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:…
The grace appears in —
I. HIS PREVAILING WITH MEN TO EMBRACE THE OFFER MADE TO THEM, and in what is implied in that.
1. Christ offers Himself, and we welcome and receive Him. The first acting of true faith is to accept Himself; not merely the special benefit He brings.
2. We exercise implicit confidence in Him. We have a right knowledge of Him; rejoice in His character; accept and hide Him in our hearts.
3. In the form in which Jesus is proclaimed in the Gospel, His saved ones receive and believe in Him. "So we preach; so ye believed." There is a correspondence between the Gospel and faith of the same kind as that between the seal and the wax.
(1) Christ is offered sincerely, and He must be accepted with a faith unfeigned.
(2) He is offered exclusively, and must be accepted as the sole basis of our hope.
(3) He is offered as a gift; we must not attempt to merit Him.
4. The actual committing of our all to Christ When we receive Him. What is the saving act of faith?
(1) Not assent, although that must be a part of it.
(2) Not assurance, although that will follow it.
(3) But acceptance of Him and confidence in Him.
II. THE SPECIAL PRIVILEGE WHICH HE BESTOWS ON THOSE WHO RECEIVE HIM.
1. The saved are by nature the children of wrath; but in His person God is reconciled towards them.
2. Having reconciled them, He makes them sons — co-heirs with Himself.
3. Of Him also is the comfort and dignities of sonship.
III. THE CHANGE WROUGHT IN THEM WHO RECEIVE HIM, to which their accepting Him is ascribed.
1. A new form of existence — a new birth; all things have become new.
2. This change is
(1) not by natural inheritance;
(2) nor by the operation of the natural will;
(3) nor the fruit of superior endowment or acquisition;
(4) but of God, by the office and operation of the Spirit.
(A. Beith, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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: