The Glorious Liberty
by James Smith, 1860
That the world is not what it once was — when its Maker pronounced it 'very good', is clear; and that it is not what it will be — when God's kings and priests shall reign on it, is equally clear. It suffered much, when the curse rolled over it, as the effect of Adam's sin; and it will be wonderfully improved, when the blessing descends upon it, as the result of Christ's obedience. From the day Adam sinned — it has been groaning; but after Jesus comes — it will sing, and sing forever. "The creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." Romans 8:21. Let us then, for a little while, look away from our toils and troubles, from our pains and sorrows; and let us look forward to the good time coming, to the glorious liberty of the children of God.
WHO are God's children? All who receive Christ, for thus it is written, "to as many as received him — to them he gave power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe on his name." If therefore, feeling our need of Christ, and perceiving the suitability of Christ, we receive him into our hearts and affections — we are God's children. All who have faith in Christ, have this privilege, as Paul testifies, "You are all the children of God — by faith in Christ Jesus."
If we receive God's testimony concerning his Son, approve of his acting and dying for sinners, and build our hope of salvation on him, and on him alone — we are God's children. If we have the Spirit of adoption, as the Apostle said, "Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." When that Spirit comes, he shows us the vastness and value of the privilege, stirs up in us a burning desire to enjoy it, and also persuades of the fact that it is ours, and enables us to cry, "Abba, Father." If therefore we come to God, through Jesus, as to a Father, and seek his favor, and to have his love shed abroad in our hearts — we are the children of God. His adopted children, and this grace of adoption, is the greatest privilege we can enjoy below.
It is more than pardon, for I may be pardoned — and yet not be a child. It is more than justification, for we may be justified — and yet not be heirs. It is more than peace, for we may be reconciled — and yet not be of the family. It is more than holiness, for we may resemble another, and have only right feelings toward him — and yet not be his son. To be adopted into God's family, to be placed among his children, is at once to be pardoned, justified, reconciled, and sanctified; and in addition to all these, it is to be in union with his only begotten Son, and to be the heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. O glorious privilege! O blessed state!
What are the PROSPECTS of God's children? They are divinely bright. They are unspeakably glorious. They have many privileges now — but there are greater and better awaiting them. All is comprised in the two words, "Glorious Liberty."
This must comprise a perfect freedom from all SIN — all propensity to sin, and all relish for sin. Every corruption shall be slain. Every evil principle shall be rooted out of our nature; and pure, perfect, perpetual holiness characterize them.
Perfect freedom from all FEARS. Now we are tried by a thousand fears, which are constantly rising, and almost continually working. But then there will be no fear to agitate the mind, becloud the spirit, or burden the heart.
Perfect freedom from all FOES. The old dragon will be chained up. Our inward lusts will all be slain, the redeemed shall be all righteous, every one of them, and death shall be swallowed up in victory.
Freed from sin, delivered from fear, and every enemy under our feet — there will be no more pain, neither sorrow, nor crying. There will be no defects, no unsatisfied desires, no painful needs — but we shall be filled with all the fullness of God.
We shall have perfect liberty in the New Jerusalem, entering in by the gates of pearl, walking its transparent pavement, enjoying its jasper light, feeding on the fruit of the tree of life, and drinking of the crystal river that proceeds from the throne of God and of the Lamb — we shall be superlatively happy.
We shall have perfect liberty in Christ's glorious kingdom — in God's holy heaven; such liberty as a child experiences in his father's house, when parent and child are on the very best terms. That will be liberty — the body no more a clog to the soul, the soul having no more a tendency to wander from God; but the body made like unto the glorious body of Jesus, and the soul like some polished mirror catching the rays of the Divine glory, and reflecting them upon all around forever!
All God's children have more or less of God's likeness. They are born of God. They have a spiritual nature, and are being wrought up into the likeness of God, by the constant agency and operation of the Holy Spirit. They are all hated and opposed by God's enemies. Wherever there is hatred and opposition to the Father — there will be hatred and opposition to the children. All God's children are grieved for the dishonor done to their Father. They cannot love him, and not feel grieved when he is dishonored; they cannot possess his nature, unless they sympathize with him.
They can never be satisfied but as they enjoy their Father's presence, love, and smile. His presence is their heaven. His love is their joy. His smile is their reward. With these, the believer can endure any trials, face any foes, or perform any duties; but without them lie is dull, discouraged, and disheartened.
Reader, are you one of God's children? Do you believe in Jesus, and live by the faith of him? Have you the Spirit of adoption, leading out the desires, hopes, and love of your soul to God, as your God and Father in Christ? Have you in any degree God's likeness? Are you disliked and opposed by those who are God's enemies? Are you grieved and wounded in soul when God is dishonored? Do you find that nothing can meet the cravings of your heart, or the desires of your soul — but the presence, love, and smile of God? If so, lift up your head, joyously look forward, for however it may be with you now, you will soon enjoy "The Glorious Liberty of the children of God!"