As sons are brought to maturity, we find it’s never about “us” becoming sons. The focus is on the one Son, Jesus Christ, formed in us. It is the Father relating to His son, Jesus Christ, abiding in us.
When we are in our spiritual infancy or adolescence, it’s always about “our” relationship with God. Our emphasis is always on what God is doing for us, or what He is doing in us. The focus is “us.” There is no reproach implied in such a statement. It must be this way as we grow. But there comes a time when we must die to this relationship. It doesn’t happen all at once, but a displacement of focus takes place. The Father cannot delight in His son within us if the Son is not yet formed in us. Yes, the moment we accept Christ into our lives the spirit of Christ dwells in our spirits. But this is not the same thing as Christ’s nature formed in us. Paul told the Galatians, “My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you.” Many Christians live their entire lives in an infant/adolescent state. Why is this? It is because they have never embraced a living word. It is the living word of Christ, spoken into our lives, that grows until everything of self is pushed out. How we receive a living word and hold it dearly determines much. Paul told the Thessalonians, “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” A living word will perform its work in us. It will cause the crucifixion of the “me” realm and lead us into living in the “Him” realm.
It cannot be overstated that sonship is about the Father relating to the Son. The Father delights in the Son. When He sees His son formed in us, it becomes the basis of our joy. For it is Christ’s life coming forth in us, and we in Him. Being IN Him, and Him IN us, enables us to partake of all the joy wrapped up in the Father/Son relationship. It will forever be a paradox that Jesus Christ is the preeminent one, yet our lives are inseparable from His.