When I reflect on these thoughts I love to go and read the Scripture and Spurgeon. Let me share with you what I found when I went digging around Spurgeon. These tidbits are from a sermon entitled WHAT CHRISTIANS WERE AND ARE, preached by Pastor Spurgeon Thursday evening, October 23, 1873 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
“And were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Ephesians 2:3.)
“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:16, 17.)
Go ahead, just jump right in and breathe in very deeply the refreshing fragrance of these truths. Meditate on them and give God the glory and the praise!
THESE two texts will furnish me with two familiar but most important themes—what Christians were and what they are. There are great and vital differences between what they once were and what they now are—and these are implied or indicated by the two expressions, “the children of wrath” and, “the children of God.” There is so much instruction in each of our texts that we will proceed at once to consider them without any further introduction.
WHAT CHRISTIANS WERE
The Apostle tells us that we “were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” “By nature,” mark you, not merely by practice, but, “by nature the children of wrath.” The expression is a Hebraism. When a person was doomed to die, he would be called by the Jews, “the child of death.” One who was very poor would be called by them, “the child of poverty.” So because we were, by nature, under the wrath of God, we are called “the children of wrath.”
WHAT CHRISTIANS ARE—what we now are if we have believed in Jesus
“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
It is such a wonderful thing that those who were the children of wrath should now be the children of God and that there are two witnesses to it. First, our own spirit says that we are the children of God and then the Holy Spirit comes and says, “Yes, and I also bear witness that you are the children of God.”
Now, Beloved, do you realize that God has worked this great miracle of mercy in you? Does your spirit bear witness that you are now a child of God? When you go out of this building and look up at the stars, will you say to yourself, “My Father made them all”?
Will you feel that you must talk to your Father? And when you go to your bed tonight, should you lie sleepless, will you begin to think of your heavenly Father as naturally as a little child, when it lies awake in the dark, thinks of its mother and calls to her? If you are a true Believer, this is the case with you. The Spirit of adoption is given to you by which you are enabled to cry, “Abba, Father.”
Do you not also know what it is, sometimes, when you are sitting down quietly by yourself, to think, “The God who made the heavens and the earth, and who upholds all things by the Word of His Father, is my Father”? Then very likely a flood of tears will come as you stand silently before the Lord just as the lilies do, for at times there is no form of worship that seems possible to our joyous spirit except standing still and letting the love of the heart silently breathe itself out before the Lord like the fragrance of flowers ascending in a gentle breeze. In such a frame of mind as that, your spirit may well bear witness that you are a child of God!
Then comes the Holy Spirit, the Infallible Witness, and through the Word and through His own mysterious influence upon our heart, He bears witness that we are the children of God. Two witnesses were required, under the Law of God, to establish a charge that was made against any man. And under the Gospel, we have two witnesses to establish our claim to be the children of God—first, the witness of our own spirit—and then the second and far greater Witness, the Holy Spirit, Himself!
And by the mouth of these two witnesses shall our claim be fully established. If our own spirit were our only witness, we might hesitate to receive its testimony, for it is fallible and partial. But when the Infallible and impartial Spirit of God confirms the unfaltering witness of our own heart and conscience, then may we have confidence toward God and believe without hesitation that we are, indeed, the children of the Most High God!
One of the points on which the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God is this—“We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.” When we really love those who are God’s children, it is strong presumptive evidence that we are ourselves, members of His family! And when we truly love God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit—when we have a compassionate love to the souls of men and an intense love of holiness and hatred of sin, and desire for God’s Glory—all these are the further witness to the Spirit with our spirit that we are the children of God.