Chapter 12, Part Four

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.


It is just because the Father cares for us that he also sometimes finds need to discipline us. After all, as the writer to the Hebrews says so clearly, it is precisely those that the Lord loves that he disciplines, and it is those who are accepted as Sons that are wisely punished (12:6). Yet it is worth saying, as here it is said, that the Father is never vengeful or vindictive. He does not respond in wrath. Rather, we are chastened by Him as by a Father. Sometimes we may need a severe mercy to bring us back to that straight and narrow road that our Father has prepared for us. But God's discipline is always a mercy - by no means does it indicate that God has deserted us. It is worth remembering that it is right in the middle of Jeremiah's book of Lamentations that we are given the sweet promise that men and women 'are not cast off by the Lord forever' (Lam. 3:31).

On the contrary, one reason why we are given the Spirit of adoption is that the Spirit is God's seal 'to the day of redemption' (Eph. 4:30). God has a plan for his people, and all that he does for us, to us, and with us, is designed to ready us for that day. He is teaching us how to hold heavenly treasures in earthen vessels, because he intends for us, 'through faith and patience' (Heb. 6:12), to inherit all of his promises. God's plan is that we will be 'heirs of everlasting salvation', and that we will be granted 'an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you' and for me (1 Pet. 1:4). 

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.