We are God’s children and we pray, “Our Father Who are in heaven” and Christ is the Son of God; what is the difference between Christ’s Sonship to God and ours?
The Lord Christ is the Son of God, of God’s essence and same Divine Nature.
He is of the same divinity with all divine attributes. Hence He could say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) and “I and My Father are One.” (John 10:30). The Jews took up stones to stone Him because being a man, He made Himself God (John 10:31, 33). This fact was asserted by St. John the Evangelist when he said, “The Word was God” (John 1:1).
The Lord Christ is the Son of God since eternity, before the ages.
He is born of the Father before all ages as He said in His soliloquy with the Father, “O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (John 17:5).
As He was before the world and being God’s uttered reason it was said, “All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:3).
On the other hand, our sonship to God is a kind of adoption and honour granted in a certain time.
St. John the Beloved said, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). We are called so, out of God’s love for us. It was also said, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (John 1:12).
Therefore, it is not natural sonship of His essence, otherwise we would be gods!! It is also connected with time, for it was not there before our believing and accepting baptism.
Since Christ’s sonship to the Father is natural sonship of the same essence, He is called “The Only Begotten Son.”
That is the Only Son of His essence, nature and divinity.
It was thus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son.” (John 3:16).
The same expression – The Only Begotten Son – was repeated in (John 3:18) and in (John 1:18), “No one has seen God at any time. The Only Begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him,” and also in (1 John 4:9), “In this the love of God was manifested towards us, that God has sent His Only Begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”
In being the Only Son, His sonship is certainly different from ours.
Therefore, this matchless sonship is received by us with belief and worship.
In the story of the man born blind, for example, when the Lord found the man who was cast out by the Jews, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” and the man answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” and having known Him, the man said, “Lord, I believe!” and worshipped Him (John 9:35-38). If the Lord was just son of God like others, there would be no need for belief and worship.
Furthermore, believing in this sonship was the aim of the gospel.
St. John almost, at the end of the gospel, says “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of GOD, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30, 31). When St. Peter confessed this belief, saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” the Lord considered his confession the rock on which the church was to be built (Matt 16:16, 18).
The Lord Christ, being alone the natural Son of the Father, was called the Son as in many verses demonstrating His Divinity.
The mere words “The Son” are taken to refer to the Lord Christ.
Some examples are:
+ “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgement to the Son, that all should honour the Son just as they honour the Father.” (John 5:21-23).
+ “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36).
+ “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)
+ “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire. But to the Son He says, ‘Your Throne, O God, is forever and ever…'” (Heb 1:7, 8).
There are many other examples which imply the same meaning.
Being the Son, He is worshipped by all God’s angels.
About the greatness of the Lord Christ, the apostle said, “But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him'”. (Heb 1:6).
The Lord Christ was referred to as the Son of God on occasions of miracles.
+ When the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matt 27:54).
+ Nathanael, when the Lord told him that he saw him under the fig tree, believed and said, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49).
+ Those who were in the boat and saw him walking on the sea, came and worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matt 14:33).
+ When the Lord Christ said to Martha before raising her brother, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” Martha answered, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27).
The testimony of John the Baptist at the time of the Lord’s baptism with the accompanying wonders. St. John said, “And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34).
Therfore, it is evident that the Lord’s sonship to the Father is not an ordinary sonship like that of all believers.