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Adoption-The Spirit and the Cry

Written by: Spurgeon, C.H.    Posted on: 04/02/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN


                                AdoptionThe Spirit and the Cry

                                                        A Sermon                                                       (No. 1435)                             Delivered on Lord's-Day Morning, April 14th, 1878, by                                                   C. H. SPURGEON,                                     At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

              "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba,               Father."Galatians 4:6.

                    We do not find the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity set forth in Scripture in formal terms, such as those                       which are employed in the Athanasian creed; but the truth is continually taken for granted, as if it                       were a fact well known in the church of God. If not laid down very often, in so many words, it is                       everywhere held in solution, and it is mentioned incidentally, in connection with other truths in a way           which renders it quite as distinct as if it were expressed in a set formula. In many passages it is brought before us           so prominently that we must be wilfully blind if we do not note it. In the present chapter, for instance, we have           distinct mention of each of the three divine Persons. "God," that is the Father, "sent forth the Spirit," that is the           Holy Spirit; and he is here called "the Spirit of his Son." Nor have we the names alone, for each sacred person is           mentioned as acting in the work of our salvation: see the fourth verse, "God sent forth his Son."; then note the           fifth verse, which speaks of the Son as redeeming them that were under the law; and then the text itself reveals           the Spirit as coming into the hearts of believers, and crying Abba, Father. Now, inasmuch, as you have not only           the mention of the separate names, but also certain special operations ascribed to each, it is plain that you have           here the distinct personality of each. Neither the Father, the Son, nor the Spirit can be an influence, or a mere           form of existence, for each one acts in a divine manner, but with a special sphere and a distinct mode of operation.           The error of regarding a certain divine person as a mere influence, or emanation, mainly assails the Holy Ghost;           but its falseness is seen in the words"crying, Abba, Father": an influence could not cry; the act requires a person           to perform it. Though we may not understand the wonderful truth of the undivided Unity, and the distinct           personality of the Triune Godhead, yet, nevertheless, we see the truth revealed in the Holy Scriptures: and,           therefore, we accept it as a matter of faith.               The divinity of each of these sacred persons is also to be gathered from the text and its connection. We do not           doubt tee the loving union of all in the work of deliverance. We reverence the Father, without whom we had not           been chosen or adopted: the Father who hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus           Christ from the dead. We love and reverence the Son by whose most precious blood we have been redeemed, and           with whom we are one in a mystic and everlasting union: and we adore and love the divine Spirit, for it is by him           that we have been regenerated, illuminated, quickened, preserved, and sanctified; and it is through him that we           receive the seal and witness within our hearts by which we are assured that we are indeed the sons of God. As           God said of old, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, even so do the divine Persons take counsel           together, and all unite in the new creation of the believer. We must not fail to bless, adore, and love each one of           the exalted Persons, but we must diligently bow in lowliest reverence before the one GodFather, Son, and Holy           Ghost. "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever           shall be, world without end. Amen."               Having noted this most important fact, let us come to the text itself, hoping to enjoy the doctrine of the Trinity           while we are discoursing upon our adoption, in which wonder of grace they each have a share. Under the teaching           of the divine Spirit may we be drawn into sweet communion with the Father through his Son Jesus Christ, to his           glory and to our benefit.               Three things are very clearly set forth in my text: the first is the dignity of believers"ye are sons;" the           second is the consequent indwelling of the Holy Ghost"because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of           his Son into your hearts;" and the third is the filial crycrying, "Abba, Father."               I. First, then, THE DIGNITY OF BELIEVERS. Adoption gives us the rights of children, regeneration gives us           the nature of children: we are partakers of both of these, for we are sons.               And let us here observe that this sonship is a gift of grace received by faith. We are not the sons of God by           nature in the sense here meant. We are in a sense "the offspring God" by nature, but this is very different from the           sonship here described, which is the peculiar privilege of those who are born again. The Jews claimed to be of the           family of God, but as their privileges came to them by the way of their fleshly birth, they are likened to Ishmael,           who was born after the flesh, but who was cast out as the son of the bondwoman, and compelled to give way to           the son of the promise. We have a sonship which does not come to us by nature, for we are "born, not of blood,           nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Our sonship comes by promise, by the operation           of God as a special gift to a peculiar seed, set apart unto the Lord by his own sovereign grace, as Isaac was. This           honour and privilege come to us, according to the connection of our text, by faith. Note well the twenty-sixth verse           of the preceding chapter (Gal. 3:26): "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." As unbelievers           we know nothing of adoption. While we are under the law as self-righteous we know something of servitude, but           we know nothing of sonship. It is only after that faith has come that we cease to be under the schoolmaster, and           rise out of our minority to take the privileges of the sons of God.               Faith worketh in us the spirit of adoption, and our consciousness of sonship, in this wise: first, it brings us           justification. Verse twenty-four of the previous chapter says, "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto           Christ, that we might be justified by faith." An unjustified man stands in the condition of a criminal, not of a child:           his sin is laid to his charge, he is reckoned as unjust and unrighteous, as indeed he really is, and he is therefore a           rebel against his king, and not a child enjoying his father's love. But when faith realizes the cleansing power of the           blood of atonement, and lays hold upon the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, then the justified man becomes a           son and a child. Justification and adoption always go together. "Whom he called them he also justified," and the           calling is a call to the Father's house, and to a recognition of sonship. Believing brings forgiveness and justification           through our Lord Jesus; it also brings adoption, for it is written, "But as many as received him, to them gave he           power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."               Faith brings us into the realization of our adoption in the next place by setting us free from the bondage of the           law. "After that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." When we groaned under a sense of sin,           and were shut up by it as in a prison, we feared that the law would punish us for our iniquity, and our life was           made bitter with fear. Moreover, we strove in our own blind self-sufficient manner to keep that law, and this           brought us into yet another bondage, which became harder and harder as failure succeeded to failure: we sinned           and stumbled more and more to our soul's confusion. But now that faith has come we see the law fulfilled in           Christ, and ourselves justified and accepted in him: this changes the slave into a child, and duty into choice. Now           we delight in the law, and by the power of the Spirit we walk in holiness to the glory of God. Thus it is that by           believing in Christ Jesus we escape from Moses, the taskmaster, and come to Jesus, the Saviour; we cease to           regard God as an angry Judge and view him as our loving Father. The system of merit and command, and           punishment and fear, has given way to the rule of grace, gratitude, and love, and this new principle of government           is one of the grand privileges of the children of God.               Now, faith is the mark of sonship in all who have it, whoever they may be, for "ye are all the children of           God by faith in Christ Jesus Gal. 3:26). If you are believing in Jesus, whether you are Jew or Gentile, bond or           free, you are a son of God. If you have only believed in Christ of late, and have but for the past few weeks been           able to rest in his great salvation, yet, beloved, now are you a child of God. It is not an after privilege, granted to           assurance or growth in grace; it is an early blessing, and belongs to him who has the smallest degree of faith, and is           no more than a babe in grace. If a man be a believer in Jesus Christ his name is in the register-book of the great           family above, "for ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." But if you have no faith, no matter what           zeal, no matter what works, no matter what knowledge, no matter what pretensions to holiness you may possess,           you are nothing, and your religion is vain. Without faith in Christ you are as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal,           for without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith then, wherever it is found, is the infallible token of a child of           God, and its absence is fatal to the claim.               This according to the apostle is further illustrated by our baptism, for in baptism, if there be faith in the soul,           there is an open putting on of the Lord Jesus Christ. Read the twenty-seventh verse: "For as many of you as have           been baptised into Christ have put on Christ." In baptism you professed to be dead to the world and you were           therefore buried into the name of Jesus: and the meaning of that burial, if it had any right meaning to you, was that           you professed yourself henceforth to be dead to everything but Christ, and henceforth your life was to be in him,           and you were to be as one raised from the dead to newness of life. Of course the outward form avails nothing to           the unbeliever, but to the man who is in Christ it is a most instructive ordinance. The spirit and essence of the           ordinance lie in the soul's entering into the symbol, in the man's knowing not alone the baptism into water, but the           baptism into the Holy Ghost and into fire: and as many of you as know that inward mystic baptism into Christ           know also that henceforth you have put on Christ and are covered by him as a man is by his garment. Henceforth           you are one in Christ, you wear his name, you live in him, you are saved by him, you are altogether his. Now, if           you are one with Christ, since he is a son, you are sons also. If you have put on Christ God seeth you not in           yourself but in Christ, and that which belongeth unto Christ belongeth also unto you, for if you be Christ's then are           you Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise. As the Roman youth when he came of age put on the           toga, and was admitted to the rights of citizenship, so the putting on of Christ is the token of our admission into the           position of sons of God. Thus are we actually admitted to the enjoyment of our glorious heritage. Every blessing           of the covenant of grace belongs to those who are Christ's, and every believer is in that list. Thus, then, according           to the teaching of the passage, we receive adoption by faith as the gift of grace.               Again, adoption comes to us by redemption. Read the passage which precedes the text: "But when the fullness           of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were           under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Beloved, prize redemption, and never listen to teaching           which would destroy its meaning or lower its importance. Remember that ye were not redeemed with silver and           gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish. You were under the law, and subject to           its curse, for you had broken it most grievously, and you were subject to its penalty, for it is written, "the soul that           sinneth, it shall die"; and yet again, "cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things that are written in the book           of the law to do them." You were also under the terror of the law, for you feared its wrath; and you were under its           irritating power, for often when the commandment came, sin within you revived and you died. But now you are           redeemed from all; as the Holy Ghost saith, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a           curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." Now ye are not under the law, but under           grace, and this because Christ came under the law and kept it both by his active and his passive obedience,           fulfilling all its commands and bearing all its penalty on your behalf and in your room and stead. Henceforth you           are the redeemed of the Lord, and enjoy a liberty which comes by no other way but that of the eternal ransom.           Remember this; and whenever you feel most assured that you are a child of God, praise the redeeming blood;           whenever your heart beats highest with love to your great Father, bless the "firstborn among many brethren," who           for your sakes came under the law, was circumcised, kept the law in his life, and bowed his head to it in his death,           honouring, and magnifying the law, and making the justice and righteousness of God to be more conspicuous by           his life than it would have been by the holiness of all mankind, and his justice to be more fully vindicated by his           death that it would have been if all the world of sinners had been cast into hell. Glory be to our redeeming Lord,           by whom we have received the adoption!               Again, we further learn from the passage that we now enjoy the privilege of sonship. According to the run of           the passage the apostle means not only that we are children, but that we are full-grown sons. "Because ye are           sons," means,because the time appointed of the Father is come, and you are of age, and no longer under tutors           and governors. In our minority we are under the schoolmaster, under the regimen of ceremonies, under types,           figures, shadows, learning our A B C by being convinced of sin; but when faith is come we are no longer under           the schoolmaster, but come to a more free condition. Till faith comes we are under tutors and governors, like mere           boys, but after faith we take our rights as sons of God. The Jewish church of old was under the yoke of the law;           its sacrifices were continual and its ceremonies endless; new moons and feasts must be kept; jubilees must be           observed and pilgrimages made: in fact, the yoke was too heavy for feeble flesh to bear. The law followed the           Israelite into every corner, and dealt with him upon every point: it had to do with his garments, his meat, his drink,           his bed, his board, and everything about him: it treated him like a boy at school who has a rule for everything.           Now that faith has come we are full grown sons, and therefore we are free from the rules which govern the school           of the child. We are under law to Christ, even as the full-grown son is still under the discipline of his father's           house; but this is a law of love and not of fear, of grace and not of bondage. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty           wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Return not to the           beggarly elements of a merely outward religion, but keep close to the worship of God in spirit and in truth, for this           is the liberty of the children of God.               Now, by faith we are no more like to bond-servants. The apostle says that "the heir, as long as he is a child,           differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutor and governors till the time appointed           of the father." But beloved, now are ye the sons of God, and ye have come to your majority: now are ye free to           enjoy the honours and blessings of the Father's house. Rejoice that the free spirit dwells within you, and prompts           you to holiness; this is a far superior power to the merely external command and the whip of threatening. Now no           more are you in bondage to outward forms, and rites, and ceremonies; but the Spirit of God teacheth you all           things, and leads you into the inner meaning and substance of the truth.               Now, also, saith the apostle, we are heirs"Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son,           then an heir of God through Christ." No man living has ever realised to the full what this means. Believers are at           this moment heirs, but what is the estate? It is God himself! We are heirs of God! Not only of the promises, of the           covenant engagements, and of all the blessings which belong to the chosen seed, but heirs of God himself. "The           Lord is my portion, saith my soul." "This God is our God for ever and ever." We are not only, heirs to God, to all           that he gives to his firstborn, but heirs of God himself. David said, "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance           and of my cup." As he said to Abraham, "Fear not Abraham, I am thy shield and thine exceeding great reward," so           saith he to every man that is born of the Spirit. These are his own words"I will be to them a God, and they shall           be to me a people." Why, then, 0 believer, are you poor? All riches are yours. Why then are you sorrowful? The           ever-blessed God is yours. Why do you tremble? Omnipotence waits to help you. Why do you distrust? His           immutability will abide with you even to the end, and make his promise steadfast. All things are yours, for Christ is           yours, and Christ is God's; and though there be some things which at present you cannot actually grasp in your           hand, nor even see with your eye, to wit, the things which are laid up for you in heaven, yet still by faith you can           enjoy even these, for "he hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ," "in           whom also we have obtained an inheritance," so that "our citizenship is in heaven." We enjoy even now the pledge           and earnest of heaven in the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. Oh what privileges belong to those who are the sons of           God!               Once more upon this point of the believer's dignity, we are already tasting one of the inevitable           consequences of being the sons of God. What are they? One of them is the opposition of the children of the           bondwoman. No sooner had the apostle Paul preached the liberty of the saints, than straightway there arose           certain teachers who said, "This will never do; you must be circumcised, you must come under the law." Their           opposition was to Paul a token that he was of the free woman, for behold the children of the bondwoman singled           him out for their virulent opposition. You shall find, dear brother, that if you enjoy fellowship with God, if you live           in the spirit of adoption, if you are brought near to the Most High, so as to be a member of the divine family,           straightway all those who are under bondage to the law will quarrel with you. Thus saith the apostle, "As then he           that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." The child of Hagar           was found by Sarah mocking Isaac, the child of promise. Ishmael would have been glad to have shown his enmity           to the hated heir by blows and personal assault, but there was a superior power to check him, so that he could get           no further than "mocking." So it is just now. There have been periods in which the enemies of the gospel have           gone a great deal further than mocking, for they have been able to imprison and burn alive the lovers of the gospel;           but now, thank God, we are under his special protection as to life and limb and liberty, and are as safe as Isaac           was in Abraham's house. They can mock us, but they cannot go any further, or else some of us would be publicly           gibbeted. But trials of cruel mockings are still to be endured, our words are twisted, our sentiments are           misrepresented, and all sorts of horrible things are imputed to us, things which we know not, to all which we           would reply with Paul, "Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" This is the old way of           the Hagarenes, the child after the flesh is still doing his best to mock him that is born after the Spirit. Do not be           astonished, neither be grieved in the least degree when this happens to any of you, but let this also turn to the           establishment of your confidence and to the confirmation of your faith in Christ Jesus, for he told you of old, "If           ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you           out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."               II. Our second head is THE CONSEQUENT INDWELLING OF THE HOLY GHOST IN           BELIEVERS;"God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts." Here is a divine act of the Father.           The Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father and the Son: and God hath sent him forth into your hearts. If he had           only come knocking at your hearts and asked your leave to enter, he had never entered, but when Jehovah sent           him he made his way, without violating your will, but yet with irresistible power. Where Jehovah sent him there he           will abide, and go no more out for ever. Beloved, I have no time to dwell upon the words, but I want you to turn           them over in your thoughts, for they contain a great depth. As surely as God sent his Son into the world to dwell           among men, so that his saints beheld his glory, the "glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and           truth," so surely hath God sent forth the Spirit to enter into men's hearts, there to take up his residence that in him           also the glory of God may be revealed. Bless and adore the Lord who hath sent you such a visitor as this.               Now, note the style and title under which the Holy Spirit comes to us: he comes as the Spirit of Jesus. The           words are "the Spirit of his Son," by which is not meant the character and disposition of Christ, though that were           quite true, for God sends this unto his people, but it means the Holy Ghost. Why, then, is he called the Spirit of           his Son, or the Spirit of Jesus? May we not give these reasons? It was by the Holy Ghost that the human nature of           Christ was born of the Virgin. By the Spirit our Lord was attested at his baptism, when the Holy Spirit descended           upon him like a dove, and abode upon him. In him the Holy Spirit dwelt without measure, anointing him for his           great work, and by the Spirit he was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. The Spirit was also with           him, attesting his ministry by signs and wonders. The Holy Ghost is our Lord's great gift to the church; it was after           his ascension that he bestowed the gifts of Pentecost, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the church to a

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