(Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism, Vol.1. part 14) The Glory of Christ Lord's Day 13 Psalter No. 428 st. 5 & 6 Read John 1:1-14 Psalter No. 243 st. 1-6 Psalter No. 427 st. 3 Psalter No. 199 st. 1, 2,3 Beloved! In Psalm 89 David sings of the Covenant of Grace made with Christ, and in Him as their representative Covenant Head, with all the elect, in eternity. Before the fall there was the Covenant of Works, in which covenant Adam represented all his posterity, and by fulfilling the demand of that covenant he could obtain for them all eternal life that can never be lost. However, that covenant was broken by willful disobedience, and no man can ever obtain salvation through that covenant. After the fall God placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life. By the deeds of the law there shall no man be justified before God. Although God by His immutable justice may demand of every man perfect obedience to the law which was embodied in the Covenant of Works, this does not mean that it is possible to obtain salvation by the Covenant of Works. "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." All men are, as the seventh Lord's Day taught us, "perished in Adam." There is escape from this condemnation in the Covenant of Grace, of which Christ is the Head, for which He is called in Scripture the last Adam. Of that covenant we sang, "My covenant made with Him is sure." The covenant made with David was a shadow of the covenant which the Triune God, acting in the Person of the Father, made with Christ in eternity and in Him with all the elect, although they were not yet created, were included in the fall by God's decree. In that covenant they appeared as subjects to condemnation, unable to fulfill even one of the demands which must be performed, before God could make a Covenant of Grace with them. All those demands were required of Christ, their head, and He has promised to fulfill them, as He has done while here on earth by his active and passive obedience. The "Covenant of Redemption" is the Covenant of Grace in eternity, firmly established in the obedience of Christ, to Whom all the promises of the Covenant are bequeathed. In Him they are yea and Amen, unto the glory of God. The fall of Adam did not overtake God by surprise, but happened according to God's decree. Already in eternity that breach was healed for the elect in the covenant with Christ. Immediately after the fall God established the Covenant of Grace with fallen, but elect man, saying, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." In establishing the Covenant of Grace, not one demand was laid upon Adam and Eve. Being dead in trespasses and sins, how could they have fulfilled even one demand? God included them in the Covenant of Grace in Christ, Who was promised to them as the Seed of the woman and was revealed to them in His deep humiliation and death, the bruising of His "heels", and appropriated by faith. It is of this covenant that the royal psalmist spoke in Psalm 89. Therein lies his safety and the safety of all God's elect that are included in Christ, and to whom the benefits of the covenant are bequeathed by way of a testament. Hence the covenant is often called a testament, that is unbreakable, since it is of force after the death of the Testator. Therefore the covenant shall stand fast (vs. 28) and they who are included in the Covenant of Grace shall certainly inherit salvation, for the Head of this covenant is not only very man, without sin, but also true very God: God's own and natural Son, the Lord and King of His people, Who purchased them with His blood and delivered them from all the power of the devil. He is therefore called God's only begotten Son and Lord as we hear from the 13th Lord's Day of our Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 13 Q. 33: Why is Christ called the only begotten Son of God, since we are also the children of God? A. Because Christ alone is the eternal and natural Son of God; but we are children adopted of God, by grace, for his sake. Q. 34: Wherefore callest thou Him our Lord? A. Because He has redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with gold or silver, but with His precious blood, and has delivered us from all the power of the devil; and thus has made us His own property. In this Lord's Day the Catechism speaks of the glory of Christ I. in His divine nature II. in His saving grace III. in His liberating authority. I In three Lord's Days the Catechism deals with the Person of the Mediator. First he taught us by His names as the Savior, Who saves His people from eternal damnation, then as the Anointed of the Father, Who is a Prophet, a Priest, and a King, and makes His people partakers of His anointing. In the Lord's Day now before us the glory of Christ shall shine forth, both in His divine nature as the only begotten Son of God, and in His saving grace by which He makes His people to be children of God, and in His redeeming power, by which He makes those He has redeemed with His blood to be His own property. The Catechism discusses the divine nature of the Mediator because He is called the only begotten Son of God, for in John 1:14 and 18 is written, "And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." A bit farther in Chapter 3:16 John testified, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The Catechism teaches that He is called the "only begotten Son" because "Christ alone is the eternal and natural Son of God." He was the eternal Son, whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2), Who was before He was born of Mary; the Son, sent in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4); the natural Son, for He, and He alone, is begotten of the Father. Only of Him could it be said, "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee." By this everlasting, generating process remaining within the Godhead, the Son, co-essential with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, is the only, eternal, and natural Son of God. How abundantly Scripture testifies that the Lord Jesus is the Father's own Son. The prophets and apostles vied to declare it. He who was generated by the Father (Psalm 2) was set up from everlasting (Prov. 8:23); He is the Word and the Word was in the beginning with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1); the Firstborn of every creature (Col. 1:15); Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (Phil. 2:6). Yea, the Father Himself testified of it. Scarcely Christ had come up from being baptized when the voice of the excellent glory of God sounded, "This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased." Also in the resurrection, Paul teaches us Christ was declared with power to be the Son of God (Rom. 1:4), while His works proved it (John 10:37): "If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not." He is called Jehovah, which name was never given to any creature. Jeremiah announces the promised Messiah in Jer. 23:6 as "the Lord, our righteousness" and Isaiah called His name, "Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." He, the Anointed of the Father, the Man Christ Jesus, is from everlasting, Micah 5:2, and had glory with the Father before the world was (John 17). He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, which is and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty; the Omnipresent, Who is at once on earth and in heaven. (John 3:13). In the doctrine of the Trinity we had already noticed that the Son is proved to be the true God by the names, properties, works and honors ascribed to Him. To Him then belongs divine honour as to the Father (John 5). We are baptized in His name and the congregation is blessed in His name. Oh, how they shall be crushed that deny the divine glory and divinity of Christ. The Lord, during His sojourn here on earth, did not conceal the fact that He was the Son of God. He spoke of it in many places. It could not be seen in Him as He walked upon the earth in the form of a servant. On the day on which He shall appear, surrounded by His thousands of angels for the salvation of His own and the destruction of the wicked, then all shall see Him as the Son of God. When He was here on earth, He concealed His divine nature behind the veil of His flesh. No, the natural eye saw no glory in Him. He wore no halo about His head as the idolatrous Roman Catholics picture Him. He was like unto His brethren in all things, sin excepted. It could not be seen that He was the only begotten of the Father, but He declared it. Again and again He spoke of it in John 5 and 10, "That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which sent Him." So evident was His testimony of Himself as the Son of God that the Jews were offended and wanted to stone Him, John 5:18, "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God." But His revelation was also so glorious that Thomas fell down at His feet, crying out, "My Lord and my God." The same bowing down is in the soul of all God's children to whom Christ reveals Himself and to whom He gives faith to know Him. They also heartily agree with what the instructor teaches that Christ alone is the eternal and natural Son of God. Yet this Biblical doctrine has been contested from the earliest days. The Jews were not the only ones who denied Jesus the honour of being the eternal Son of God. Arius, the great heretic, who found a strong adversary in the young Athanasius, wanted to make Christ the first of the creatures. Although, Mohammed declared that the Nazarene was great, the Koran names Mohammed himself as the greatest prophet. The Socinian and the Modernist, each in his own way, offend the glory of the Mediator of the covenant. A person can esteem Jesus as a good man, but not as God, over all blessed forever. The truth of the eternal Sonship of Christ cannot be defended sharp enough against any attack. On that truth the Mediator, and with Him the salvation of the elect stand or fall. If He is not the Son of God and is not co-essential with the Father and with the Holy Ghost, He cannot be the Mediator. On the contrary, in the acknowledgment of Him as the Son of God lies the salvation of our souls. When Christ asked His disciples, "Whom say ye that I am?" Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Thereupon Christ pronounced him blessed, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Moreover, that confession was laid for all ages as the rock of the church of God in the words, misused by the Catholic church, "And I say also unto Thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock (that is the confession that I am the Christ, the Son of God) I will build my church, and the gates as hell shall not prevail against it." Oh, that the wiles of Satan, or the theories of unbelief, or the wickedness of our hearts may never weaken that confession in the church of God, for truly if this weakens, the foundations of the church are undermined. If Jesus is no more than a good, virtuous, benevolent, exemplary man, He is no Surety; in Him is no atonement for sin, no conquering of death, no enervating of sin, no crushing of Satan. Then all was lost, eternally lost for all of Adam's posterity, for there would be no Savior for them. I pray you, stand immovably firm upon the testimony given us of Christ; "He is the only begotten Son of God." More still, He reveals Himself in the hearts of His people, so that they may know Him by faith, as that knowledge is eternal life and leads to honoring Him as the only begotten Son of God. Hence it is the indescribable glory of the Mediator that He is the only begotten Son of the Father; that God's only and natural Son took upon Himself our flesh and blood. Some of that glory He laid upon His own, who for His sake by grace are adopted of God. Let us in the second place tarry here as we consider the glory of Christ II in His saving grace. The Catechism first shows us the contrast between the Sonship of the Mediator and the sonship of the believers. He is the eternal, natural Son of God; in that sense they are not sons. He is the only, eternally begotten Son, they are adopted children. He is the true God, they are creatures, however richly they may be blessed. Although one day they shall be like Him, glorified in soul and body in heaven, they shall never be like Him according to His divine nature. He is and remains the only, eternal and natural Son of God; they are children adopted only by grace. By that adoption they are brought into communion with God, for their sonship refers to the state of believers. By nature we are not children of God; we destroyed that relationship by sin. Since man ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, man denied and discredited day after day that he was what God once testified of Adam, "the son of God." (Luke 3: 38). We have torn ourselves loose from the heart of God, and became children of wrath. Thus we are born, because of our relation of Adam, and thus we live, unless we are born again and become adopted children of God, for the adoption occurs in regeneration. Already in eternity God knew and foreordained them in His unchangeable counsel to be His children and heirs. Their adoption takes place in time, in the appointed hour of His good pleasure, in which the Lord makes them partakers of His divine nature, restores His image in them, grafts them into Christ, acknowledges and accepts them as His children. That is the act of quickening, of regeneration: the declaration of God that this is a chosen vessel, accompanied by an actual, entire renewing of the person. Of all those thus regenerated, John writes, "Beloved, now we are 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." Now they are so; formerly they were not. As long as they lived in the state of nature they were children of wrath. Since He caused them to pass from death to life, He adopted them to be His children. We must hold fast that in the regeneration, God adopts His elect to be His children, although they are far from being conscious of this benefit by faith immediately. They who deny what God wrought in regeneration, rob God's children of their comfort; they overthrow the firm foundation of hope and say that the sonship consists in the exercises of faith, in a certain growth, in the exercises of the soul, instead of in the perfect work of God, glorified already in the drawing of the sinner. As we must shrink from comforting a soul on the basis of a few emotions, so we must fear to drive a soul to a step in spiritual life without acknowledging what God had done before. Those that are born again are children of God, they are born of God. Still, those born again are often so very far from acknowledging in faith what God has granted their. It is a second grace when we may believe the salvation God granted us. That second grace is lacking so often. The doubt concerning what God has done is often very great; especially because of the small amount of spiritual knowledge. Faith is often too little to accept the unspeakable benefits; it seems much, much too great to be called a child of God even if the soul cannot deny having the true marks of a new life yea, even though it has learned by faith to know Christ as the way to life, and has acquired an acquittal by the application of His righteousness, even then the fatherly love of God, glorified in the sonship of His people, can be so hidden. Therefore many who have been justified before the bar of conscience, fall back to building upon themselves so much, although they are not robbed of the certainty of their reconciliation with God, the free access to the Father in Christ is lacking, and the humble, happy life of children is often far from them. How necessary it is for them to lose all their precious, certain experiences to obtain all their life in Christ and the adoption of children by Him, in the blessed assurance of the Holy Spirit that causes them to say: "Abba, Father." Although the adoption of children rests upon justification, yet it is distinct from it. All this refers to our acknowledging by faith, not the benefit itself that God has given, namely, the adoption of children. If grace may break out, doubts shall be conquered, and in the assurance of the deeds of God we shall declare, "The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Even if a child of God did not attain to that clear consciousness, or to that establishment in his state, to which (although all aspire according to the nature of that new life) only a few attain, even then it would be no hindrance in gaining entrance among the children of God before the throne. Shall all of them be assured of their faith before they die? I believe Scripture says they shall not. Faith shall fall away and be changed to sight, and salvation is never attached to the assurance of faith. The decisive act for each person lies in that which God glorifies in our hearts adopting us as His children according to His eternal counsel. This adoption is by grace, by free grace alone. Nothing of the creature co-operation; on man's side is nothing but guilt. God's grace is glorified in sinners, since the debt of God's children is paid by Christ. This increases the wonder of adoption, that causes the sinner to glory in God alone. The fact that makes this ministry even greater is the sovereignty of grace. Where grace falls, it falls freely. Oh, in all eternity God's people shall sing of it. "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Finally, that adoption is for Christ's sake. He, the Son of God, became the Lamb that engaged His heart to approach unto God, and by virtue of the Covenant of Peace stood before God as slain before the foundation of the world. In Him the believers of the Old Testament were adopted as children, and for His sake they entered eternal rest before He cried out on Golgotha, "It is finished." God cannot lie and the closing of the covenant between the Father and Christ forms the foundation upon which the Father in eternity embraced the elect as His children and heirs, and by which it was made possible that those elect would receive His love in the adoption to children now. Thus Paul testifies in Ephesians 1:5, 6, 7: "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved, in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." That acceptance was fully accomplished by Christ, when in our flesh and blood He became like unto us in all things, sin excepted. He was not ashamed to call His disciples His brethren, because they were adopted for His sake as children of God. He, the Son, the Only-begotten of the Father, obtained the salvation by which Adam's sons and daughters can be called children of God. Here lies the foundation of our salvation. Let us take good heed. Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. No self-righteousness, no feeling emotions, exercises of faith, no experiences, however valuable and great, can be used instead of the "for His sake" of which the Catechism speaks here. Not for anything that is in us, not even for something given us by grace; but only for Christ's sake the elect, who by nature also lie dead in sin, become children of God. That truth is sharp, very sharp for our nature, and for our souls that always try to have a foundation outside of Christ. If it is to be for Christ's sake only, all that we have outside of Him for a foundation must be taken away, and our soul must rest only on Him. There is, therefore, no greater privilege than to obtain salvation in Christ as a sinner entirely emptied of self, as a child of Adam, guilty and totally corrupt, justified and sanctified by Him, and only for His sake to know that adoption by faith. Oh, how everything must be taken away from us. No, we did not know that we were so rich, and increased with goods, too rich to place our hope in Christ alone, but the Lord made us understand it. Our great debt did not hinder it, for the righteousness of Christ is abundant; our abominable sins were not in the way, for Christ is the fountain, the eternally springing fountain to wash them away. We were too rich, we had too much, we were too good to be saved by Christ, by Him alone. However sharp this "for His sake" is, there is no firmer ground of comfort. For those who have learned to know themselves as guilty of death, as entirely lost and as doubters, there is no doubt. It is for Christ's sake alone that they are adopted as children, and the work that He began, He shall complete for His own sake. To that end He paid the debt, delivered them from the power of the devil, and made His own property. Therefore, He is called "our Lord", a name that shows us His glory, as we also hear out of the second question of this Lord's Day, that the glory of Christ shows clearly III in His liberating authority. Of the only begotten Son of God, for whose sake the elect are adopted to be children of God, the church confesses: "He is our Lord." The instructor declares that we call Him our Lord "because He has redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with gold or silver, but with His precious blood, and has delivered us from all the power of the devil; and thus made us His own property." The name "our Lord" rests then upon the purchasing and delivering by Christ, upon the government that is on His shoulder. He is the Adonai, the Lord. Not always does the name Lord, so often given to Christ in Scripture, mean the same thing. When Jeremiah calls Him "the Lord (Jehovah) our righteousness," the prophet speaks of Him as the Is true God. Jehovah is God's highest Name, which he gives to no other, and since Christ is the true God, He bears the name Jehovah, translated as Lord in our Bible. However Lord's Day 13 does not speak of the Name Jehovah. According to our confession the instructor here speaks of Christ as the Anointed King, that redeems and appropriates His people. "He was and is and remains God over all blessed forever"; but He, the Son of God is anointed by the Father; He is become the Mediator. As Mediator He has received power from the Father, all power in heaven and in earth, so that every knee shall bow before Him and no person or thing shall prevail against Him. That power is for the casting down of all His and His people's enemies and for the good of the elect. Because the Lord is the Almighty King He delivers those He has purchased with His blood out of the power of Satan. That blood He has shed; in that blood lay the perfect satisfaction His Father demanded for sin. All else beside that was not enough to redeem them from Satan. Gold and silver, in however great amounts they might be weighed, could not satisfy the demand of the Father. Heaven and earth fell short; angel nor man had advice. Only the blood of the Lamb of God could redeem from sin. God's justice must be satisfied, sin to whom we had subjected ourselves must be robbed of its power. Out of that righteous judgment Christ bought us with body and soul. Into the house of that strong man armed, Christ went to spoil his goods. The devil receives no payment; he is not the rightful owner. We are the property of the devil because of sin. He subjected man to himself unlawfully; he took man as his prey. Now the Lord Adonai comes to get His possession. The Father had given them to Him; He had rendered perfect satisfaction for them, and now He demands their release from the claws of Satan. Satan's head is bruised and in the resurrection of Christ the church is declared to be His property, that He took to heaven and placed at the right hand of His Father. "Made us His own property", that is the song of victory of the church redeemed by Christ. No danger, however great can harm it; no enemy, however crafty can effect its downfall; it is eternally the property of Christ, and "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Oh, had we but words to say what a comfort and strength there is in the fact that Christ is "our Lord"! To all eternity the innumerable multitudes of them whom He purchased with His blood shall honour Him as "Lord" and sing the praises of Him that sitteth upon the throne and of the Lamb. Those who shall enter have learned to know Him here and by grace to bow before Him. We do not, and cannot and will not bow before Him by nature. The natural man is his own lord and master, and constantly repeats "I want to be as God", independent, bowing under no man. Truly that man, too, shall bow; but to bow through the conquering power of Christ, as also the devils shall be cast down by Him; oh, how terrible that will be! They shall gnash their teeth and curse God night and day to all eternity. It is true, Satan goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may destroy, and as an angel of light to deceive, if it were possible, even the elect; but the Lord shall protect His own. Although Satan had desired to sift Peter as wheat, the Lord had prayed for him that his faith fail not. Against the buffeting of an angel of Satan, for the removal of which Paul had prayed three times, the grace of God was sufficient. It still happens that children of God under the dreadful assaults of Satan are so troubled and so full of fear that they can find no rest to kneel in prayer before God. But the Lord will deliver them, and then it will be seen that they are only waging war against a conquered enemy. They are the Lord's property, and that people may sing as we do now Psalter No. 427, st. 3. Application Does not that great advantage of the children of God stir you to jealousy? By nature they are like all of us, children of wrath because of their deep fall in Adam; they, too, have corrupted their way before the Lord. But by grace they are saved and have received the adoption of children for Christ's sake. He removed the curse from the law for totally lost sinners, He bruised Satan's head for their sake, and He stands among you to invite by His Word sinners, whether old or young, whether pious or profane, to be saved. To everyone that hears the gospel Christ is presented as the only and perfect Savior. You are not being sent to perdition with a Roman Catholic or Pelagian false doctrine. Your conscience must admit that the Mediator is the Son of God and that He has merited the adoption for His people and has become their Lord. Testify before Him who knows our hearts and tries our reins what the result of the preaching has been. With what are your thoughts occupied? What are the exercises of your soul? Does the sweet invitation of the gospel ever bring you to your closet? Do you bow yourself before the Lord before going to church, asking Him to use His Word for your salvation? How many scarcely listen to the sermon, and as they leave their conversation is about everything except the Word that was preached. Do not come with the counter argument, that God the Holy Spirit alone can make the Word serve to our salvation, although that is perfectly true and all our thinking and praying and meditating cannot bring us a step closer to heaven, we must one day give an account of the Word preached to us. What excuse can you bring then before God's bar? For you it was possible to be saved, it was the acceptable time, in the day of salvation. Dance happily through the world; silence your conscience, be concerned day by day and far into the night about all things pertaining to time; but know that soon God shall judge you and you shall through all eternity hear the accusation, "Ye would not." God's Son has merited the great salvation for Adam's sons and daughters, for sinners who deserve cursing and damnation. Oh, I pray you, forsake the world and its pleasures. Parents, speak to your children when they are little and as they grow older about the things pertaining to their salvation; keep them under the old tried doctrine. Come faithfully to church and to Catechism, that the empty places will not testify against you. It might please the Lord to use the means He has ordained for your salvation. He rides prosperously upon His Word and the arrows of His bow are sharp in the hearts of the King's enemies, drawing them out of the might and the claws of Satan, and making them bow in the dust before Him as poor sinners. Oh, how happy you would be if you would bow before Him in truth, and He would become your Lord. Do you know what the first thing is that we learn to understand? It is our misery, which so many would omit, saying, "You must just believe." They are blind leaders of the blind. How shall anyone believe in the Son of God, and acknowledge Him as his Lord, who never learned to know his state of misery? In eternity the people that have been misled shall fly in the face of such preachers and say, "You are not free of my blood. You never told me that I deceived myself with a false faith and a vain hope." Ask God's people how they learned to know themselves when the Lord claimed them as His own. They saw themselves as lost. There was no escape! They cried day and night. They were of all men the most miserable and they could not believe that the Son of God had acquired them and that they were adopted to be children of God. The comforts of God saved them from the snares of despair, otherwise they would have perished. But the Lord shall "spare the poor and needy, and shall save the soul of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence; and precious shall their blood be in His sight." Then do not despair, but seek the place of that sinner who washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed His feet and anointed them with the ointment. Let the Son of God be your God in the acknowledgment of faith. Not all those who are drawn out of the state of sin are assured of their sonship, although they have become children by regenerating grace. Yet they all seek after that assurance, and do not rest until they like the dove of Noah are taken into the ark. May the Lord cause us to lose our life so that the Son of God may become our all, and we by the assurance of the Holy Ghost may know the secret of being adopted as children of God by grace for Christ's sake. Seek to increase in grace and the Lord grant us a humble, childlike walk. May the Lord also grant us His Spirit, that we may more and more despise the world and hate sin. He withdraws not His hand, no, His right hand from us, but shows Himself to be our Lord, having all power in heaven and on earth. May it be your constant comfort that He has made His elect church to be His own, which having been purchased by His precious blood, shall never be forsaken by Him. In all your needs and miseries cry out with the poet, "Have respect unto the covenant; for the dark places of the earth are full of habitations of cruelty. O let not the oppressed return ashamed; let the poor and needy praise Thy name." The church, delivered from the power of the devil shall one day triumph over all the enemies, and "the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning." I cannot close before showing God's dear children the difference between justification and adoption; the first is a judicial act, the second a fatherly act. Some make these seem identical, but God's people cannot live by drawing conclusions, as though having been justified, they are now also adopted. The Lord grant His people that they may know the difference, so that they do not rest upon their justification, but may understand the Father's good pleasure in them by faith, that He not only relieved them from their guilt and punishment, but also restored them into His communion. Christ is not only risen for their justification, but has also ascended to heaven, bringing His church back into the communion with His Father. May it be granted to us by faith to embrace that adoption in the assurance of the Holy Spirit so that we may experience, "As many as received Him to them He gave power to become the Sons of God." The Lord cause His people to walk in childlike fear. Amen. (continued in part 15...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: krhc1-14.txt .