what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called
the sons of God" (1 Jn. 3:1), and so
we are. O blessedness! O God's love for man! O how much God's love has
accomplished! O how profusely has God's grace abounded! Poor and rejected
sinners are made the children of God! The Apostle of Christ wonders at this and
says, Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we
should be called the sons of God, and so we are. For what is more
astonishing than that a sinner should become a child of God? God's love toward
man has wrought this. What is more glorious than to be called and to really be
a child of God? God's grace has bestowed this on man. It is glorious to be the
child of an earthly king; it is incomparably more glorious to be the child of
God the Heavenly King. This honor, glory, merit, nobility, and name is more
excellent than all titles of this world. For this, glory to God Who loves
If Christians are children of God, they are also
heirs, heirs, then, "of God, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom.
8:17). If they are children of God, what then, and whom should they fear? Why
fear traitors, enemies, the devil, demons, death and hell? God shall stand up
for them. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom.
8:31). We receive this most exalted gift of God in Baptism, for then we men are
born of God and receive this most glorious title.
Beloved Christians! Let us remember our holy
Baptism and this most exalted mercy which God then showed us: we then became
children of God. Glory to God for this! But it is required of children that
they should be like their parents, "That which is born of the flesh is
flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (Jn. 3:6).
Therefore Christians must be like God as they are born of God. Let us therefore
show in deed that we are children of God. God is holy, let us also be holy. God
is righteous, let us also be righteous. God is good, "for He maketh the
sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on
the unjust" (Mt. 5:45); let us also be good and do good both to our
friends and to our enemies, to those that love us and to those that hate us.
God is compassionate, let us also be compassionate and show mercy to our
unfortunate brethren. God hates sin, let us also hate every sin and turn away
from it. God loves us, let us also love one another. God forgives us our
transgressions when we repent, let us also forgive men their transgressions.
The Apostle of Christ admonishes us to do this: "Be
ye therefore followers of God as dear children" (Eph. 5:1). When we
show such character in ourselves, then we shall be true children of God and we
shall receive both the inheritance and all good things promised to the children
of God in Jesus Christ the Lord.
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