(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


    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
    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.
    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
    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
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
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.
    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...)

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