For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
I. HIS PRESENT CONDITION. He is "led by the Spirit of God."
1. There are two things which may render it necessary for a person to be led, defect of vision or circumstances of peril. A blind man is under the necessity of being led, in order that he may be preserved from the dangers into which he would be otherwise betrayed.
2. Or a man may be exposed to such perils that it is necessary that he should put himself under the guidance of some one who may enable him to detect and overcome the danger. Both these, in a moral point of view, coalesce in the case of every one by nature.
(1) Our moral eyesight is blinded. The reason of man is perverted; it is clouded by prejudice; it attaches undue weight to things that are of no importance, and overlooks the things which are of first-rate importance. Spiritual truth we are utterly unable to perceive. The various sciences have distinct nomenclatures which they who are not initiated do not understand. Now, gospel truth is just as unintelligible to one who has not been renewed by the Spirit of God. Mr. Pitt was once taken by Wilberforce to hear William Cecil; that statesman listened attentively, and when he was retiring, upon being asked by his friend how he liked the statements he had heard, the honest answer was, that he could not understand one single sentence. Why? Not that the preacher had clothed the truth in unintelligible language, but in the language of Scripture, inspired by the Spirit of God, and therefore in a language which that statesman was unable to comprehend because it was to be spiritually discerned.
(2) And our way is encompassed with peril.
(a) We are treading, as it were, upon the margin of eternity, and in an instant we might be summoned to stand before the bar of judgment.
(b) We are surrounded with a host of spiritual beings, who are continually operating against our safety.
(c) The world around us is continually placing temptation in our way.
(d) We have a traitor within. Now, if all this be the case we need a leader such as the Spirit of God.
2. How is it that the Spirit of God leads?
(1) By unfolding the meaning of the written Word. That Word is our great sheet-anchor in the present day, and. we have an infallible interpreter thereof in the Spirit who indited it.
(2) By the various providences of which Christians are the subjects in their passage through life. He who will watch for providences shall never want a providence to watch. It is true that we have not a visible pillar of cloud and of fire; yet if we will only attentively listen to the voice of God's providence often we shall find it true — "Thine ear shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand or to the left."
3. How is it to be known whether a person is led of the Spirit? The marks are —
(1) Separation from the world.
(2) Obedience to God's will.
(3) A single eye to God's glory.
II. HIS PRIVILEGE.
1. As relating to the present life.
(1) He may look up to God as his reconciled Father in Jesus.
(2) Trials may befall him; but he knows that "all things work together for good to them that love God." God loves him too well not to try him. Thus he can look upon his trials with thankfulness, believing that they shall work out for him, "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."(3) He may come to God with the confidence of a child.
(4) As his course draws nearer and nearer to eternity it grows brighter and brighter.
2. And as for his privileges in eternity, "Eye hath not seen" etc.,
(Bp. R. Bickersteth.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.