The putting of a son in his true, his foreordained place, has outward relations as well as inward reality; the outward depends on the inward, arises from it, and reveals it. When the child takes his position as a son, he would naturally change his dress and modes of life: when God’s children cease to be slaves doing right from law and duty, and become his sons doing right from the essential love of God and their neighbor, they too must change the garments of their slavery for the robes of liberty, lay aside the body of this death, and appear in bodies like that of Christ.
We are the sons of God the moment we lift up our hearts, seeking to be sons—the moment we begin to cry Father. But as the world must be redeemed in a few men to begin with, so the soul is redeemed in a few of its thoughts and wants and ways, to begin with: it takes a long time to finish the new creation of this redemption. The apostle Paul speaks at one time of the thing as to come, at another time as done, when it is but commenced: our ways of thought are such. A man’s heart may leap for joy the moment when, amidst the sea-waves, a strong hand has laid hold of the hair of his head; he may cry aloud, “I am saved;” and he may be safe, but he is not saved; this is far from a salvation to suffice. So are we sons when we begin to cry Father, but we are far from perfected sons. So long as there is in us the least taint of distrust, the least lingering of hate or fear, we have not received the sonship; we have not such life in us as raised the body of Jesus.