Whose Son Are You?
James Smith, 1861
There are many questions in God's word, which taken from their connection, and enforced in a more general way, are likely to be very useful, especially to the young. When David had slain Goliath of Gath, and was brought before king Saul, with the head of the giant in his hand, the king said to Abner the captain of his host, "Whose son is this youth?" And as Abner could give no satisfactory reply, he said to David, "Whose son are you, young man?" 1 Samuel 17:68.
Now as there are but two fathers in the world, I would like to put the question to every one who reads these lines. Much, very much depends on relationship; every one therefore should ascertain to which family he belongs, and be prepared to give an answer to the question, "Whose son are you?" There are,
1. The Children of GOD.These are all born of the Spirit, from whence they derive a new and spiritual nature, and by whom they are brought into connection with Christ. "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature." There must be a new birth, a new creation, for by nature we are carnal, sold under sin. We must be born again — or we can neither see, or enter into the kingdom of God. Convictions, impressions, or resolutions alone, will not do. Religious services and sacraments will not do. There must be a change of nature.
Now where this great change is wrought — it may be known, for its effects are always substantially the same. There is always a deep and abiding sense of the need of Christ. There springs up an ardent, earnest, desire for Christ. This works and increases until the soul receives Christ. Then the soul enjoys Christ, and possesses a happiness to which before it was a total stranger. The soul is put in possession of the Spirit of Christ, which leads to the imitation of Christ, especially in his filial faith, abiding humility, deep devotion, and expansive benevolence.
Now where the need of Christ is felt, where desire for Christ rules the heart, where Christ is received by faith, where the Spirit of Christ is possessed, and where the conduct of Christ is imitated — there can be no question but the soul is born of God, and knows God. Such can look up to Heaven and say to the Most High, "Doubtless you are our Father!" There are also,
2. The Children of the DEVIL.Not that they derive their being from Satan, for he is not the author of their nature, either physical or intellectual; but they resemble him morally, his likeness is stamped upon them. No child in nature, so accurately resembles its parent, in its physical developments — as the sinner resembles Satan in his moral qualities. Sinners are born after the flesh, and are fleshly, carnal, and enmity against God. They manifest this by rejecting Christ. They may not reject his doctrines, or his ordinances — but they do reject himself. To a religion of ceremonies, many of them do not object — but to receive Christ, to trust in Christ, to obey Christ, to take him to be their prophet, priest, and king — to this they do object. They will not have him to rule over them. They love the world, and prefer its society, its pleasures, and its honors, to Christ, his church, and the honor that comes from God only. They are influenced by Satan, who dwells in them, works in them, rules and guides them. They are led captive by him at his will. They imitate him — in his conduct, spirit, and opposition to God; especially in his pride, deceit, and murderous propensities.
Satan is the arch-hypocrite, who transforms himself into an angel of light — and many of his children wear a mask. He is the great tempter, who subdues and leads multitudes into sin; and many of his children do the same. He is a false accuser, who accuses the saints before God, and to each other; and his children do the same. He is the chief persecutor, and those who are born after the flesh, will persecute those who are born after the Spirit. The child, may not have all the features of its father — and yet may be his child, so we may not in every particular resemble Satan — and yet our Lord's words may apply to us, "You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do." Whose son are you, young man? The son of God — or the son of Satan you must be, and it is of the greatest importance you should know which. Search then, examine carefully, and come to a correct conclusion, that you may act accordingly.
If you are one of God's children — you are happy. Happy in your state, happy in your experience, happy in your relations, and happy in your prospects.
You are happy, for you have a good father — one that is infinitely wise, infinitely wealthy, and infinitely kind. One is your father, even God, and for you he will employ his wisdom, on you he will expend his wealth, and to you he will manifest his kindness.
You are happy, for you have a good home. Heaven is your father's house — and your home. There your Savior is employed in preparing a place for you, and when he has prepared it, he will come again, and receive you unto himself, that where he is, there you may be also.
You are happy, for you have good relations, for as God is your Father, Jesus is your elder brother, and all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and confessors — yes, the whole of God's elect family, are your brothers and sisters.
You are happy, for you have also a good fortune, for all the unsearchable riches of Christ are yours. The wealth of God is yours, for you are an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ. Yes, you have a good fortune, "for all things are yours; whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and you are Christ's; and Christ is God's. "Happy are the people that are in such a case, yes, happy are the people who have the Lord for their God."
If you are one of Satan's children — you are in a miserable case. Miserable in your state, miserable in your experience, and miserable in your relations too.
You have a bad father, one who is vile and degraded, despicable and base; one who is influenced by every evil principle, and prompted by the most wicked motives.
You nave a miserable home — for Hell is the sinner's home. The lake of fire, the bottomless pit, the prison-house of despair. O what a prospect when the journey of life is ended! O what an anticipation, that you will have the just judge, the king of glory, say to you, "Depart from me you who are cursed — into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
You have awful relations — all the thieves and murderers, the swearers and liars, the adulterers and prostitutes, the tyrants and oppressors, the devil and his angels; all the debased, degraded, and wretched of human kind, are your brothers and sisters. With them, you must be forever associated. By them, you must be forever tormented. O horrid society! O fearful doom!
You have a terrible portion — the wrath of God,
without any mixture of mercy:
darkness without a ray of light,
despair without hope,
pain without ease,
sorrow without mitigation,
and agony without end.
Examine then, I beseech you, "Whose son are you?"
Where are you most at home? With sinners or saints, in the world or the church? What company suits you best?
What employments do you relish most? If you prefer the carnal to the spiritual, the sensual to the holy — there is little doubt as to whose son you are.
With whom do you sympathize? With God — or Satan? With saints — or sinners? With the serious — or the mirthful? With God's Israel — or with the ungodly Philistines?
Where are you found? Battling with Goliath, or aiding and abetting the enemies of God? If you are doing battle with your Goliath-lusts, if you are striving against sin, if you are fighting against the corruption that is in the world, if you are seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness — then you are one of God's children. But if you are floating down the stream, if you are indulging your natural propensities, if you are walking according to the course of this world — then you are Satan's child.
After what do you aspire? Is it to be holy in body, soul, and Spirit? Is it to be useful in the world and in the church? Is it to be like Christ, devoted to Christ, and to be eternally with Christ? Then you are God's child. But if it is to be wealthy, to gratify your carnal appetite, to indulge in sin, and to rise in the estimation of the world — then you are of your father the devil, for the lusts of your father you do.
Reader, do get this matter settled, and if there is any doubt on the point, go to Jesus, cast yourself on Jesus, believe in Jesus, for "we are all the children of God — by faith in Jesus Christ."