As I was preparing my sermon on Ephesians 1:5,6, I remembered something I read in a devotional by William Jay once that dealt with the subject of what we are by nature and what we are by adoption in Christ. Jay was speaking of men who boast in their genealogies, listing the kings and nobility from which they descended. This is what he concluded:
Secular Nobility derives all its luster from flesh and blood, and if retraced will find itself in the dust of the ground from which Adam has taken. It has little value unless in the fancies of men. But our relationship to God confers real and durable honor compared with which the most magnificent titles in the world are but mere shadows and smoke.
William Jay Morning and Evening Exercises (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1856) p. 876