By Femi Aribisala
God’s sons are exclusively men and women of faith who do God’s will.
God is not a Father through creation. He created so many things to which he is not a Father. He created the heavens and the earth, but he is not the Father of the heavens and the earth. Nevertheless, Paul and other New Testament writers refer to God as the Father of mercies (2 Corinthians 1:3); the Father of glory (Ephesians 1:17); and the Father of lights. (James 1:17). This dilutes Jesus’ unique message about the fatherhood of God.
Hebrews says God is not the Father of angels: “For to which of the angels did He ever say: ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you?’” (Hebrews 1:5). However, the same Hebrews contradicts itself by saying God is the father of angels: “We have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” (Hebrews 12:9).
But, according to Jesus, God’s sons are exclusively men and women of faith who do God’s will: “Then one said to him, ‘Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with you.’ But he answered and said to the one who told him, ‘Who is my mother and who are my brothers?’ And he stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’” (Matthew 12:47-50).
Paul does not understand what it means to be a son of God. He says: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14). That is way too simplistic. The prophets of the Old Testament were led by the Spirit of God. Peter says: “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when he testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” (1 Peter 1:10-11).
However, the prophets were servants of God and not sons of God. God did not refer to any prophet as his son in the scriptures. He called Moses his servant: “When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses, he is faithful in all my house.” (Numbers 12:6-7). Servants of God like Moses came to God before the coming of Jesus. But Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). This shows all sons of God come to the Father through Jesus.
Paul says: “He who is called while free is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” (1 Corinthians 7:22-23). That is erroneous. The believer is not Christ’s slave but his brother. (Matthew 12:48-49). Slaves are bought and sold but sons of God are not. However, contrary to Paul’s position, Jesus requires sons of God to be slaves of men. He says: “Whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. (Mark 10:44).
Indeed, Paul refers to himself as “a servant of God.” (Titus 1:1). This shows Paul did not learn certain things at the feet of Jesus. Disciples of Jesus are not his servants because, according to Jesus, servants are not given the knowledge of friends. Jesus told his disciples: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15).
Paul says eternal life is a gift of God. (Romans 6:23). However, this cannot be so because, according to Jesus, eternal life is very costly to the believer. Jesus warns: “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it.” (Luke 14:27-28).
One of these costs is the loss of earthly kinship. Jesus says: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26). Gifts don’t come with costs.
Paul says furthermore: “With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10). However, when we listen to Jesus, we discover that we do not become sons of God through vain confessions. Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21). In effect, we become sons by planting the words of Jesus in our hearts and by doing the works of God. (Mark 4:11-20; John 10:35-38).
David, the servant of God, hated his enemies with “perfect hatred.” (Psalm 139:21-22). But sons of God love their enemies and repay their evil with good. (Matthew 5:43-48).
Sons of God don’t resist evil, but turn the other cheek when they are struck. (Matthew 5:39). But our objective is not to “to heap coals of fire on our enemies’ heads” according to Paul. (Romans 12:20). We simply want to be perfect, just like our Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48).
Paul’s ignorance leads him to refer to himself as the father of Gentile Christians like Timothy. (1 Timothy 1:18). This contravenes Jesus’ injunction: “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for one is your Father, he who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9). Surely, Paul cannot play God’s fatherly role in Timothy’s life.
Paul even claims he gave birth to some Christians. (Galatians 4:19). This shows he knows nothing about Jesus’ kingdom principle of being “born again.” (John 3:3). Paul says sons of God are adopted by Christ. (Ephesians 1:5). But Jesus is our brother and not our Father. Paul then says God adopted us. (Galatians 4:5-6). This means we have an adoptive Father (God); a spiritual father (Paul); and biological fathers.
But here again, Paul’s self-serving doctrine contradicts Jesus. According to Jesus, we are sons of God by birth and not by adoption. If we were adopted, we would not need to be “born again.” To be born again means to be born “from above” by God himself. A man who is “born again” by God cannot at the same time be adopted by God.
If God merely adopted us, we would retain our blood relations. But Jesus says different. When we are born of God, we lose all blood-ties and receive a hundredfold return of spiritual relatives. (Mark 10:29-30). Unlike our previously limited number of biological relatives, all God’s children the world over become our relatives.
However, we do not receive a hundredfold return of spiritual fathers. We relinquish our earthly fathers in exchange for the one single Father; the Father in heaven. We have no other Father but God.