Theological Sketch Book
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.…
I. CONSIDER THE SONSHIP OF BELIEVERS UNDER THE GOSPEL.
1. In common with the other intelligent creatures of God (Acts 17:29).
2. By external profession (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15).
3. Their sonship consists chiefly in their regeneration and adoption.
4. This sonship is not a mere title or mark of distinction, but has privileges the most excellent annexed to it. There is no condemnation to them. They are His temples. Led by His spirit. Abiding in their Father's house, heart, love. They have a title to incorruption and immortality (Romans 8:23). They are born to a great inheritance (Romans 8:17; Psalm 16:5).
5. This sonship is equally the privilege of every believer in Christ. They may be distinguished from each other, as to external circumstances in life, spiritual gifts and graces, etc., but their filial relation is the same.
6. It is a privilege of which they are conscious, and hence they enjoy the comfort of it (Galatians 4:6).
II. HOW IT IS THAT THEY ATTAIN TO THIS PRIVILEGE AND DIGNITY. The text says, by faith in Christ Jesus. To illustrate this, it may be proper to recollect —
1. That in the state of primitive innocence, Adam was truly the son of God: he resembled God (Genesis 1:27). This resemblance was effaced by sin; his former relation of sonship to God then ceased, and he was turned out of God's family and garden as a rebel, while he and his numerous progeny became children of disobedience and wrath.
2. It is by faith, or a supernatural revelation only, that we are informed how this high prerogative may be regained. This surpasses the capacity of the wisest philosopher, and even of angels. It is brought to light by the gospel (Galatians 4:4, 5).
3. We become the children of God, when we cordially believe in Christ: we are thereby brought into union with Christ and into a relation of sonship with the Father (John 1:12). Concluding exhortation:
1. Be astonished, ye heavenly principalities and powers, to see such base-born slaves and rebellious creatures taken into the family of God. Unmeasurable love! Infinite honour!
2. Forget not the love, duty, submission, and service, resulting from this relation.
3. How insipid, alas I are such themes as this to the generality even of gospel hearers. Show them how to acquire a fortune, etc., and they will be all attention; but publish the riches of God's gracious adoption, they relish it not. Blinded sinner, what a fatal choice! Naught can avail thee in the long run, but this. Claim thy adoption, and live as a child of God.
(Theological Sketch Book.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.