Read (Psalm 31)
Message - Scott Woodburn
Psalm 31 is yet another messianic Psalm. As we read through I imagine that verse five jumped off the page. It is after all the verse that leaves the Lord's mouth before His death (Luke 23v46). Jesus commits His spirit into the hand of God. What does that mean? What happened to Jesus between His last breath and His resurrection? Some argue that Jesus went to the physical place that we call Hell. The theory goes that He became sin for us and also needed to go to Hell so that we wouldn't have to. Indeed a popular American preacher has famously stated that in Hell the demons trampled over Jesus. She reckons that they mocked Him and beat Him and His torment continued until He was raised. I reject all of this.
The Reformed view argues that Jesus knew the full weight of God's wrath on the cross. It was on the cross that He knew the agonies of Hell. Therefore when He cried that it was finished His work was done. He had no need to go to hell because He had already experienced it. He had no need to be trampled by the demons because He had completed His work.
Instead Jesus commits His spirit into the hands of God and Christ promises the thief on the cross that "today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23v43) So we have Biblical reason to believe that Christ's body remained in the tomb while His spirit went to the paradise of heaven. We know that miraculously, Christ's body does not see decay or corruption in the grave (Psalm 16v9) and we know that on the third day He stood again on this earth. Indeed Christ is called the "firstborn of the dead" (Colossians 1v18).
In all of this there is tremendous comfort. Jesus is the "firstborn of the dead" because His resurrection is a guarantee that we too will be raised to life. Job was able to say "for I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!" (Job 19v25-27) We have the same hope.
Certainly those who die before Christ's return will have their bodies placed in a grave. In that grave their bodies (unlike Christ) will see corruption. But like Jesus (between His death and resurrection) their souls will rest in paradise. It was this truth that enabled Paul to long to die and be with Jesus which is better by far (Philippians 1v23). Yet when Christ returns He will raise us to life. As Paul writes, this mortal body must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15v53). Just as Christ died and rose again and lives forever more, we too will know the same experience. Today Jesus is at the right hand of the Father and as surely as the resurrected Christ intercedes for us there, we too can look and long for the day that the perishable puts on the imperishable.
So the one who commits their spirit to the Lord must know that there is no safer or more certain place. "In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!" (v1). It will be so.
Westminster Shorter Catechism
How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling, and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.
Read Ps 101:7-8
Message - Alan Burke
Did you know that the Northern Ireland Assembly has a ‘Commissioner for Standards’, or rather it should have. I only discovered this recently because there was something in the news about MLA’s and how the post for Assembly Commissioner for Standards is currently vacant, how convenient. We all have expectations of our elected representatives although for most of us are expectations are relatively low. David in this psalm had set out his stall, his manifesto of how he would rule as King over Israel but the ideals that are given in it we all know that he failed to live up to. If he was an MLA he would have lowered our already low expectations of our rulers. The thing is that all the King’s that followed David failed to live to this standard, that is until his Greater Son the Lord Jesus Christ the King who rules over all (Ps 110:1, Matt 22:41-46).
So today we start with Jesus because this psalm is ultimately fulfilled in him alone. If we have faith, we believe then we are the faithful of God (6) through faith, for his righteousness has been imputed to us, our sins have been pardoned though faith in Jesus (Rom 3:22, 24-25, 27-28, 4:5-8, 2 Cor 5:19,21). It means that when this life ends that we can have hope for what lies ahead, that we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Ps 23:6). What a great and glorious hope that we have this day. Not so those who are counted among the worthless(3a), faithless (3c), perverse (4a), slanders (5a), haughty and arrogant (5c), deceitful (7a), liars (7c), wicked (8b), evildoers (8c). These are those who are not counted among the faithful, they are the ‘faithless’. The Kings vow is that daily, morning by morning (8a) that he will dispense justice (8c), the wicked will have no place in the city of the Lord (7a), and the king will bring an end to them for they do not share in the goal of the Kingdom of God.
This will be the outcome of all who are not counted among the faithful, they are those who in our communities are seen as upright, those who are actively involved in good works, they are those who are alcoholics, they are those who are teachers, they are those who are labourers, they are those who are unemployed, they are those who are employers. What sets them apart is that they do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and they are not saved. Jesus is the way the truth and for those who know him he has prepared a place in the Father’s house (Jn 14:1-6). Today if you are the faithful, if you have faith and are saved then a place has been prepared, you will dwell with King Jesus, David’s greater son (6b), but if you do not, repent or know that you will be cut of from the city of the Lord (8d).
Wherein did Christ’ s humiliation consist?
Christ’ s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross:; in being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time.
Read — Psalm 102:1-11
Message Alan Burke
Cries of anguish can come both from physical as well as emotional pain, I have seen both. There are two such cries that will stay with me as long as I live, first the cry of physical anguish coming from a man who was in severe physical pain as he reached the end of his life. The other was that cry of emotional pain as a wife buried her her husband of many years. Both these cries portrayed to all who heard, some of that which was felt by them. What has struck me at the time was that the man was able to smile with his wife and children who were with him in his last hours even in the midst of his pain, whereas that wife who had buried her husband for a long time after did not smile, for she only felt grief and anguish, the pain of her loss still gripped her.
Here the psalmist cries out to the Lord, a cry of desperation (1), we do not know what he as facing but the title of this psalm paints a vivid picture of how this is a; “Prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint and pours out his lament before the LORD”. He feels that the Lord has turned his face from him, desiring that the Lord would in his mercy respond, that he would release him from the abandonment that he faces (2). In the midst of it all the psalmist describes what he feels amid his distress, he leaves out the specifics and instead focusing on the deep sense of affliction that he feels . His bones burn (3), his heart is struck down, he forgets to eat (4), he groans loudly because of the anguish he faces (5), his bones clinging to his flesh loosing his appetite (7), sleeplessness and uncontrolled weeping (9), for he faces the taunt of his enemy. This vivid imagery portrays a terrible sense of being alone, this is how the psalmist feels, consumed by sorrow and tempted to despair, the whole of his person has been effected by these things. There is no escape and as the psalmist comes to terms with the suffering he faces he begins to understand his own mortality. Just like the psalmist when we face such things we own mortality like never before. Here the psalmist explains that our days or like smoke (3), they are like an evening shadow (11) which like the grass are soon gone (11).
I hope that you never feel anguish like this, I hope that you never have to cry out either with physical or emotional anguish but if you do, know that the Lord God will not forget those who are his, and you can come to him with your troubles with confidence, knowing that God can use our weakness in the midst of what ever we face (1 Cor 1:27). Also before the living God, even in our weakness, even when we know not what to pray the Spirit of God is at work in us answering our prayers (Rom 8:26-27). In this life, God is our only refuge the psalmist knew that hence he came before him, bringing his cries of anguish. Knowing that God is our refuge should give us confidence even though Covid-19 has reminded of the fragility of it all, how our days or like smoke (3), they are like an evening shadow (11) which like the grass are soon gone (11). One day this earthly journey will come to an end, for we are but sojourners traveling though. Through faith, as the psalmist, even in darkness we can have hope through Jesus Christ, it is the only for all who believe (1 Jn 5:13-14, 1 Pet 1:3-6, Eph 2:8-10).
Westminster Shorter Catechism
How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us, (John 1:11–12) by his Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5–6)
Read - Psalm 34:1-22
Message - Scott Woodburn
There are thirteen Psalms which have titles describing the time and place in which they were written. Psalm 34 is one of those with the title "Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away." What was the problem? David was becoming famous. The women would sing “Saul has slain his thousands, but David, David has slain his tens of thousands!” David's growing popularity would kindle King Saul's anger. He wouldn't allow any pretender to his throne and so he decided that David would have to die. In response David did the unthinkable. He ran from Israel and sought refuge in the Philistine city of Gath. Surely there he would find peace? Not quite. His fame followed him. David had already killed one of Gath's famous sons Goliath and so the King of Gath's servants whispered to him "Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?” (1 Samuel 21v11)
David is understandably afraid and so pretends to be insane to avoid the wrath of King Achish. He caused damage to the city gates and allowed spittle to run down his bread. The ruse was a success with Achish wanting nothing to do with a liability like David. What flows out of David's experience is this extraordinary Psalm which sings of God's care for His people. David even with spittle on his beard realises that at home or abroad the Lord is a refuge for His people (v8). David's experience of trouble is not unique to him. To this very day Christians of all ages and stages know daily difficulty and turmoil. Your experience even as you read may be exactly that. You would give anything for a bit of peace or for a night were you didn't have to toss and turn. Indeed you discovered that the fortnight in Donegal did you no good as you weren't able to outrun your thoughts. David understood this and wrote "many are the afflictions of the righteous" (v19). Dearly beloved do not be surprised if your days are filled with unrelenting difficulty but equally do not be surprised when help comes, when strength rises, when the strong arm of the Lord holds you fast.
This Psalm promises that the eyes of the Lord are on His people and His ears are turned to our cries (v15). When we cry unto Him, He both hears and delivers us (v17). Indeed when our hearts are broken and our spirits crushed it is the Lord who draws near (v18). Jesus told us that in this world we certainly would have trouble but we are to take heart because our Saviour has overcome this world (John 16v33). How will we overcome? By the fear of the Lord (v11). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom (Proverbs 9v10). What is the fear of the Lord? Knowing God and seeking to serve Him in all your ways. Knowing God and seeking to honour Him as a child seeks to honour their father.
No one who fears the Lord will ever be put to shame. The one who fears the Lord will be redeemed and will certainly know no condemnation (v22). Even today in the midst of trial Christ Himself, the angel of the Lord, is the One who camps around you and will deliver you (v7). I pray today that the most troubled among us will find Psalm 34 is like a spoonful of honey when all we have tasted for a while is bitterness. May our eyes be lifted to Christ and as this devotion ends may we remember His sacrifice. Psalm 34 is Messianic because as we will see in the Gospels not one of Christ's bones is broken (v20). The thieves beside Christ had their legs broken to speed their death but when the Romans came to Jesus, He was already dead and so they did not break His legs (John 19v32-36).
David became something he was not (insane) and his life was saved. Jesus became something He was not (sin) and His life was taken as a ransom for many. How will you get through these days? How you cope with the nightmares that are still to come? You will because you have trusted the crucified and risen Jesus. You have received Him by faith and so have become something you were not (righteous). Jesus encamps around you and as certain as He keeps His bones, not one of them broken, so too He will keep His people, not one of them will be lost. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! (v8-9)
Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 30. How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.
Read — Psalm 102:12-17
Message Alan Burke
Drive though Crossgar, Ballynahinch or any village, town or city and you see buildings under construction, new buildings only a few years old, some replace buildings that once stood there, others built on green fields. I remember as a child running though fields that have now been replaced by homes, the memories flood back every time I drive past and I see how things have changed. Yet there are buildings like that of our meetinghouse give us a tangible connection with the past. Here in Lissara our meetinghouse first opened its doors on April 14 1867, it has seen very few changes since, across the Square the Crossgar Market House was built in 1829, but these are new buildings when one compares them to the village of Crossgar which likely dates one thousand years beforehand, 800 AD. When one compares our lives, even the things that give us a tangible connection with the past we soon begin to realise how small and insignificant we are, our lives are short the psalmist had already expressed that sentiment in his anguished cry to the Lord, how our days or like smoke (3), they are like an evening shadow, which like the grass is soon gone (11).
The Lord though, is enthroned forever, ruling over all the earth (12). Not only when I was a wein running through those Fir Trees in Strabane, but for ever, before the Lissara meetinghouse was built, before Crossgar was thought off, before the Great Wall of China (214 BC) before the Great Pyramid was built (c2500 BC) before all of history, before the foundations of the world. There there has never been a time that he had not ruled over it all, the God who has no beginning and no end (Rev 1:8). The Psalmist prays that the Lord would have compassion, to show favour on Zion (13), his prayer came as Jerusalem lay in ruin, longing for a time that the nations will fear the name or the Lord once more, giving him glory, that the Lord would restore the Glory of Zion so that all may see (15-16). His desire and prayer here is clear, he wants the Lord to do it now, for now is the time (13, 17). The psalmist here is praying with expectation that the Lord would do this, although he did not have is prayer answered in the way that he wanted or he expected. The city would be restored, when the city of God, the holy habitation of the most high, far greater than the psalmist could have ever imagined, a heavenly Jerusalem depending to earth (Rev 21-120, 24-25, see also Mic 4:1-2, Heb 12:22). This God, the Lord God, our God is at work, for in all of this God is at work, he hears the prayer of those in need (17).
For us I want to draw out a few things, firstly our days, they are like smoke (3), they are like an evening shadow, which like the grass is soon gone (11), but we come before the eternal Lord God, enthroned forever through faith (Eph 3:12) and know that though faith we have eternal life (Rom 6:23). When this life goes to an end we will dwell with him for eternity (Jn 10:1-18), we may find that hard to grasp especially when our days are so short but this is the promise given to those who know salvation through faith. Also we know that just as the prayer of the psalmist our prayers are heard, they may not be answered the way we want or in our timeframe, but scripture teaches God promises that he will her the prayer of his people, we are to pray in Jesus name (Jn 15:16, 16:23, 26, 1 Cor 1:2, Eph 5:20). Finally remember that God rules, he is the supreme ruler over all, there are times that we look around and wonder what is going on in our society that seems to no long know what is right and wrong, we may wonder about corona and how it seems to go unchecked, but God is at work in it all, for he preserves (Heb 1:3) and governs all that he has made (Gen 45:5, Acts 1:16). Know this in the midst of it all, your heavenly Father is at work and knows even the hairs on your head (Matt 10:26-33)
Westminster Shorter Catechism
What is effectual calling?
Effectual calling is the work of God’ s Spirit, (2 Tim. 1:9, 2 Thess. 2:13–14) whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, (Acts 2:37) enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, (Acts 26:18) and renewing our wills, (Ezek. 36:26–27) he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel. (John 6:44–45, Phil. 2:13)
Read — Psalm 16v1-11
Message - Scott Woodburn
One of the great wonders of the ancient world is the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The Emperor Justinian commanded it to be built in 532AD. It wasn't the first Hagia Sophia, there had been two previous, but Justinian's effort was to be bigger and grander than anything before. Remarkably it has stood ever since and during it's history it has mostly been used as a Greek Orthodox cathedral. There was a brief period that the building was claimed for Roman Catholicism and from 1453 to the 1930s it was used as a Mosque before becoming a museum. In recent days the Turkish government have decreed that the Hagia Sophia will become a Mosque once more, much to the dismay of those who believe that such a building should be a shared space for the various traditions that lay a claim upon it. If you were to visit the Hagia Sophia today you would see how divided a house it is. Texts from the Koran adorn the interior while ancient Christian frescos adorn the ceilings and walls.
I hope to visit the Hagia Sophia one day and drink in the history whilst reminding myself that the grand edifice before me is merely a building. Christians should always have been looking forward to a city with foundations whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11v10). As Reformed Christians we have deliberately called our church building the meeting house. This is a reminder that the bricks and mortar and the colour of the walls has never been important but our focus should always have been Christ. I hope for as long as our meeting house stands we will always proclaim Christ and Him crucified.
Tragically this isn't a message that will sound currently in the Hagia Sophia. Islam proclaims that Jesus was not crucified and Jesus did not die, indeed someone else (perhaps Judas Iscariot) took Christ's place. The Koran states "They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, Allah raised him to Himself."
Today we proclaim the truth. No one took Christ's place. Jesus was crucified. Jesus did die. On Tuesday we heard that the not one of Christ's bones was broken because the Roman soldiers realised that He was already dead when they came to break His legs. The Scriptures tell us too that Christ's body was removed from the cross and placed in a brand new tomb owned by Jospeh of Arimathea (Matthew 27v57-61). Islam teaches falsely and those who mourn over the ownership of an ancient building weep in vain. The hope of humanity is found in the crucified and risen Jesus. He is the one who promised in John 2v19 "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.". The Jerusalem temple would be destroyed by the Romans and has never been rebuilt. Christ is the true temple, torn down at Calvary but raised again on the third day.
The events of Christ's death and resurrection have always been the most significant in human history. In Christ the Messianic Psalm 16 is fulfilled. The Lord's soul was not abandoned to Sheol. Sheol is the Hebrew word for the place or the realm of the dead, we might speak of the grave. Jesus' body was placed in the tomb but He is not there today. Christ Jesus is risen, He is alive and He is coming back. Hallelujah!
So my friends, look forward to the time that the planes will fly once more and you'll get to force your family to stand in front of ancient buildings like the Hagia Sofia for a photo. Yet remember that this world and all of its structures are fading away, they will not and cannot last. But the one who trusts in Christ can with confidence say "I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!" (Job 19v25-27)
Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
A. They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption, sanctification, and the several benefits which, in this life, do either accompany or flow from them.
Read — Psalm 102:12-22
Message Alan Burke
What are you looking forward to right now? The day a Vaccine comes for Covid-19, how about the end of homeschooling, maybe a day just to put you feet up, or a few days holiday when you can just switch off, it could be a night when you don’t have to do the dishes. We all have things that we are looking forward to, the top of my list right now is to have just one full nights sleep waking up feeling rested, maybe I am hoping for too much and it will have to wait until the kids are in their 30’s, but right now that is it, that’s what I want, that’s what I’m looking forward too!
None of these things are wrong, but the Psalmist who has cried out to the Lord in his affliction (1-11), is looking forward to something far greater, a day that the people of God would return to Zion, when generation to come that would praise the Lord (18). His desire is that there would be a record of God’s faithfulness, how he looked down (19), brought salvation after hearing the groans of the prisoners (20). The psalmist in the mist of his present trouble, was looking forward not to having a nights sleep rather that in his present affliction, in the peoples present trouble there would be a glorious future. The time will come when the praise of the Lord shall fill Jerusalem once more (21) that the present troubles will one day be gone, all nations will join the in the worship of the name of the Lord (22). Even so he desires in the mist of affliction (23), the Lord would cut it short (24), knowing that his affliction will not last forever and the Lord who laid the foundations of the earth (25-26. For in the midst of it all, God is the same forever (Num 23:19, Heb 13:8, Jam 1:17), his years have no end (27). Thus the psalmist closes with confidence in the midst of his affliction that goes well beyond the individual worshipers’ lifetime, expecting God to keep his promises to many faithful generations descended from the faithful (28). Looking with hope to those of future generations able to live in the presence of God, although he suffers now in this present, he sees a brighter future.
What ever you are looking forward to or what ever you are facing you can turn to God knowing that there is a bright future, a glorious hope for all who believe, knowing that our God is a covenant God. And this last verse reminds us of that also he is faithful to those who fear him from one generation to another. Jesus promised to Peter that what ever comes not even the gates of hell will prevail against his church (Matt 16:18). God has been at work throughout the history of the world, he in every generation will work by his grace (18), he has worked his salvific work in us (1 Pet 1:3), he has chosen us (Eph 1:4), here the psalmist speaks of those who are praising God through his salvific work, realising the prisoner, those condemned to death (20), yet God has in his great mercy showing this salvation to the gentiles though Jesus christ, so that the is no condemnation, we have escaped the penalty of sin.
Westminster Shorter Catechism
What is justification?
Justification is an act of God’ s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, (Rom. 3:24–25, Rom. 4:6–8) and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, (2 Cor. 5:19,21) only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, (Rom. 5:17–19) and received by faith alone. (Gal. 2:16, Phil. 3:9)
Read — Psalm 16v1-11
Message - Scott Woodburn
There are some statements that are accepted as being categorically true, with one of those being "Your health is your wealth.". Perhaps with a mouthful of morning coffee you're nodding in agreement. But what if I were to tell you that this statement has never been true? I'm just back from holidays and can gladly say I spent little time on the beaches of the North Coast. I'm not a fan of the sand and certainly I don't appreciate the little piles of sand that fall from your socks months after you've been to the beach. But bear with me. Next time you are on the beach, build a castle down near the water and try to stop the tide from destroying your creation. If that's too much like hard work, take a handful of dry sand and try to stop it running through your fingers. It's an impossible task. "Your health is your wealth." they say, but your health is running through your fingers every single day.
Thankfully, as always, our faith speaks to the futility of life. We have been considering Christ's death and resurrection this week. Jesus is the one who fulfilled Psalm 34. Not one of His bones were broken at Calvary and He is the One who fulfilled Psalm 16. His soul was not abandoned to the grave and remarkably in the grave Jesus saw no corruption (v10b). What do we mean by this? If you have ever been to a funeral the familiar words of committal give understanding. The preacher stands at the graveside and declares "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust". It is a poetic way of describing what will happen to our body in the ground. If we die in faith our souls are immediately made perfect and go to be with the Lord but our bodies enter the grave and slowly but surely see corruption, they disintegrate, they fade away. It gets worse. We already know this corruption. We see it in Covid-19. We feel it in our arthritic joints. We understand it when we struggle to catch a breath. Corruption is all around us with more to come.
No wonder death strikes terror in the hearts of so many. I was listening to the great American TV interviewer Larry King recently. He knows fame and fortune. He has been married eight times to seven different women. He openly admits to having had a great life full of wonderful experiences. He has interviewed kings and queens, the rich and famous, presidents and politicians and yet at age 86 Mr. King also says that he is terrified of death. He comes from a Jewish background but has left Judaism behind and he hasn't found answers anywhere else. Sadly, Larry King has "everything" but he doesn't have Jesus.
Why is this so important? Because all men will die but Christ is the only one who has conquered the grave. His body was placed in the tomb but was kept by God's power from corruption. His body didn't rot, disintegrate or fade and indeed when He rose again it was to live forever more. Today age has no grip on Jesus. His memory doesn't fade with the passing of time. His muscles don't ache after strenuous exercise. He was kept in the grave from corruption and was raised "no more to return to corruption" (Acts 13v34) and by faith so it will be with you. Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians of the change that is to come "For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality." (1 Corinthians 15v52-53) When this comes to pass so the saying that is written will be proved true “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
It is Jesus who has conquered death and the grave. It is Jesus who we will stand before when the last trumpet sounds. It is Jesus who we will be made to resemble and in a world full of futility, frustration and fear it is in Jesus that we find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He is coming and the corruption of life and the grave will be put away by the One who lives forevermore.
Your health isn't your wealth no matter what the Avon lady might say. Jesus is.
Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 34. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God.