At salvation the believer becomes part of the most unique family in history – The Royal Family of God. No longer merely God’s creation, the believer is a new creation and a child of God. God’s Word has a lot to say about the subject of the Royal Family and there are several terms used throughout the Bible to indicate this new relationship.
Terms used in the Bible to describe this family relationship are “child of God” and “son of God.” We must look to the Greek language to see the slight (but significant) differences in the two terms. Looking at both words also helps us get a complete meaning of our relationship with God as believers. “Huios,” the Greek word for son emphasizes position and function, but the word in Greek for child is “teknon” and emphasizes our family relationship. As I said, a slight difference, but one that helps us to understand that not only are we related to God through the new birth, we are to function as Royal Family after salvation. (John 1:12; Galatians 4:1-7)
As children of God, the Bible tells us that we are now related to Jesus Christ as joint-heirs. This means that we share in His inheritance, which we know is going to be fantastic. Because of this unique relationship with our Savior, every believer will enjoy an inheritance beyond his imagination. However, for those who reach spiritual maturity, the rewards will be based on sonship (function) not merely being a child of God (relationship). What do I mean by that?
Galatians 4 gives us the answer. Verse one tells us that we are children of God, that we have an eternal inheritance and that we immediately become Royal Family of God at salvation. This is the relationship of the child to God. In function, however, the child must be cared for by servants and is unable to function as a son or daughter. When the child becomes of age and is able to care for himself, he has the potential of functioning as a son or daughter. It is much like the Jewish ritual of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah when the child “becomes of age.” In other words, at salvation a person is born a child of God, but placed (adopted) as a son of God in union with Christ (positionally). It is his union with Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit that provides the supernatural power to function as a son or daughter (experientially).
The other term for our new family relationship is “son of God.” The word in Greek for son is “huios” and emphasizes the function of our relationship.
The unique thing about becoming a son of God is the believer has actually been adopted by God into His family. This adoption is a result of the new birth (regeneration). No one is born into this world as a believer in Christ. Therefore, we have no family relationship with God at physical birth. What we have is spiritual death, which is separation from God without the human ability to do anything about it. God in His grace, however, has made a way for us to enter into a family relationship with Him. Of course, this way is through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Once we become a child of God, the potential exists to function as a son of God. (Romans 8:14-17)
Adoption means to be placed as a son or daughter. It is the Greek word “huiothesia” and carries with it the meaning of being placed as an adult son. This means that the believer has the potential for much more than what the term “child of God” implies. All “children of God” will spend eternity with God, but not all will fulfill the responsibilities of royalty as a “son of God.” Therefore, not all believers will receive equal rewards in the eternal state.
As a son of God, the believer has royal responsibilities, but he also has privileges that never before existed in history. The Scripture delineates these privileges for us in a number of passages. One of these is that we now have a royal inheritance. We do not know all that this inheritance entails, but we do know that it is far above anything that the human mind can imagine. God has prepared for each of us our very own personal portfolio of assets.
We have also received something unique to this age (the Church Age). All believers receive the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which is our power source for the execution of the Christian Way of Life. Without the Holy Spirit no one in this age could fulfill God’s plan, purpose or will. It takes a supernatural power to live a supernatural life. Allowing God the Holy Spirit to teach you and guide you is the means of glorifying God in Time. We call this ministry “the filling of the Holy Spirit,” which is different from the indwelling ministry. The indwelling of the Spirit is permanent, whereas filling of the Spirit is temporary. (John 14:16-26; Ephesians 5:18)
Being spiritual royalty is dependent upon a relationship with someone of royalty. For believers it is their relationship with Jesus Christ that makes them royalty. Christ actually has a number of royal titles and also has a royal family. As the Son of God His royal family is God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. As the Son of David His royal family is the line of David. As the King of kings and Lord of lords His royal family is the Church. It is this unique Church family that we have the privilege of being a part of as Christians.
God interrupted the Age of Israel in order to send His Son as our Savior and to establish a royal family for the King of kings and Lord of lords. Every person during this age who believes in Christ immediately becomes Royal Family of God. While Christ was on earth during the Hypostatic Union he also set up and executed a way of life as an example for the believer in the Church Age to follow. We call this system “The Christian Way of Life,” which was tested and proved by our Lord prior to the Church Age.
For thirty-three years Christ tested and proved this unique life. Operating by the power of God the Holy Spirit He was able not to sin and fulfilled His royal destiny by going to the Cross in a state of sinless perfection. His execution of this system proves to us that all believers have the potential of glorifying God by the execution of the Christian Way of Life.
This royal family that we now belong to has an honor code, which each of us as believers is expected to follow. Adherence to this honor code brings magnificent blessings and rewards to the believer. Failure to adhere to this honor code brings misery and shame to the believer. This honor code is clearly taught by the Apostle Paul in Romans 12 through 16. We will look at ten standards that can be seen in these passages that define this honor code. (Taken from “Christian Integrity, R. B. Thieme, Jr.)
All Christians have spiritual freedom, but we also have a responsibility to others not to cause a stumbling block by the exercise of our liberty in Christ. It also means that we respect the rights of others, especially believers. It means that we are to refrain from gossip, maligning, judging, character assassination or listening to others as they do these things. We are to “live and let live.” Privacy is essential to freedom. Every believer has the right to grow spiritually at his own pace without interference from others.
Impersonal love is based on your integrity and demands that you do not hold a grudge or resentment toward anyone. Personal integrity rejects self-pity and does not seek pity from others. Impersonal love is treating others the way that Christ would treat them.
Every believer advances to spiritual maturity at different rates, if at all. It is our responsibility as royalty to be thoughtful and courteous to all believers, regardless of their stage of growth. The potential exists for any believer willing to learn and apply doctrine to advance to maturity. Some will and some will not, but in either case it is between them and God.
Integrity is superior to morality. Integrity is based on the useable Bible doctrine that you have stored in your soul. Morality is included in integrity. Morality can be distorted into a system of legalism, but integrity cannot. Integrity embraces morality without the distortion because integrity recognizes that morality is not the Christian Way of Life.
Talent, personality, intelligence, self-sacrifice and human ability do not merit the blessings of God. The only reason you are blessed is because you possess the righteousness of God and have capacity in your soul to receive blessings. Capacity comes from time logged in the study and application of accurate Bible doctrine.
You cannot depend on God’s integrity until you get to know Him – His character and attributes – and how they relate to the Christian Way of Life. It is confidence in God that motivates you to exhibit love for God and impersonal love for people. Since the Christian Way of Life is a life of thinking, knowing and understanding, God renovates your thinking from human viewpoint to divine viewpoint as you study and apply His Word.
The Royal Family Honor Code is for all believers regardless of age, I.Q., social status, race, spiritual maturity, gender or position in the community. It is God’s honor code. Therefore, we are not to become arrogant because we have discovered a superior way of life. It is God’s laws, mandates and doctrines that sustain and advance us and it is always a matter of God’s grace, not our human effort.
Every believer in Christ is royal family, but not all are at the same stage of spiritual growth. The spiritually strong believers have a responsibility to the spiritually weak believer to lead by example. The strong should be setting an example of tolerance, kindness, goodness, patience, faithfulness, honor and generosity. While he maintains a relaxed mental attitude, the strong believer must also maintain a sense of humor about self, about life and about others. Impersonal love implements all behavior of the strong toward the weak.
Strong believers recognize the importance of submitting to authority. First they submit to the ultimate authority, which is God. And then they submit to the authority of their pastor, as he teaches accurate Bible doctrine. Under the doctrinal concept of the privacy of the priesthood, each believer is to be given freedom and privacy to grow spiritually at his own pace without interference from another believer.
Supporting your local church means attending Bible class on a consistent basis, being positive and being attentive when you’re there. It means that the believer should pray for his pastor and others in the local body. And you should support the local church with your offerings. Giving is commanded in the Scripture, but no one is ever to be coerced to give. God measures giving based on the motivation, not the amount. New Testament giving is not a set amount or percentage. We are commanded to give as we determine, in a joyful manner because of our appreciation of Bible doctrine. The believer is not to give money if it would in any way jeopardize the health or welfare of his family.