Every true Christian is a freeman; and while the rest of
the world are slaves of Satan—the saints are kings and priests to God and
the Lamb. They are all sons of the Highest, and no relation comes up to that
of sons of God. For though the servant may remain long in the house, yet he
"abides not in the house forever—but the son abides forever." Noble
progenitors are the pride of the world. People boast of their high birth,
and noble blood, as Pharaoh's counselors of old—"I am the son of the wise,
the son of ancient kings."
But when, in Christ, we can say, "Now are we the sons of
God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be—but we know, that, when he
shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is!"—then we
may boast a heavenly descent.
No beggar would refuse to become the adopted son and heir
of a rich king. None so poor as men in their natural state—and none so rich
as God. What an enormous blessing, then, for sinful outcasts to be made the
sons of God; for bankrupts to be made the heirs of bliss! But, what madness
is in those who despise the heavenly privilege! What are all our contendings
about rank and pedigree—which must end in corruption, and terminate in dust?
It will avail us nothing, though royal blood runs in our veins—unless the
Spirit of adoption be sent forth into our souls, whereby, with the voice of
faith, we may cry, 'Abba, Father!'—and know, as a fruit of this divine
privilege, what it is to go with freedom to so near and compassionate a
relation, who, being both all wise, all good, and all tender-hearted—will
never give evil things to his children.
But, O! how should the adopted son of God walk, and
behave according to the character of the divine family, whereof, in free
grace, he is made a member! The adverse events of our terrestrial pilgrimage
will often scatter a family far and wide—but once a son, always a son in the
celestial and invisible society, and always in the Father's presence. When
adopted into this relation which aggrandizes, the honor is not only
divinely glorious—but the privileges ineffably great. Though they
come not within the glance of the carnal eye, yet they are not, on this
account, the less real. Possessed of them, the poor saint, whom the world
perhaps disdains to notice—may survey, with grateful songs, the extent of
his felicity, the vastness of his bliss. He may shout with triumph, "God is
my Father, Christ is my Savior and Elder Brother! Afflictions and
chastisements are the signs of my Father's love and care! Heaven is my
reserved inheritance! Glory is my future portion! Life and death, things
present, and things to come—are all mine!"
What empty sounds are all honorary titles to this—"sons
of God!" How poor to be the heir of an earthly crown—compared to the solid
expectation of eternal life! Surely the child of God's adoption is the
happiest man in the world. Angels, these superior beings, are even
ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation. Whoever injures them is said
to "touch the apple of God's eye"—a figurative, but most expressive speech,
as there is no part so tender as the eye, and no part of the eye so precious
as the pupil, or apple, which we defend from danger with the greatest care.
Such a one has a right to all the privileges of the sons of God! What
privileges will not such a Father, whose affection is infinite, and his
power unbounded—bestow on his sons? Whoever rises against them, offends the
whole family of heaven; for, "he who despises you," says Christ to his
disciples, "despises me; and he who despises me, despises him who sent me."
And if the command is given to guard one chosen soul, suddenly is he
surrounded with celestial chariots, and horses of heaven—glorious in their
It is true, that now the adopted sons of God are like
nobles dwelling secretly in a foreign land. Their pedigree is not
known, their grandeur is not seen, and therefore their nobility is neither
admired nor coveted. But, there is a day coming, when all the sons of God
shall make their glorious appearance in one majestic throng, in the sight of
an assembled world, who shall be ashamed that ever they spoke so highly of
those who were but sprung of the earth; and despised those who were born
from heaven. What beauty shall shed itself round about them! They shall be
clothed in robes of glory, with palms of victory in their hands, and the
charter of the covenant, containing all the privileges of adoption, spread
before them, and a majestic proclamation shall be made, in the hearing of
men, angels, and devils—"These are the sons of the living God!"
Now, if I am received into the royal family of heaven,
let me break off correspondence with the King's enemies—sin and vanity—and
show the greatness soul, the refined sentiment, and elevated thought—in
hating what he forbids, however sweet to the carnal mind; and in choosing
what he commands, however adverse to flesh and blood. If God is my Father,
let me honor and reverence him, who will never be dreadful to me as a Judge.
Let me receive correction at his hand, and instruction from his word; and
let me prove myself to be one of the celestial family, by speaking the
language of the better country, and having my affections fixed above; and
loving all of his other adopted children. Let me remember my former
deplorable condition—and be humble. Let me remember my present
privileges—and be thankful. Let me anticipate my future hopes—and be holy in
all manner of life and conversation. And let me daily wonder at that love,
and adore the sovereignty of that free grace—which admits hellish worms
among the sons of God, and enriches them with so many privileges—privileges
which contain not only what is in this world—but the glories and felicities
of the world to come!