It is important for us to understand how the relationship works between God the Father and God the Son. This will give us insight concerning the way in which we must walk in Godly relationships with each other. We must be careful to pay attention because “he has spoken to us by his Son.” (Hebrews 1:2) It is not only from Jesus’ words we must find life, but also from the example of His way of life – otherwise we are not His followers.
Firstly, how does God the Father feel about His Son? The Father loves the son deeply and passionately; He cherishes Him above all. (John 3:35) As far as the Father is concerned, there is no one like His Son. He is the apple of His eye. He watches over Him, and holds Him in loving and tender embrace. Nothing is too good for His Son. We are told the Father entrusts all things to His Son, including all judgement. (John 5:19-23) When it was necessary to choose a saviour for lost mankind, and there was no man righteous, God the Father chose to send His own Son, to embrace both human nature and a physical body, to redeem man from his sin. He sent His Son into the world to be the saviour of the world, and in this the Father has made a determination. All things will be consummated in His Son. As far as the Father is concerned, the Son is so important, so central to all that the Father is, that unless a man receives the Son, he cannot come to the Father. (John 14:6) “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36)
How does the Son feel about the Father? The Son of God loves and reveres His Father, honouring Him in all things and above all things, and chooses to only and ever live for His Father. He came into the world in obedience to His Father, and lived His whole life upon earth in that same, submitted obedience. He was totally surrendered to the will of the Father. He said, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38) For the son, the Father is the centre of all things. Jesus remarked, “By myself I can do nothing; …for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” (John 5:30)
In teaching His followers, Jesus constantly pointed them to the Father. He would spend many hours in prayer, and long nights in lonely vigil, seeking His Father. And He longed for the day when He would return to His Father in glory. “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” (John 17:1)
At the end of the age, all things shall find their consummation in Christ, the Son of God. But when God the Father has made all things subject to Christ, then Christ shall submit all things, including Himself, to His Father. (1 Cor 15:24-28)
So we see that the Father and the Son are totally devoted to one another. There is no independence, no personal agenda, no private action. Each is completely one with the other.
This is not only the nature of God, it is also the nature of the fellowship into which Christ has called us. You and I, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, are not called to independence, or unilateral action, but we are called to find oneness, not only with Christ but with each other too.
This greatly clarifies something we must understand; the intimacy and unity of fellowship that is shared by the Father and the Son is the same fellowship into which you and I are called. When the Son of God described us as being called to “complete unity” (John 17:23), He was describing the kind of unity and relationship that exists between God the Father and the Son. We are called to share the father-son nature of God.
There are a few more things that must be said of God at this point.
God is a self-determining God; He chooses for Himself the kind of God He will be. God is perfect, God is holy, God is unchanging, and God is a three-persons-in-one God. Do you know why God chooses to be three persons? Because if God was only one person, He could not be perfect, and could not be holy. Even if God was two persons, He could not be holy. For God to be a holy God, a perfect God, He must be three – or more.
Here is how to understand this. You know that the Bible says, “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) It is not possible for God to be perfect or holy if God is not also love. In eternity, God must fellowship or this statement is meaningless and love is powerless. If God were to be love but have no fellowship, then God would be powerless to express His nature. And so it is not possible for God to be holy, or to be love, unless he lives in perfect communion with others – without division and without independence, there must be a perfect union.
The “spirit of sonship” embodies certain attitudes, certain values and certain actions. Principally, this is an attitude or grace we hold in our hearts towards other people, as well as being an attitude of heart toward God.
At the heart of the universe is a father-son relationship. Everything that has been made has been made through that father-son relationship, including your salvation in the cross and the shed blood of Christ. That shed blood only has power for you because a certain son had a certain relationship with a certain father, and they walk in it forever. If that relationship did not exist, you could not be saved.
At the heart of the cosmos is this father-son relationship, and everything comes forth from that. Your eternal security, your welfare, the fact that your name is written in heaven, the fact that you can believe your sins have been forgiven, and that you will live forever with Christ, is dependent on one thing and one thing only – that a certain son walks with a certain father, and walks with Him forever. We ought to thank God for such a father and son.