My oldest son voraciously read the first Percy Jackson book in five days. Two days after he closed the first, he is well into the second. He could not resist the sequel any more than I could have walked out of Hamilton satisfied during the intermission.
One fully immersed in and captured by the first act must be propelled into the second and beyond.
Salvation purchases and provides sonship for those who trust in Jesus. The two are meant to be more closely intertwined, interwoven and attached than The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mocking Jay.
Yet, they are all too often truncated, separated, divorced. There are far too many who have been led to the assumption that salvation is a stand-alone act. No wonder so many find little to no satisfaction in their practice of the Christian life. They are living in and drawing from only the first act. They have never experienced the sequel intended to follow infinitely close upon its heals: sonship.
But the problem is not only with them. Perhaps if more of us who claim Christ lived in the Spirit of Sonship, they would be drawn to the sonship meant to be salvation’s sister and sequel.
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 2:23-3:1.
I believe there are many who have truly heard and received the gospel who are living truncated lives. They are in Christ, but they don’t even know an iota of what it means to be in Christ. I believe this because for quite some time I was one of them. The gospel had been proclaimed to me and I truly received it’s eternally good news as the unnamed truth that I had been thirsting for my whole life. My desires changed, but I had no clue what to do next.
Life-on-life discipleship provided a connection tunnel between salvation and sonship. While I may have heard in snippets that there was so much more to the Christian life, I had never seen it played out in real lives before me. When I did, I was quite literally pulled relationally into the sequel.
Watching people living out of the Spirit of sonship or daughter-ship (to make up a word) led me to inwardly (or sometimes even outwardly) say the following statements: “I didn’t know studying the Word could look like that,” “I didn’t know menial work could look like that,” “I didn’t know marriage could look like that” and “I didn’t know motherhood could look like that.”
I hope that for the rest of my life, there are people practicing sonship who induce such statements in my life. Even more so, I intend to be one of those people in the lives of others.
A multifaceted life requires a multifaceted gospel, and such we have. The gospel’s good news of salvation ought to lead to lives of sonship and daughter-ship. What is believed and received in a moment ought to lead to a sequel that lasts an entire lifetime. If we are stalled out on the side of road to Glory, it is probably because our spiritual engines are running on fumes. To be refilled and refreshed in our sonship, we need to be committed to the regular means of grace,to the local body of the Church, to life-on-life discipleship in one of its many forms or fashions and to deepening our walks with God.
When sonship continues to spread systemically into every part of our lives, we find great satisfaction and the watching world sees the sequel to salvation. We and they will then proclaim with the aging Apostle of Love, “What manner of love is this? Of what kind? From what country?”