
Prayer
Dear heavenly Father, You have begotten Your one true Son that in Him we might be reborn at Your hands and made Your sons. Help us to repose quietly in our status as adopted children. Grant that we might confess that You are the Only-begotten in a world making blasphemous claims of human divinity. Amen.
 
For Memorial Lutheran School, that it might be faithful to the Lord's mission to teach Him as the Only-begotten Son

For Hilary and Nathan Haak as they celebrate the gift of holy marriage with family and friends this weekend, that the Lord would grant them many years of joy in service to church and family
 
For President Matthew Harrison of the LCMS, that the Lord would be with him as he serves the people of the LCMS
 
For those who work in public safety services, that they would be kept safe as they carry out their duties
Art: MANETTI, Rutilio  Wedding Feast at Cana  (c. 1620)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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