Friday, January 29, 2016

Justification is the act of God as a Judge, adoption as a Father.  By the former we are discharged from condemnation, and accepted as righteous; by the latter we are made the children of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.  By the one we are taken into God's favour; by the other into His family.  Adoption may be looked upon as an appendage to justification, for it is by our being justified that we come to a right to all the honours and privileges of adoption.
                                                                                                                                                    J. Guyse


Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!.....1 John 3:1

.....Fathers on earth sometimes leave their children a heritage of shame, and the shadow of the gallows looms over their cradle.  But God has set apart an inheritance for us—rich, substantial, and permanent.  All that He is, and all that He has, is ours; yes, all that God is, and all that God possesses, is the heritage of His children:  'All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's.'  When the years of minority are expired, the children are taken home to the household on high, where their filial likeness is perfectly developed, and their Father's love is fully enjoyed; where the whole family form one unbroken and vast assemblage—heart knit to heart in the secure possession of their celestial patrimony.    
     Can you now doubt that you should he called the sons of God?  You are not forgiven and kept at a distance, you are not constituted servants inferior and apart; but you are made sons.  The confession of the prodigal was, 'I am no more worthy to be called thy son;' and his prayer was, 'Make me as one of thy hired servants.'  But the father at once reinstated him; calls him in the fulness of his joy, 'my son;' puts on him a robe, which no slave durst assume, and covered his feet with sandals, which no menial could wear.  There was love in pitying you, special love in redeeming you from the curse; but there is an unearthly 'manner' of love in not only plucking you from danger, but in placing you in the near and dear relation of sons.  It would have been unspeakable grace to have made you servants, and kept you in the outer court to obey Him as your Master; but oh, it is past all thought and record that you are children, and that you love Him as your Father,—bear His image, share in His affection, and are preparing for His glorious home....
.....And you possess, in fine, a blessed privilege in prayer.  Your Father's ear is ever open, and His hand is ever full.  You have but to unbosom yourselves before Him, and without reserve.  'Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.'  Your confidence in Him can never be misplaced.  Children in the dawn of youth have perfect trust in their parents—in their ability to supply every want, to grant every request, and to impart all needed information and assistance.  Such tender faith only leaves them after repeated disappointments have taught them an opposite conclusion.  But all wisdom is God's to direct you, all power His to defend you, and all goodness His to secure your felicity.
     And will not such a child be content in any circumstances?  What is good for him, His Father will give him.  As much of temporal blessing will he get as he can improve.  Nor does he need to possess the world in order to enjoy it.  He can look around him on earth, and say, 'My Father made it all.'....
.....And first, the love that leads a man to call a child his own, which is not his by natural descent, has not such a 'manner'  about it.  For when among men a child is adopted, it is usually because the adopter thinks it worthy of his regard; because there is something in its features or character that pleases him.  He likes it, and thinks it a likeable child, and so he takes it to his heart and home, gives it his own name, feeds it, clothes it, educates it, and prepares it for the duties of life.  But no such motive could prompt the divine affection; for we were utterly lost and loathsome before Him.  There was nothing about us, in our character or position, to attract the divine affection.  All was unruly, defiant, and ungrateful.  The pride of our apostasy bade us cry, 'Who is lord over us?'  'Depart from us,' shouted we to the Almighty.  The wonder is that we were not consumed in wrath.  For we were once in His family; but we scornfully left it, and in the pride of rebellious independence, 'took our journey into a far country.'  The door might have been righteously closed upon us for ever.  But He welcomes us; ay, He takes us, disgraced and filthy as we are, to His bosom.  He has loved us; and His love is like himself; for He has loved us, and in defiance of every repelling element.  He has laid His gracious hand upon us, translated us into His family, and made us His sons.  'This is not the manner of men, O Lord God.'
     Again, if one adopts a child, it is commonly because himself is childless, or his hearth may have been desolated by war or disease.  He longs to have some object near him on which to set his heart, and expend his instinctive attachments.  But Jehovah had myriads of a flourishing progeny—uncounted hosts of bright intelligences, who have never disobeyed Him.  His heart rejoices over them; so numerous and so closely arranged are they around His throne, that in its reflected splendour they appear like moving and living clouds of radiance.  It was not because His glory was unseen, or His praises were unsung, that He has loved us.  There was no unsupplied craving in Him, which led Him to adopt us; for the 'many mansions' were crowded with a happy household.  Yet He has loved us; and though He had so many children, He wishes to have more; nay, His heart is set on bringing 'many sons to glory.'  What 'manner' of love is this; how noble and disinterested in its nature!  How intense, too, it must be; for ere this adoption could be effected, the 'first-born among many brethren' must suffer and die.  The Father gives up His only-begotten Son to agony and the cross, that the human slaves of Satan might receive the 'adoption of children.'  Such love is in the manner of it above all conception and parallel, and has no shadow of itself among created attachments.  Feeling, then, how He hath adopted you, and what blessings are implied in your adoption; how, as His children, you are so like Him, and are so loved by Him; how you have the prospect of a blessed heritage, and are enjoying necessary and wholesome tuition and discipline during your present minority,—oh, will you not be induced to cry out with the apostle of love, who revels in the idea of such love, 'Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!'
.....The world recognises and loves only what belongs to itself,—distinction in birth or rank, in arts or arms, in legislation or science, in poetry or architecture, in oratory or philosophy.  Its great ones, and not its good ones, divide among themselves the world's homage.  'They are of the world, therefore the world loveth them.'  Not that the world is able to ignore Christianity; but it admires it, not for itself, but for its splendid results,—for the beneficial effects, in the form of patriotism and philanthropy, which it has produced.  It is not Wilberforce the saint, but Wilberforce the queller of the slave trade, that men admire.  Spiritual Christianity is really as distasteful to the world as ever it was:  'the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.'
     The dignity and prospects of the sons of God are not of a secular and visible nature:  'The world knoweth them not.'  Were they the scions of a royal house, or were their inheritance on earth, the world would very soon come to know them; but their Father is in heaven, and their domain is with Him.  They wear no mantle with symbolic decorations, to attract attention; their pure robe is the righteousness of Christ, invisible to such as are strangers to the cross.  But should this ignorance on the part of the world dispirit you?  No; by no means.  Your case is not solitary.  It 'knew Him not'—even Him it did not recognise as the Son of God.  'It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant that he be as his lord.'  If the world did not know Him, though the glory of His Sonship so often flashed around Him, how can it be expected to know you, with your fewer and feebler tokens of relationship to God?.....But it matters not.  Were you to be tried by a jury of the world, and were your eternal destiny to depend upon their verdict based on their knowledge of your filial dignity, then you might feel anxiety, and might use every means and embrace every opportunity to bring men into acquaintanceship with you.  But your future welfare is in your Father's hands, and no member of His family is too mean to be overlooked, or too distant to be forgotten by Him.  He who 'counts the number of the stars, and names them every one,' has a perfect knowledge of all His children,—of the least and the lowest of them; of the babes as well as of those of full age.  The beggar that lay at the rich man's gate, feeding on the crumbs and waited on by the dogs, might die in solitude and neglect; no friend might receive his parting sigh or close his drooping eyes; no stone would mark the spot of his unrecorded sepulture; and yet the angels carried his spirit into Abraham's bosom, on which he lay a cherished guest at the heavenly banquet.  Out of a world that did not know them the children shall all be assembled; for the eye of a Father is on them, the heart of a Father is with them, and the arm of a Father shall guide them home to His loved abode.....
     And now the main question is, Are we the sons of God?  Does His Spirit so bear witness with our spirits?  Are we able to say that we are in the divine family?  Is it the language of your true experience, that you 'have received the adoption of children'?  Oh, do not deceive yourselves.  I do not ask whether you have resolved to return, or have travelled back a portion of the journey, or have even come to the threshold; but have you crossed that threshold, and are you really in the house?  Be not contented with saying, We wish it were so, or, We hope it is so.  Ah! the wish may never be fulfilled, and the hope may never be realized.  Many a one, with such a wish on his lips and such a hope in his heart, has lulled himself into eternal ruin.  And oh, remember that if you are not in God's family, 'ye are of your father the devil.'  Will you not disown such a frightful paternity, and will you not shudder at its terrible destiny—'everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels'?  Delay not, we implore you, in coming back; live no longer in such society, and with such empty enjoyments.  The Father waits you; the whole house will be moved to greet you on your return.
     And if you be the sons of God, what love will you not cherish towards such a Father, and what obedience must you not render to all His commandments!  Be 'obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in your ignorance;' but 'prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.'  He will not overtask you, and you will find highest happiness in filial devotion and service.  Need we bid you love also the whole household of faith—every one that bears your Father's image?
     And, in conclusion, as long as you are here, feel that you are 'strangers and pilgrims.'  'This is not your rest;' your home is on high.  When another and yet another of your brethren dies, be not alarmed; it is only his Father calling him home.  When you think of your own mortality, ever regard it in this light—as the child crossing the disturbed brook which separates him from home.  And the elder Brother will guide you.  'I will come again,' says He, 'and take you to myself.'  Thus shall you reach your Father's house, and then shall you fully know 'what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon you, that you should be called the sons of God;' and then also shall you feel what it is to be like Him, when you shall have seen Him as He is.  To Him, with the Father, and the ever-blessed Spirit, be glory and power, now and ever.   Amen.
                                                                                                                             John Eadie, D.D., LL.D.      

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