I was reminded of this truth a number of years ago when I had the opportunity to visit “Hildene”, the beautiful home of Robert Todd Lincoln, overlooking the Green Mountains of Manchester, Vermont. While touring the mansion, I was struck with the fact that Robert Lincoln’s life was not one of extraordinary accomplishment and yet, because he was the son of Abraham Lincoln, one of America’s greatest presidents, he lived a life of great privilege, with many doors of opportunity opened to him.
True believing sons of God also live very privileged lives. They are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, and are privileged to be “no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).
Many personally knew Abraham Lincoln. They were acquainted with his home, the White House, but Robert Lincoln had the privilege of being a member of that household with direct access to the head of that home. How much greater a privilege it is to be a member of the household of the Living God, Creator of the universe. Through the blood of Jesus, a true believer may “come boldly to the throne of grace, that (he) may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Never will he be refused an audience with his heavenly Father.
As a true member of the family of God, there will be seasons of discipline and chastening. But isn’t discipline a mark of being a privileged son of God? In the book of Hebrews we read, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (12:5-6).
Similarly, just as Robert Lincoln had unique privileges in the opportunities that came his way throughout his life, so too the believer is a recipient of extraordinary privileges in life. They can be confident that every circumstance in life is not arbitrary or random, but uniquely fashioned by a loving heavenly Father for their eternal benefit. That’s what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
And there’s more! The true believer has complete access to the inexhaustible resources of God. The Apostle Paul assured the Philippian church that, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (4:19).
This of course does not mean that God will necessarily give His children prominence in this world, or wealth, or power, but it does mean that great spiritual blessings belong to the believer and are freely and lovingly bestowed by God. Paul wrote, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
However, the basis for one’s position as a child of God is not human lineage. That would only be one’s eternal ruin as the Apostle Paul declared to the Romans when he wrote, “just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (5:12).
But Jesus, by His death on the cross, has “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us… having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). And so, Jesus Christ, having dealt with the consequences of sin, also purchased in His death and bodily resurrection all that was necessary so that believers “may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). In this way, sinners, by faith, are gloriously released from the terrible bondage and consequences of sin. The hymn writer Augustus Toplady wrote of these truths when he penned these words of Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary,
“Let the water and the blood, from thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure, cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r”
But even as Robert Lincoln did not enter into this position of a privileged son by choice, neither does a true child of God. Believers are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). This is the glory of God who graciously and mercifully brings sinners alive who were spiritually dead in sin, and enables them to see that they should be eternally damned for their sinful rebellion. And yet it is the same God who then mercifully gives the gifts of faith, repentance and a new heart whereby they most willingly believe that Jesus died for their sins, and that it is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and His alone which makes them acceptable to God. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).
Sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ! What privilege!