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Children or Sons?


Beloved, now we are children of God, and it is not yet revealed what we will be. But we know that when he is revealed, we will be like him; for we will see him just as he is. Everyone who has this hope set on him purifies himself, even as he is pure.
1 JOHN 3:2 – 3

This powerful, liberating truth of God speaks to all those who by FAITH have been born anew into the family of God; “…we are God’s children NOW”! This is not determined by the feelings or circumstances of life; this is the certainty of God. We are now children of His whereby we cry “Abba, Father”. To most of Christendom this is as far and as deep as things go. The beginning has become the end and we have manufactured a doctrinal thesis to keep this as the status quo. We see here in First John that there is to be a living hope that beats within our hearts of us growing into the full undimmed expression of HIM in our lives…that when HE appears we SHALL BE LIKE HIM! This is manifested by the maturation of a growing purity within the hearts of those who know of this living hope.

Doctrinal hopes have no power to convey this quest for life. It is simply a teaching that we believe which lays no claim to our personal lives. It is a religious concept that robs the WORD of its power and authority (Mark 7:13). There is little or no cost associated with such a “belief” and the adherents of such go through life with very little change. Children of God, loved of HIM, yet bereft of experiencing the glory and privilege of growing and developing into the sons of God. In the New Testament the Greek words used to differentiate between these two (for children and sons) are distinct*. As a child develops added responsibilities are given and with these responsibilities the added privileges of His life. We do not give a three year old the car keys. God measures out to His own the pounds and the talents according to their “ability” and we see the withholding of truth to those who are unexercised in the development of true spiritual discernment.

“For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat** belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil”
HEBREWS 5:13 – 14

And again:

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able”

Strong meat belongs to those who have grown from a child toward that full-aged development by the exercising of their senses to discern “good and evil”. Discernment is developed by growing into a pure heart so that we can see clearly and objectively (1Corinthians 2:15). “Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:18). It is only by us becoming pure in heart that we shall see God and have the ability to discern between good and evil.

“And everyone that has THIS hope in him
purifies himself as he is pure”

The revelation of our hope is revealed in a growing purity. That hope is the bridge between what we are now and what we will be when HE appears. All we need to do is to look at the parables of Jesus. They all speak of faith as a living, growing dynamic that is filled with HIS very life. The parable of the sower clearly states that the fruitfulness of a life is completely dependent upon the soil of the heart into which the precious seed falls. The seed that fell on the stony ground is the SAME seed that fell into the soil that brought forth the hundred fold harvest. The only difference is the soil; not the seed.

Huios (son) at times refers to a legal heir and thus, by implication, an adult. It seems to underscore the character or maturity of the individual. Teknon (child or children) is a more general designation for offspring and contemplates the individual as one who is parented, one who has been born to another. For example, Jesus is never designated as teknon or teknon Theou (gen. of Theos (G2316), God), Son of God, but always ho huios, the Son, the Son of God or the Son of Man


“The difference between believers as “children of God” and as “sons of God” is brought out in Rom. 8:14-21. The Spirit bears witness with their spirit that they are “children of God,” and, as such, they are His heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. This stresses the fact of their spiritual birth (vv. 16, 17). On the other hand, “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God,” i.e., “these and no other.” Their conduct gives evidence of the dignity of their relationship and their likeness to His character.” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testaments Words, by W.E. Vine)

**Strong Meat – Strong meat not only refers to a deeper understanding of the Word of God but is in reality the doing of His Will. Jesus while at the well in Sychar sent His disciples into the city to get food, while they were away He ministered to the woman at the well. When His disciples returned He told them He was no longer hungry; the disciples had not learned of the meat which can only be had by the doing and being in the will of God.

“I have meat to eat that ye know not of”
John 4:32

There is a famine in our land, it not a famine of the knowledge but of doing, it is a famine which leaves many impoverished, impotent and lean in the power and the wonder of the Life of Christ. Disciples participate in the ministration of Christ, they are not spectators. The transformation of children into sonship is one of doing and becoming and it is at this juncture where everyone of His offspring determine their portion of His provision… “To them that hath, will more be given” and to them who are faithless in the gifts of Christ shall suffer loss (read the Parable of the Pounds and the Talents). Every individual in Christ determines the “Day of the Lord” by their own faithfulness to that which has been given. Some unto glory, honour and future rewards and others to loss.

Are we remaining undeveloped children
or are we becoming sons?

Brian Troxel


  • Jaster says:

    Thanks for sharing this Brian. We must continue seeking God’s will with ever-increasing diligence and the utmost humility, under the realization that we have neither life nor hope apart from HIS power and HIS provision.

    If you have drunk from the well of the water of life, you cannot, with an undefiled conscience, settle for anything else. The very life of God which is in Jesus Christ is the very life which He has made us partakers of, if indeed we will partake.
    “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” (John 6:57)
    Where is our desire for God Himself? Who will strive for the unimaginable reward which God has promised to those who love Him? How scarcely I hear it said, “Why would I not wish to be holy as He is holy?” or, “What better a thing is there than to be conformed to His likeness?”

    “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: BUT I FOLLOW AFTER, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:10-12)

    When the Son of man returns, will He find faith on the earth?

    To bear the weight of living in this present evil age having merely glimpsed and tasted of the glory of God; to sojourn in a dry and weary land where there is no growth in sight except that of thorns, and seemingly no man in sight except those who despise the word of the Lord; to be persecuted as an outcast and slandered among men: all these things are but light and momentary afflictions on account of the strength which the Lord gives to those whose heart is pure before Him. The one who takes up a heavy cross to faithfully and trustingly follow Christ soon discovers the liberating truth of these words: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, looking to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is pure before Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

    “To him that overcomes I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and in that stone a new name written which no man knows except the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17)

    God bless,
    always a delight.

    Thanks again,

  • Zaphenath-paneah says:

    I have just come across your web-site and read this piece. I feel a genuine prompting to share the following. What I have been considering lately is how much self indulgence there is in the Body of Christ these days. How everyone seems to be seeking to bask in the benefits of sonship and avoid the narrow path that Jesus spoke of. Few are having their hearts truly dealt with. Few are opening themselves to the surgeons scalpel. Also, I am aware that many are like King Saul these days. Men of the flesh. These men are in the church but also have their identity very much in this world. Professional Christians who masquerade as “leaders”. The love of money and worldly success has lured them. They delude themselves that somehow God needs them and their “gifts”. The pride in their hearts has never been truly laid on the altar.

    • Brendan says:

      “Her foes have become the head; her enemies prosper, because the LORD has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.”
      -Lamentations 1:5

      I have been fascinated and humbled by what can be gleaned from the book of Lamentations. With overwhelming HUMILITY, the third chapter reveals the true answer to our dilemma. As the Lord said through Isaiah’s pen, “This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite of heart, and trembles at my word.”

      We have built a tower to reach heaven – as in the time of Babel – rather than falling on our faces to ask the Lord for His guidance. We have tried to cover up our sin rather than letting the light of God’s truth penetrate our hearts and rip out all that does not belong in His presence; and so we have left ourselves without His presence. But God is still searching these dry wastelands for those who will answer His call and respond in the obedience of faith.

    • Brian Troxel says:

      Such is the hour and the day we are in very much appreciate your comment

  • Zaphenath-paneah says:

    Yes, it amazes me how folks can talk around issues without ever really getting to the core and allowing God to truly deal with them. Folks can write words and give sermons but few are picking up their cross and dying the death that Jesus spoke of. Folks seek to make themselves feel better in their intellectual assertions and debates and yet all the time they are the masters of their own ship. They willfully avoid the pathway if true discipleship. They carefully manufacture the lives and their churches to suit themselves. Most are on the pathway of seeking blessing and the lures if this world have actually ensnared them. The Church is the harlot and those within it have allowed themselves to become prostitutes to the love if money and success in this worlds definitions. Deceiving themselves that God does not see the deeper motivations and is not able to examine their hearts. Lifestyles and hearts motives are not being changed. Seeking the good things of this world and blessing of this life with Almighty God added on. I am aware that God seeks fully rounded sons and therefore it is those who allow the deeper trials and testings to be laid on them that will truly experience the refining of sonship. Many speak if an immature sonship where “daddy” is there to bless me. Few see the chastening as a deeper blessing. What we see is a shallow interpretation of sonship in these days from a shallow generation of “leaders” who utterly fail through saying words that show they know little if the deeper ways of God. As each generation passes God seeks those that will carry the deeper message of the true calling of Christ. At the end of the day, Christianity in the west mainly consists of middle class folks living comfortable lifestyles and if they are honest with themselves this is what they seek. The masquerade goes on.

  • Zaphenath-paneah says:

    Yes, indeed. The phrase that comes to me is that there are those who have built for themselves ivory towers in these days. Modern day Pharisees whose lives do not match the rhetoric they espouse. For some reason folks seem fit to indulge these modern day Pharisees within the current created church culture. How far this created reality is from the Cross that the true disciple is called to follow. Many men no nothing of the Cross whatsoever and therefore every word they speak or write is only demonstrating how man continually deludes himself as to the notion that he is truly following the deeper calling of Christ. Men have omitted the Cross from their cosy lives and therefore every notion within his outlook lacks the depth and crucifixion of the Cross. I have learned never in these days to take a man at his word. Does his lifestyle and his daily choices match the way of the cross is my question? Is he more concerned about what car he drives or how successful he is in the eyes of this world? So many planks in so many eyes. Where do we begin? Those who have rejected the Cross and who are preaching a shallower message to the masses. Perhaps the plank of wood that offends the most is the Cross. So few volunteers for death these days. The death of self. So many who are not qualified to preach to others yet they continue to do so. Let the suffering man stand up and speak. This is the man that the self-made and self reliant man will seek to silence. Redact his words etc. I wish the self-made men would shut up. There is little they can tell us of the wilderness and the refining needed to become like Christ.

  • Zaphenath-paneah says:

    Few spelling errors there in both.

  • Highly descriptive article, I liked that a lot. Will there be
    a part 2?

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