Lexington, Ky., Dec.12, 1878.
MY DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: - While sitting alone and meditating on the teachings of the word of God, and especially the many “exceeding great and precious promises” contained therein, my mind was suddenly arrested by the teaching of the apostle Paul, in his fourth chapter to the churches of Galatia, first to fifth verse inclusive, which was opened up to my mind with more comfort and encouragement than ever before. The distinction he makes between the lawful heirs of one’s body, and those who become heirs by adoption, is so manifest and plain as to commend itself to the especial attention of those who desire an understanding of the “more sure word of prophecy.” He said, “Now I say, the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all, but is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the father.” We know that the father is responsible for his children while they are minors, and that the children are legally subject to the government and control of their fathers during their minority, although they, when they arrive at their majority, are lords of, or come in possession of the entire estate. Do not forget, this right or prerogative belongs alone to the lawful heir, and his interest in the estate is not advanced one picayune by adoption. Not so with the stranger or foreigner; he has no legal right to the estate, nor any part thereof. Hence the apostle continues, “Even so we, when we were children, [of the flesh] were in bondage under the elements of the world; [under the law and under its curse] but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” The law interposed a barrier to their receiving the adoption of sons; hence the law must be met in all its jots and tittles, and the curse removed, before they could legally receive the adoption of sons, and the curse removed by one who is legally bound for their transgressions. Hence it is said, “For the transgressions of my people was he stricken.” Again, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Again, “Having predestinated us [the sinful sons and daughters of the earthly Adam] to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, [the sons and daughters of the earthly Adam] according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In whom we [the sons and daughters of the earthly Adam] have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Once more, “Forasmuch then as the children [of God] are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Christ] also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver them [the same children] who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject unto bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
“His work was great, ‘twas to redeem,
and bring to glory all,
The chosen seed, beloved in him,
Selected ere the fall.
And who but the Redeemer, say,
Was able to endure,
The weight of sin that on him lay,
And make salvation sure?
Yet this redeeming Angel came,
So vile a worm to bless;
He took with gladness all my blame,
And gave his righteousness.”
Thus we see that, according to the covenant engagement of Christ, “He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” And, “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” And he sends his Spirit to seek his sheep and search them out. I now ask our adversaries, Has Christ done nothing for the “old man?” Not one groan, not one pang, not one sorrow, pressed his holy soul, but for the old man, the sinner. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”
“Christ hath fulfilled the law,
Obtained my peace with God;
Hence doth my soul her comfort draw,
And leave her heavy load.”
Paul said to his brethren at Rome, who were quickened and born of the Spirit, “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage, again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” The born heir of God calls God his Father, and the adopted son claims the same relationship. I again ask, Is there nothing done for the “old man?” The apostle did not say to his brethren, Ye have received adoption, but, “the spirit of adoption.” Adoption is in the future; hence he said, “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for it? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” The apostle had in anticipation the cheering truth that Christ “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body;” that although his body “is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption;” though “sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory;” though “sown in weakness, it is raised in power;” though “sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Again, I ask, If the adopted sons and daughters share in all these spiritual blessings, is there nothing done for the “old man,” or sinner?
As ever, most kindly and affectionately your friend and brother, in hope of eternal life,
Thomas P. Dudley.