"There shall they be called the children of the living God." Romans 9:26
What an unspeakable privilege — to be a child of God, and to be acknowledged as such! Every real believer is God's child! God is his Father, the Lord Jesus calls him brother, and Heaven, our Father's house, is to be his home. But let us not deceive ourselves, and take it for granted that we are children of God, when we are not.
All the children of God are born of God, and are partakers of the divine nature. They were dead in sin — but have been quickened by the Holy Spirit, and made alive to God. They are a new creation, created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works. They are adopted into the Lord's family, and receive the Spirit of adoption, whereby they cry, Abba, Father. They realize reconciliation to God, and feel that there is nothing between God and their souls but love. Sin is pardoned; guilt is gone; peace with God is felt; the promise is believed; and they know God as a covenant God. They love Him; they believe His Word; they fear to displease Him; they have fellowship with Him; they obey Him; they delight in holiness — and they expect every blessing, because God is their Father, and has promised to give them in His Word.
They are registered among the family of God, for their names are in the book of life; they are named in the will of the great Testator; and are appointed to glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life.
But how are the children of God to be known?
By likeness: "God is love;" and every child of God is like Him. They love him supremely, and all whom he loves.
By their conduct: they imitate God as dear children, in holiness, righteousness, and benevolence.
By their attachment to His family: they love all the saints as their brothers and sisters in Christ; and love them for Christ's sake because they belong to Him and are like Him.
By the value they set upon His Word: it is a family book, here the children's registry is found, here every one's fortune appears, here every one's duty is pointed out, here the history of the family is preserved; and they value and love the book.
By their panting for home: this world is not their rest, nor their portion; they often long for home, where their brethren meet, their Savior reigns, and their God is forever glorified.
They are called the sons of the living God. Who calls them so? God, in His Word, and acknowledges them as such at His throne. Ministers, who are sent to inform them, encourage them and exhort them to duty. Saints, to whom they appear as the excellent of the earth, the children of a king. Angels acknowledge them too, and minister unto them as the heirs of salvation. The world will, by and-bye, when they appear in their glory, being introduced into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Reader! Are you among the children of God — or the children of the devil? There are but two families — and to one of them you do, you must belong! Which is it?
Christian, improve your relation at a throne of grace: remember it when you are in the world, lest you dishonor it: act according to it, especially in the church of God. Consider the honor it involves; the blessings it secures; and the glory to which it entitles.