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The terms import the production of that faith which accepts Christ, and triumphs over the world : “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name ; which were born-of God.” 66 Whosoever believeth (truly] that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.-Whosoever is born of God overcometh the world, and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ?" The terms import the production of that love which “is the fulfilling of the law,” and that knowledge of God which is 66 eternal life.” “ Every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.” The terms import a deliverance from sin, and the production of real holiness : 66 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for His seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is born of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not."
66 Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth, through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren,-being born again.
- Wherefore,--as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word.--Ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.—Unto you therefore which believe, He is precious.-Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” Of course these
terms import the restoration of the divine image : “If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doth righteousness is born of Him." “Every one that loveth Him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of Him," on account of the resemblance. Finally, these terms import an unfailing title to everlasting glory : “He saved us with the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,—that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” “ Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,—who hath begotten us again--to an inheritance,—-reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."*
That all these ideas are really contained in the terms begotten and born of God, is still more apparent from the description given of
The children of God. These are they who bear the image of God, (a leading idea suggested by the figure,)—the image of God upon their hearts as well as lives.
“ Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you ; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven, for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." “ Be ye therefore
* John i. 12, 13. and iï. 3-9. 1 Cor. xv. 8. Tit. iii. 5,7. James i. 18. 1 Pet. i. 2–5, 22, 23. and ii. 1, 2, 5, 7, 9. 1 John ii. 29. and iii. 9, 10. and iv. 7. and v. 1, 4, 5, 18.
followers of God as dear children.” Of course the children of God are holy, (in some measure,) as He is holy: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.- In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.” “ The good seed are the children of the kingdom, but the tares [FALSE PROFESSORS,] are the children of the wicked one.” “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts ;-but as Heis holy, so be ye holy.” “ According as He hath chosen us—before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children.” The children of God possess the filial temper, and are led by His Spirit, which witnesses to their adoption: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba Father! The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” “Be
“ cause ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your HEARTS, crying, Abba Father." The children of God are distinguished by faith in Christ : “ As many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." 66 Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” The children of God are redeemed, forgiven, accepted: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children,—to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved ; in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Of course the children
” of God are the objects of His tenderest love : 66 Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening God dealeth with you as with sons.” The children of God are entitled to all the promises : “ The children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."
“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of the promise."
.66 To Abraham and his Seed were the promises made.—Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus :—and if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Finally, the children of God will in
, herit eternal glory, and will bear this name when all visible churches are no more: “If children then
66 heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” “ If a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” " In the resurrection—they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” 66 The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Indeed as Christians will then enter into the full possession of their inheritance, this event, which is regarded as the consummation of their sonship, is called by way of eminence their adoption : “We
ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."*
Such is the account given us of the children of God; and a similar description is given of
The seed of Christ. This appellation distinguishes a class of men promised to Christ as the fruit of “the travail of His soul,” and called “the holy seed,” 66 a seed” that 6 serve Him,” 6 the seed which the Lord hath blessed,” an elect” seed, born to possess the inheritance, a seed which shall be established forever, and though chastened, never forsaken on account of their sins. Being the seed of Him in whom centred all the promises made to Abraham, they inherit a sure title to all covenant blessings: “It is of faith that it might be by grace, to
66 the end the promise might be sure to all the seed."
They are not all Israel which are of Israel; [not ALL SEED WHO BELONG TO THE VISIBLE CHURCH;]— that is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”+
After the Scriptures have spoken in this sort is it not worse than trifling to say that new creature, begotten of God, new-born, children of God, seed of Christ, express nothing more than a relation to the
* Mat. v. 9, 44, 45. and xiii. 38. Luke vi. 35, 36. and xx. 33, 36. John i. 12. Rom. vii. 14-17, 21, 23. and ix. 8. Gal. iii. 7—29. and iv. 5, 7, 28. Eph. i. 447. and v. 1. Heb. xii. 6, 7. 1 Pet. i. 14, 15. 1 John iii. 9, 10.
† Ps. xxii. 30. and lxxxix. 4, 29–37. Isai. vi. 13. and lüi. 10, 11. and lxv. 9. Rom. iv. 16. and ix, 6, 8. Gal. iii. 16, 29.