Jesus was the first great preacher of the gospel of sonship. He said, ‘unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Joh 3:3. Jesus then continued by saying, ‘unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ Joh 3:5. Jesus was clearly identifying three distinct elements of new birth that are necessary for a person to see, and to enter, the kingdom of God.
It is important that we understand each element of new birth. What does it mean to be born from above? What does it mean to be born of water? What does it mean to be born of the Spirit? These concepts were completely new to Nicodemus. These concepts may also be new to many believers today who are only familiar with a gospel of reconciliation. However, Jesus explained to Nicodemus that every Christian needs to understand and apprehend the gospel of sonship.
Following his conversion, the apostle Paul became the most systematic exponent of the gospel of sonship. His illustrations were snapshots, or encapsulations, that expressed his wonder and enthusiasm about the high calling to sonship that we have in the New Covenant. He earnestly prayed that the eyes of our heart would be enlightened to know the hope of the Father’s calling, the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power toward those who believe. Eph 1:18-9. His greatest desire was that every person would be genuinely illuminated about the high calling of the gospel of sonship.