Risen Christ with his disciples
Risen Christ with his disciples - painting by Kiko Arguello
The Power to Become the Children of God
by Carlos Mantica

Saint Paul says in Romans 8:19 that the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. And in the next verse he explains why: for the creation was subjected to futility… in hope, because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.

There surely exists in God’s plan some point in history when this manifestation will be evident to the whole world, but I think this should also take place to some extent here and now. Unfortunately, I also believe this cannot happen as long as his children remain unaware of their own identity and of the dignity with which they have been endowed.

It is about that dignity that I would like to talk today, but without referring to all the children of God, but rather to those whom he has called to be manifested here and now as his representatives.

The things I am going to mention fall in the category of what I call my favorite heresies. These truths are so absurd and sublime that they sound like falsehood, but once we internalize them they ought to become the quintessence of our personal faith, that is, of the faith that impels us and sustains us—of our deepest conviction.

Perhaps the simplest way to sum up our dignity is by saying that everything the heavenly Father wanted to do with his Son, the Son and the Father have wanted to do with us. They have wanted us to be as he is, to have what he has, to do what he did and to be what he is.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)

Jesus has decided to give us his own identity:
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God (John 1:12).
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)
It was Jesus who taught us to call “Dad” and to address in a familiar way the One whose name could not even be pronounced (Romans 8:15).

And if children, then heirs. That is why we are called to have what he has:
The Father said to the Son in his self-portrait parable: Son, …all that is mine is yours (Luke 15:31).
The Son said to the Father: All mine are thine, and thine are mine (John 17:10). I am praying for them… for they are thine (John 17:9). Thine they were, and thou gavest them to me (John 17:6).
Paul then says:
All [things] are yours; and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:22).
God gave his Son a mother, and he in turn has decided to give her to us: Behold, your mother! (John 19:27). He made her Immaculate; us he leaves without the slightest trace of sin when he effaces all sin with his blood and his forgiveness.

He was born by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are born again from on high, by the work of the same Spirit.

And it is through his own Spirit that he has decided to give us his own character:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).
And he has wanted us to do the same things he does; for the one who had said:  Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord (John 5:19), is the same who will later say to the Apostles and to us: Apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5), and yet, [you] will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will [you] do (John 14:12).

And Paul adds
, I can do all things in him who strengthens me  (Philippians 4:13).

The First Letter of John says that the Lord came to revert the work of Satan: The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). And the last chapter of Mark (16:17-20) tells us:
 “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” …And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.
Jesus said: The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son (John 5:22).

St. Paul reminds us: Do you not know that we are to judge angels? (1 Corinthians 6:3)
Jesus said: The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works (John 14:10).
And to those he has called he says: But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you (John 14:26).
We have been called to be as he is:
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

And to those he has called he says: You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:13, 14). 
And in Philippians, Paul says: …that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15).

Jesus’ desire is for us to be like him in all, being lifted up to the Father:
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth (John 17:16-19).
He who has emptied himself and taken the condition of a servant to wash his disciples’ feet, says to us:
Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet (John 13:12-14).
These are all tremendous truths, but it is not us who have invented these things. They come from him who once said: I and the Father are one (John 10:30). If you knew me, you would know my Father also (John 8:19). And to Philip he says: He who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9). And, He who sees me sees him who sent me (John 12:45).

This is the same one who prays to the Father asking that we would be one with him and with the Father:
The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me (John 17:22-23).
He who asserts that the Father loves us as much as he has loved his Son Jesus, is the same one who says to us:
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love (John 15:9).
That is why he continues to say a little later:
Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in they love for me before the foundation of the world  (John 17:24).
And since the Father’s desire is to do the will of the Son, just as the Son’s desire was always to do the Father’s will (John 5:30), this desire of Jesus’ has been fulfilled. The Father gave over his Son to death for our sake, but he raised him from the dead for our sake too.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you (Romans 8:11).
…When he raised [Christ] from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:20-23).

That is why even the smallest among us, being part of his body, even if he is unworthy to untie his shoes and is now as high as his feet, is yet above all throne, dominion and power.

We are already sitting with him at the right hand of the Father. It is not that some day we will be there, but we are already with him at the right hand of the Father.
In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you (John 14:20).
How different things look from the perspective of the throne! God’s secret plan is to recapitulate all things in Christ:
…as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth (Ephesians 1:10).
For this purpose, this is what he did with Jesus:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).
And because God gave him a name above every name, and because he has made him Lord of all that exists, he can now say to his Apostles:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28: 18-19).
It has been granted to us to complete Christ’s mission in the world, and that is the raison d’être of our call. We have been called to the most important mission in human history: to complete the mission that only a God could begin, and which required a God to become man, so that one day we might be like him and be with him forever. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb (Revelation 7:9).
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:10-11).
Some may wonder how we came to know that Christ is God. And I’m not referring to the faith in his divinity, but to the evidence of his divinity. Some have wanted to see the proof in his miracles, or in his power to forgive sins, or even in his resurrection from the dead. I think that the proof of his deity lies in the way he has loved us. God is love (1 John 4:8), and only God could have loved as he loved. And if it is in this that it has been known that he is God, in the way he loved us and in the fact that he loved us first, then by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35).
Brothers and sisters,
[I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe (Ephesians 1:17-19).
We have spoken, and
…we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,’ God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:7-10).

> See related articles by Carlos Mantica

This article is adapted from the book, From Egghead to Birdhood (hatch or rot as a Christian), (c) copyright 2001 Carlos Mantica. Used with permission.

Carlos Mantica is a founder of The City of God community (La Cuidad de Dios) in Managua, Nicaragua, and a founding leader of the Sword of the Spirit. He served as president of the Sword of the Spirit between 1991 and 1995.

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