A rebellious, filthy, frightful, ugly
From Spurgeon's sermon, "ADOPTION"
ADOPTION is that act of God, whereby men who were by nature
the children of wrath, even as others, and were of the lost
and ruined family of Adam, are from no reason in themselves,
but entirely of the pure grace of God, translated out of the evil
and black family of Satan, and brought actually and virtually
into the family of God; so that they take his name, share the
privileges, and they are to all intents and purposes the
actual offspring and children of God.
This is an act of pure grace. No man can ever have a
right in himself to become adopted into God's family.
Adoption is the pure gratuitous effect of divine grace,
and of that alone.
Let us give all thanks to the free grace which overlooked
the hole of the pit from which we were digged, and which
passed over the quarry whence we were hewn, and put
us among the chosen people of the living God.
If a king should adopt any into his family, it would likely
be the son of one of his lords-- at any rate, some child of
respectable parentage. He would never take the son of some
common felon, or some gypsy child, to adopt him into his family.
But God has taken the very worst to be his children.
The sons of God all confess that they are the last persons
they should ever have dreamed he would have chosen.
Beloved, when God passed by the field in which we were lying,
he saw no tears of penitence in our eyes till he put them there
himself; he saw no contrition in us until he had given us
repentance; and there was no beauty in us that could
induce him to adopt us.
On the contrary, we were everything that was repulsive.
And if he had said, when he passed by, "You are cursed,
be lost for ever!" it would have been nothing but what
we might have expected from a God who had been so long
provoked, and whose majesty had been so terribly insulted.
But no! He found a rebellious child, a filthy,
frightful, ugly child!
He took it to his bosom, and said, "Black though you are, you
are lovely in my eyes through my son Jesus; unworthy though
you are, yet I cover you with his robe, and in your brother's
garments I accept you."
And taking us, all unholy and unclean, just as we were,
he took us to be his-- his children, his forever!
It was then, an act of simple, pure, gratuitous grace,
and of nothing else, because he will have mercy on
whom he will have mercy, and because he delights to
show the marvellous character of his condescension.
The fact is, we are by nature utterly lost and ruined, and there
is not a saint in heaven that would not have been damned, and
that did not deserve to be damned in the common doom of sinners.
The reason why God has made a distinction is a secret to
himself; he had a right to make that distinction if he pleased,
and he has done it. He has chosen some unto eternal life, to the
praise of his glorious grace. He has let others alone to be
punished for their sins, to the praise of his glorious justice.
And in one as in the other, he has acted quite rightly, for he has
a right to do as he wills with his own creatures. Seeing they all
deserved to be punished, he has a right to punish them all. So too,
as he has reconciled justice with mercy or mated it with judgment.
He has a right to forgive and pardon some, and to leave the others
to be unwashed, unforgiven, and unsaved-- willfully to follow the
error of their ways, to reject Christ, despise his gospel, and
ruin their own souls.