Category Archives: Adoption

“Having God’s Son, we have all we can ever wish for” by John Calvin

“We may always come boldly to God’s throne, assuring ourselves that His majesty will no more be terrifying to us, seeing He shows Himself a Father towards us in the person of His only Son. We see then that St. Paul’s intention is to keep us close to Jesus Christ.

And therein we also see what our perversity is. For it is certain that the care and zeal which St. Paul had, to make us cleave steadfastly to the Son of God, came through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who knew our frailty and inconstancy. If we had (in a manner of speaking) one drop of sound sense, it would be enough to make us understand that by the gospel we may possess God’s Son who gives Himself to us, and that by having Him, we have all we can ever wish for.

It would have been enough to have spoken this in one word, as St. Paul has shown already, (Rom. 8:32) but we see how he repeats and confirms his saying, as though it were hard to believe. And indeed it is hard, because we are too much given to distrust and unbelief. Again, to believe for one day is not all that we have to do.

It is necessary for us to persevere, which is found as a very rare thing in this world, because we are always fluttering about, by reason of which men, as it were, willfully deprive themselves of what was given them. Furthermore, since all the world is in this case, and we cannot be won or persuaded without great pains to come to our Lord Jesus Christ and to rest on Him, let us use the remedy St. Paul proposes here.

And first of all we must carefully observe that Jesus Christ is the door to open heaven to us, (John 10:9) for we know that at His death the veil of the Temple was rent in two, (Matt. 27:51) and that in such a way, that we may now enter without inhibition into the sanctuary of God—not of such a material temple as was then— so that we may approach into the presence of our God and come to Him for refuge, just as a child throws himself into the lap of his father or mother, for it is certain that God surpasses all the fathers and mothers of the world in all kindness and favour.

Seeing then that we know that, what more do we think would be to our benefit? What better or more excellent thing would we have rather than God? Then we must go and search for it in the bottom of hell. For when we have engaged in wanderings to our heart’s content we shall invariably find that there is nothing in any of all the creatures high or low that is worth a straw in comparison with God, as the prophet Isaiah says. (Isaiah 45:6)

So then, seeing that God has given Himself to us in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the whole fulness of the Godhead dwells in that great sanctuary which was typified by the visible sanctuary of the law, (Hebrews 9:9) ought we not to be fully satisfied when we have that, and to rest ourselves wholly there?

And although our minds and our affections are fickle, yet they ought to be held in check like prisoners, so that we may say, ‘Let us cleave, let us cleave to our God,’ according to that saying of David, ‘Behold, all my happiness and all my joy is joined to my God! (Psalm 73:28) He is the fountain of light and life. (Psalm 36:9) He is my portion, I cannot have a better lot, I must take all my delight in Him.’ (Psalm 16:5)”

–John Calvin, “Sermon on Ephesians 3:9-12,” Sermons on the Epistle to the Ephesians (trans. Arthur Golding; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1562/1973), 266-268.

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“A weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain” by C.S. Lewis

“To be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son— it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.”

–C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: Harper Collins, 1949/2001), 39.

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“If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?” by John Owen

“This will be exceeding effectual to endear thy soul unto God, to cause thee to delight in Him, and to make thy abode with Him.

Many saints have no greater burden in their lives, than that their hearts do not come clearly and fully up, constantly to delight and rejoice in God;—that there is still an indisposedness of spirit unto close walking with Him.

What is at the bottom of this distemper? Is it not their unskilfulness in or neglect of this duty, even of holding communion with the Father in love?

So much as we see of the love of God, so much shall we delight in Him, and no more. Every other discovery of God, without this, will but make the soul fly from Him.

But if the heart be once much taken up with this the eminency of the Father’s love, it cannot choose but be overpowered, conquered, and endeared unto Him.

This, if any thing, will work upon us to make our abode with Him. If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?

Put, then, this to the venture: exercise your thoughts upon this very thing, the eternal, free, and fruitful love of the Father, and see if your hearts be not wrought upon to delight in Him.

I dare boldly say, believers will find it as thriving a course as ever they pitched on in their lives. Sit down a little at the fountain, and you will quickly have a farther discovery of the sweetness of the streams.

You who have run from him, will not be able, after a while, to keep at a distance for a moment.”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 2: Communion With God (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 2: 35-36.

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“Bless Him with your praises who hath blessed you in making you His sons and daughters!” by Thomas Watson

“Extol and magnify God’s mercy, who hath adopted you into His family; who, of slaves, hath made you sons; of heirs of hell, heirs of the promise.

Adoption is a free gift. He gave them power, or dignity, to become the sons of God. As a thread of silver runs through the whole piece of work, so free grace runs through this whole privilege of adoption.

Adoption is a greater mercy than Adam had in paradise; he was a son by creation, but here is a further sonship by adoption.

To make us thankful, consider, in civil adoption there is some worth and excellency in the person to be adopted; but there was no worth in us, neither beauty, nor parentage, nor virtue; nothing in us to move God to bestow the prerogative of sonship upon us.

We have enough in us to move God to correct us, but nothing to move Him to adopt us, therefore exalt free grace. Begin the work of angels here.

Bless Him with your praises who hath blessed you in making you His sons and daughters!”

–Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity Contained in Sermons Upon the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1692/1970), 160.

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“In this consists every bit of our blessedness” by Petrus Van Mastricht

“Saving faith is nothing other than the act of the whole rational soul by which it receives God as the highest end and Christ as the one and only Mediator, for this purpose, that we may be united with Him, and being thus united obtain communion with all His benefits…

The end or fruit of this faith or reception, namely, union and communion with Christ, is contained in that one word ‘adoption,’ since by the reception of Christ we who have been made His brothers are rendered heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. And in this consists every bit of our blessedness.”

–Petrus Van Mastricht, Theoretical-Practical Theology: Faith in the Triune God, Volume 2, Trans. Todd Rester, Ed. Joel Beeke (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1698/2019), 2: 5-6.

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“Humility” by Wilhelmus à Brakel

“A beggar would invite scorn if he were to boast of an expensive garment which someone had loaned him for one day… The graces, gifts, beauty, strength, riches, and whatever else you may have, God has but granted you on loan. Would you then put these on display as if they were your own?”

–Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Volume 4: Ethics and Eschatology, Ed. Joel Beeke, Trans. Bartel Elshout (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1700/1994), 4: 71, 75.

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“All that He is, He is for His children” by Wilhelmus à Brakel

“The excellency of the children of God is so great that it exceeds all comprehension. This may be known in some measure by considering their origin and state. The origin and state of a child of God is more excellent than anything imaginable.

To be the child of a king is a great thing in this world. Many boast of the fact that they consider themselves among the descendants of kings and of great men of the world; some pagans boasted of being descendants of the gods.

What then must it be to be a child of God Himself who has all glory within Himself, is above all praise, and has made everything? Everything belongs to Him. All creatures and all kings of the earth must be at His service and His beck, and must obey Him to the minutest detail.

He accomplishes all that He wills, and is nothing but love and goodness. And all that He is, He is for His children.

They are of divine descent. Let kings and princes boast of their descent. Let nobility, by way of a long succession of noble ancestors, ascend to generations of higher origin.

And let families who are now poor and of low estate be encouraged by the fact that their ancestors at one time were noble–all this is at best but an earthly honor.

Oh children of God, you must, however, consider your descent to be from God Himself, not only as Creator (which you have in common with everyone else, and which can only cause us to be ashamed, considering that we have fallen away from this majestic God, have thus become His enemies who are worthy to be punished by Him), but that you have been adopted as children by Him and appointed to be the objects of His fatherly goodness.”

–Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Volume 2, Ed. Joel Beeke, Trans. Bartel Elshout (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1700/1994), 2: 417.

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