It is not God’s purpose for us to remain permanently as children. God has a plan for us to grow up into mature sons. But this is where we are again dependent on the Holy Spirit. Apart from the Holy Spirit, we cannot grow up, we cannot mature. As Paul said in Romans 8:14, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (nasb).
The word for “sons,” in this verse, is not the same as the word for “children” in the other passages. This means a mature son—one who is responsible, who is in control of his life, who knows how to act, and who has authority.
How do we come to that place of maturity? Paul said, “All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” That is the second great ministry of the Spirit in our lives as members of God’s family: to mature us. But this comes by one process alone: being led by the Spirit of God. There is no other way to reach maturity. And “being led” is a continual action. We have to be led continually—every day, every hour, in every situation—by the Spirit of God. That is the only way that we can live as mature sons of God.
The tragedy in the church today is that countless numbers of people who have been born again of the Spirit of God have never learned to be led by the Spirit of God. Consequently, they never achieve maturity. They always remain, in some sense, spiritually childish. This result is not because the provision for the maturation process is not there, but it is because they have not understood how to avail themselves of that provision. The provision is to be led by the Holy Spirit.