Chapter 12, part five

All those that are justified, God vouchsafeth [or graciously grants], in and for His only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption:  by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God; have His name put upon them, receive the Spirit of adoption; have access to the throne of grace with boldness; are enabled to cry, Abba, Father; are pitied, protected, provided for,  and chastened by Him as by a Father; yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises, as heirs of everlasting salvation.

Father and children

When you have fellowship with other believers, you are with those who have been adopted by the living God as his own children. For as we think of God the Father, we must also think of God's family. 

Our most basic alignment in this world is toward our Father which is in heaven. He is the one we adore and worship; it is in him that we trust, and we owe him the loyalty of our hearts. Our second most important relationship is with his children. We are not, most basically, people of one country or another, one race or another denomination. We are God's family, one family, with one elder brother, and one Spirit of adoption. For that reason we ought to do all that we can to foster love and unity in this family, seeking its good, and holding back from criticism of brothers and sisters. 

As we think about our place in God's family, the last line in the first chapter of the book of Hebrews proves to be particularly significant. There we are told that 'all angels' are actually 'ministering spirits'. And incredibly, one of their main tasks is to give themselves to help God's family on earth. They are 'sent' by our Father 'to serve those who will inherit salvation' (Heb. 1:14). If this is the case, if the angels of God that stand before his throne are sent to serve God's people here on earth, how much more ought we to do the same! Surely such service is appropriate thanks for the great salvation that we will inherit. Certainly it is an approved way to praise our Father and live to his glory, when we do all that we can to help our brothers and sisters on their way to our heavenly home.

Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn is the associate pastor of Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Virginia. He is the editor of The Minutes and Papers of the Westminster Assembly, 1643-1653.