Are you a nepios, paidion, teknon or huios?
This month we began a teaching series at my local church on ‘Sonship’. I felt it would be mean of me keeping the knowledge I gained to myself, when there are so many sons of God who might find this helpful, especially in their calling. In addition to becoming a few Greek words wiser…yeeeah 😉 , I learnt the need to pursue spiritual maturity as a son of God in the Kingdom, that is, mature from nepios to huios. I don’t want to outrun myself so I will be sharing later what those terms mean.
God has been raising sons (irrespective of gender) in His kingdom for thousand years through Jesus. A sinner enters the family of God as a child and later comes into the fullness of God’s inheritance as an heir, or mature son. The adoption into the household of God places believers in a position of honor, privilege, and authority since they become heirs to the family name of God. However, Paul states that as long as an heir is underage, he does not differ from a servant even though he owns everything. This means that as long as we are spiritual babies, this inheritance may lack value in our hands. The promise of an inheritance is reserved for the mature sons because spiritual babes are ignorant, immature, and rebellious, and must remain under guardianship until they are ready to receive their inheritance as mature sons.
Believers mature spiritually in a pattern similar to that of human growth and development. The terms nepios, paidion, teknon and huios are Greek words used to describe the four stages of spiritual maturity. We start off as nepios (infants), then paidion (young child), then teknon (spiritual teenagers) and then huios (mature sons).
Paul refers to nepios as spiritual babes, who are carnal and immature (1 Cor 3:1-3), easily influenced by teaching and schemes of men because they have not exercised their senses to discern both good and evil (Ephesians 4:14). Nepios also feed on the milk of the Word of God and are unskilled in the word of righteousness (Heb 5:13,1 Pet 2:1-3). Although they have received a revelation of who God is and have entered in the new life, nepios are inclined to the natural and flesh life. They are quick to gossip, cause conflict and division, are self-centered and enter into strife. They are spiritual babies, and that is what babies do, they whine, fight, scream, and always cry when they do not get their ways.
Believers who are at the stage of paidion have learnt humility and have begun to know the father intimately. Jesus calls his disciples “children” or paidion in John 21:5. The word ‘children’ in the verse implies that there is an existing relationship, a deficiency in maturity, and reveals the childish nature of the disciples at that time. These disciples had slipped back and disconnected from their assignment as followers of Christ after the death of Jesus, by going back to their usually routine; fishing. When we disconnect from our assignment following an offense, a heartbreak or bitter moment, we are still children. Paidion are under the tutelage of a spiritual father in church because they are not ready for the world on their own.
The teknon sons have Christ formed in them. They have a legitimate relationship with God, understands forgiveness, overcomes sin and practices righteousness, walks closely to the doctrine and ways of his/her spiritual father in the Lord, joins spiritual father in the work of the Lord, and submits his/her own ambition and will to a spiritual father, who through instruction of the word, matures the nature of Christ within him. In Luke 2:46-51 we meet Jesus at age 12 as a teknon son, who although was subject to his parents, sat among teachers hearing them and asking questions (v46).
From the age of 12 until 30, Jesus remained subject to his father and mother until the appointed time to begin his heavenly Father’s assignment as a mature son, huios. Huios are ready for commissioning. Does this sound like the pattern ministers follow today? Most often, when some ministers begin to taste of the sweetness of God’s anointing, they never want to submit under anyone’s authority again. Sometime they don’t care whether they are mature enough, but once they know they have a calling and feel a radical zeal to serve, they just take off to fulfill it. By failing to submit under a spiritual authority and waiting for the appointed time, it is possible that one cannot sustain that fire and zeal of their calling without a guardian even for half a decade. More like the prodigal son in Luke 15.
Jesus is our model of spiritual maturity. He grew in every dimension of humanity; in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God and men (people). God desires that children in the Kingdom grow and become mature sons, huios, who operates in His inheritance. This inheritance is His very nature that we received the moment we came into His new life as nepios. Huios operating in this inheritance display God’s very nature, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control acquired by dying daily to the flesh. We need to mature from milk to the strong meat of heaven, which includes deeper revelations of the Word, greater power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, divine secrets and mysteries, and the very glory of God which becomes our own atmosphere. So, purpose to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ daily because, “age will not necessarily fill you with maturity, just wrinkles” ~ Seamand.
God bless. Marie K.