That ye may be the children of your Father - Instead of ὑιοι children, some MSS., the latter Persic version, and several of the primitive fathers, read ὃμοιοι, that ye may be like to, or resemble, your Father who is in heaven. This is certainly our Lord's meaning. As a man's child is called his, because a partaker of his own nature, so a holy person is said to be a child of God, because he is a partaker of the Divine nature.
He maketh his sun to rise on the evil - "There is nothing greater than to imitate God in doing good to our enemies. All the creatures of God pronounce the sentence of condemnation on the revengeful: and this sentence is written by the rays of the sun, and with the drops of rain, and indeed by all the natural good things, the use of which God freely gives to his enemies." If God had not loved us while we were his enemies, we could never have become his children: and we shall cease to be such, as soon as we cease to imitate him.
That ye may be the children of your Father - In Greek, the sons of your Father. The word “son” has a variety of significations. See the notes at Matthew 1:1. Christians are called the “sons” or “children” of God in several of these senses: as his offspring; as adopted; as his disciples; as imitators of Him. In this passage the word is applied to them because, in doing good to enemies, they resemble God. He makes His sun to rise upon the evil and good, and sends rain, without distinction, on the just and unjust. So His people should show that they imitate or resemble Him, or that they possess His spirit, by doing good in a similar way.
If you have chosen such a life, you know that you are spending money for that which is not bread, and labor for that which satisfieth not. There come to you hours when you realize your degradation. Alone in the far country you feel your misery, and in despair you cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:24. It is the statement of a universal truth which is contained in the prophet's words, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.” Jeremiah 17:5, 6. God “maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45); but men have the power to shut themselves away from sunshine and shower. So while the Sun of Righteousness shines, and the showers of grace fall freely for all, we may by separating ourselves from God still “inhabit the parched places in the wilderness.” COL 201.1
The love of God still yearns over the one who has chosen to separate from Him, and He sets in operation influences to bring him back to the Father's house. The prodigal son in his wretchedness “came to himself.” The deceptive power that Satan had exercised over him was broken. He saw that his suffering was the result of his own folly, and he said, “How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father.” Miserable as he was, the prodigal found hope in the conviction of his father's love. It was that love which was drawing him toward home. So it is the assurance of God's love that constrains the sinner to return to God. “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” Romans 2:4. A golden chain, the mercy and compassion of divine love, is passed around every imperiled soul. The Lord declares, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3. COL 202.1
The son determines to confess his guilt. He will go to his father, saying, “I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” But he adds, showing how stinted is his conception of his father's love, “Make me as one of thy hired servants.” COL 202.2Read in context »
Jesus said to the disciples, “Ye are clean, but not all.” He had washed the feet of Judas, but the heart had not been yielded to Him. It was not purified. Judas had not submitted himself to Christ. DA 649.1
After Christ had washed the disciples’ feet, and had taken His garments and sat down again, He said to them, “Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” DA 649.2
Christ would have His disciples understand that although He had washed their feet, this did not in the least detract from His dignity. “Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.” And being so infinitely superior, He imparted grace and significance to the service. No one was so exalted as Christ, and yet He stooped to the humblest duty. That His people might not be misled by the selfishness which dwells in the natural heart, and which strengthens by self-serving, Christ Himself set the example of humility. He would not leave this great subject in man's charge. Of so much consequence did He regard it, that He Himself, One equal with God, acted as servant to His disciples. While they were contending for the highest place, He to whom every knee shall bow, He whom the angels of glory count it honor to serve, bowed down to wash the feet of those who called Him Lord. He washed the feet of His betrayer. DA 649.3Read in context »
God is always giving; and upon whom are His gifts bestowed? Upon those who are faultless in character? “He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45. Notwithstanding the sinfulness of humanity, notwithstanding that we so often grieve the heart of Christ and prove ourselves most undeserving, yet when we ask His forgiveness, He does not turn us away. His love is freely extended to us, and He bids us: Love one another as I have loved you. John 13:34. 6T 284.1
Brethren and sisters, I ask you to consider this matter carefully. Think of the wants of the fatherless and motherless. Are not your hearts stirred as you witness their sufferings? See if something cannot be done for the care of these helpless ones. As far as lies in your power, make a home for the homeless. Let everyone stand ready to act a part in helping forward this work. The Lord said to Peter: “Feed My lambs.” This command is to us, and by opening our homes for the orphans we aid in its fulfillment. Let not Jesus be disappointed in you. 6T 284.2
Take these children and present them to God as a fragrant offering. Ask His blessing upon them, and then mold and fashion them according to Christ's order. Will our people accept this holy trust? Because of our shallow piety and worldly ambition, shall those for whom Christ has died be left to suffer, to go in wrong paths? 6T 284.3Read in context »
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45. OHC 245.1
I see a providence in all of God's works.... The clouds and rain, as well as the bright sunshine, have their mission in blessings to man. The God of nature knows just what we need and He moves forward in a straight line, sending blessings upon the just and upon the unjust. I am so grateful that finite minds cannot have the ordering of things. What cross-purposes would be revealed! OHC 245.2Read in context »