The Exceeding Riches of His Grace: Selection and Adoption (continued)
"Unto Adoption As Sons (continued)
Now, the sons of God are brought in on other than natural ground. They are not the "born ones;" they are the "adopted ones." The Church is an adoptive Body. We are not of the Church by nature. You know, this has been a controversy both in the natural realm, and in the religious realm, for hundreds of years. In the natural, the scientific realm, a controversy has raged,or did rage for three hundred years on the question of life, or the origin of life.
Now one side of the argument was represented by highly qualified intellectual scientists, who argued and tried to prove, that life is spontaneous. That it is there naturally, and it just comes about itself. They wrote wonderfully high-browed books about this matter, and argued and had their conferences that life is just there, and it comes about of itself. The other side took this position, "No, not at all. Life can only come from life. It does not come from nothing; it can only come from life. And if life springs up, if life comes into being, then you will track it down to some living organism." You see, the whole science of microorganisms, the very air, the very dust of the air, is impregnated with some organism, minute, to minute for the natural eye to see, but put under certain tests in the test tube, you will see it. You will discover there is a living organism there. Life is always coming out of life. It does not come out of nothing, but it comes out of life. In the end the second side won.
Now this same thing, this same kind of argument or contention has gone on for hundreds of years in the religious realm. It is a very large school of people, of theologians who say we are sons of God by natural birth. Humanism is built upon that, human good, natural good, and you have only got to develop the natural good in people, and it may take a few millions of years, but in the end they become gods, the deification of humanity is in the very nature of man. How under the experiments after two world wars that theory can stand, I do not know? Knowing what man can do to man, and is doing today, how can you speak about the natural sonship of God inherent in man without any special intervention or operation. [you can't!]
Well, here is the other side. You come to the Bible, the Word of God; and it says, "Only from Him Who has life can life be derived." Life, eternal life, can never be unless it comes from a Living Source. There must be life, eternal life, somewhere before you can have it; it must come from there, it does not come out of what is dead. The simple cry of the angel on the resurrection morning has a profound meaning, "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" That is incongruous, contradictory, belonging to two different worlds, there is nothing of life where there is death. And there is no use seeking life among the dead. You can only seek life where lie is from the Living Source, the Eternal Life, in Him was the Life.
Now, you see, "there" is sonship. Oh, no, we are not sons of God by natural birth, but by adoption. Sons are being brought in from the outside and given life where you have not got it. Of course, you people do not need such an argument, do you? But, perhaps, it is helpful for us to recognize that we are brought out of nothingness, so far as a relationship with God is concerned, and given that which makes us children of God - sonship which we do not have, which we cannot have, but only by adoption. I know there are other full meanings of adoption besides this one, but this is its basic meaning: we were brought in from the outside and made members of a family to which we do not belong by nature. No, only by new birth are we adopted and brought in. What a wonderful thing this is, the GRACE of GOD. "Ye who were once afar off are now made nigh, who were not children, but now made children." 'You were not sons, but now made sons.'
And what a terrible plight and state is represented by that word "Not" and by "were afar off." God only knows the great chasm that was between us and Him and His family. By nature, there is a terrible chasm. It has got to be bridged, and we have got to be brought over that chasm; and it is the grace of God that does that. And the bridge is in Christ Jesus.
Our adoption is in Christ, as our election is in Christ. He is the bridge Who comes over and brings us to God. How unsearchable are His judgments, oh the depths of the riches, the riches of His grace! We are truly in deep waters, we can only wonder and worship. If this is true, if this is what the Word of God teaches, and I believe it does teach this, if it be so, then how deep are the wonders and the mysteries and the riches of His grace in His kindness unto us. "You who were once afar off, by His kindness, are made nigh." In other words, we are made nigh by His GRACE.
(continued with # 23 - (The Exceeding Riches of His Grace: Consummation)