Gave he power - Εξουσιαν, Privilege, honor, dignity, or right. He who is made a child of God enjoys the greatest privilege which the Divine Being can confer on this side eternity. Those who accept Jesus Christ, as he is offered to them in the Gospel, have, through his blood, a right to this sonship; for by that sacrifice this blessing was purchased; and the fullest promises of God confirm it to all who believe. And those who are engrafted in the heavenly family have the highest honor and dignity to which it is possible for a human soul to arrive. What an astonishing thought is this! The sinner, who was an heir to all God's curses, has, through the sacrifice of Jesus, a claim on the mercy of the Most High, and a right to be saved! Even justice itself, on the ground of its holy and eternal nature, gives salvation to the vilest who take refuge in this atonement; for justice has nothing to grant, or Heaven to give, which the blood of the Son of God has not merited.
To as many as received him - The great mass; the people; the scribes and Pharisees rejected him. A few in his lifetime received him, and many more after his death. “To receive him,” here, means to “believe” on him. This is expressed at the end of the verse.
Gave he power - This is more appropriately rendered in the margin by the word “right” or “privilege.” Compare Acts 1:7; Acts 5:4; Romans 9:21; 1 Corinthians 7:37; 1 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Corinthians 9:4-5.
Sons of God - Children of God by adoption. See the notes at Matthew 1:1. Christians are called sons of God:
1.Because they are “adopted” by Him, 1 John 3:1.
2.Because they are “like Him;” they resemble Him and have His spirit.
3.They are united to the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, are regarded by Him as his brethren Matthew 25:40, and are therefore regarded as the children of the Most High.
1.That to be a child of God is a privilege - far more so than to be the child of any human being, though in the highest degree rich, or learned, or honored. Christians are therefore more honored than any other persons.
3.This favor is given only to those who believe on him. All others are the children of the wicked one, and no one who has not “confidence in God” can be regarded as his child. No parent would acknowledge one for his child, or approve of him, who had no confidence in him, who doubted or denied all he said, and who despised his character. Yet the sinner constantly does this toward God, and he cannot, therefore, be called his Son.
The truth is to be planted in the heart. It is to control the mind and regulate the affections. The whole character must be stamped with the divine utterances. Every jot and tittle of the word of God is to be brought into the daily practice. COL 314.1
He who becomes a partaker of the divine nature will be in harmony with God's great standard of righteousness, His holy law. This is the rule by which God measures the actions of men. This will be the test of character in the judgment. COL 314.2
There are many who claim that by the death of Christ the law was abrogated; but in this they contradict Christ's own words, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets.... Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.” Matthew 5:17, 18. It was to atone for man's transgression of the law that Christ laid down His life. Could the law have been changed or set aside, then Christ need not have died. By His life on earth He honored the law of God. By His death He established it. He gave His life as a sacrifice, not to destroy God's law, not to create a lower standard, but that justice might be maintained, that the law might be shown to be immutable, that it might stand fast forever. COL 314.3Read in context »
Christ took with Him to the heavenly courts His glorified humanity. To those who receive Him He gives power to become the sons of God, that at last God may receive them as His, to dwell with Him throughout eternity. If during this life they are loyal to God, they will at last “see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” Revelation 22:4. And what is the happiness of heaven but to see God? What greater joy could come to the sinner saved by the grace of Christ than to look upon the face of God and know Him as Father? MH 421.1
The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between God and Christ, and they bring to view as clearly the personality and individuality of each. MH 421.2
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son; ... who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said He at any time. MH 421.3Read in context »
All spiritual life is derived from Jesus Christ. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). But what is the sure result of becoming a child of God? The result is that we become laborers together with God. There is a great work to be done for your own soul's salvation, and to qualify you to win others from unbelief to a life sustained by faith in Christ Jesus: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me [with a casual faith?—No, with an abiding faith that works by love and purifies the soul] hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life.... I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.... Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.... It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father” (John 6:47, 48, 51, 53, 54, 63-65). 1SM 137.1
When Jesus spoke these words, He spoke them with authority, assurance, and power. At times He manifested Himself in such a way that the deep movings of His Spirit were sensibly realized. But many who saw and heard and participated in the blessings of the hour, went their way, and soon forgot the light He had given them. 1SM 138.1Read in context »
(Isaiah 45:21, 22; Matthew 16:24; John 1:29.) Look and Live—Hanging upon the cross Christ was the gospel. Now we have a message, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” Will not our church members keep their eyes fixed on a crucified and risen Saviour, in whom their hopes of eternal life are centered? This is our message, our argument, our doctrine, our warning to the impenitent, our encouragement for the sorrowing, the hope for every believer. If we can awaken an interest in men's minds that will cause them to fix their eyes on Christ, we may step aside, and ask them only to continue to fix their eyes upon the Lamb of God. They thus receive their lesson. Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. He whose eyes are fixed on Jesus will leave all. He will die to selfishness. He will believe in all the Word of God, which is so gloriously and wonderfully exalted in Christ. 6BC 1113.1
As the sinner sees Jesus as He is, an all compassionate Saviour, hope and assurance take possession of his soul. The helpless soul is cast without any reservation upon Jesus. None can bear away from the vision of Christ Jesus crucified a lingering doubt. Unbelief is gone (Manuscript 49, 1898). 6BC 1113.2
(Psalm 85:10; see EGW on James 2:13.) The Cross of Christ Moves the World—The cross of Calvary challenges, and will finally vanquish every earthly and hellish power. In the cross all influence centers, and from it all influence goes forth. It is the great center of attraction; for on it Christ gave up His life for the human race. This sacrifice was offered for the purpose of restoring man to his original perfection. Yea, more, it was offered to give him an entire transformation of character, making him more than a conqueror. 6BC 1113.3Read in context »