I'm doing a bible study on John's Gospel tonight and I was reading some of the Patristic commentaries and I found these two quotes on John 1:12 - a verse I had to memorize in bible school:
"But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God." - John 1:12
"all, He says, are deemed worthy the same privilege; for faith and the grace of the Spirit, removing the inequality caused by worldly things, has moulded all to one fashion, and stamped them with one impress, the King's. What can equal this lovingkindness? A king, who is framed of the same clay with us, does not deign to enrol among the royal host his fellow-servants, who share the same nature with himself, and in character often are better than he, if they chance to be slaves; but the Only-Begotten Son of God did not disdain to reckon among the company of His children both publicans, sorcerers, and slaves, nay, men of less repute and greater poverty than these, maimed in body, and suffering from ten thousand ills. Such is the power of faith in Him, such the excess of His grace. And as the element of fire, when it meets with ore from the mine, straightway of earth makes it gold, even so and much more Baptism makes those who are washed to be of gold instead of clay; the Spirit at that time falling like fire into our souls, burning up the image of the earthy (1 Corinthians 15:49), and producing the image of the heavenly, fresh coined, bright and glittering, as from the furnace-mould." - St. John Chrysostom Homily 10 on the Gospel of John
"But John adds: As many as received Him. What did He afford to them? Great benevolence! Great mercy! He was born the only Son of God, and was unwilling to remain alone. Many men, when they have not sons, in advanced age adopt a son, and thus obtain by an exercise of will what nature has denied to them: this men do. But if any one have an only son, he rejoices the more in him; because he alone will possess everything, and he will not have any one to divide with him the inheritance, so that he should be poorer. Not so God: that same only Son whom He had begotten, and by whom He created all things, He sent into this world that He might not be alone, but might have adopted brethren. For we were not born of God in the manner in which the Only-begotten was born of Him, but were adopted by His grace. For He, the Only-begotten, came to loose the sins in which we were entangled, and whose burden hindered our adoption: those whom He wished to make brethren to Himself, He Himself loosed, and made joint-heirs. ...He did not fear to have joint-heirs, because His heritage does not become narrow if many are possessors. Those very persons, He being possessor, become His inheritance, and He in turn becomes their inheritance. Hear in what manner they become His inheritance: "The Lord has said unto me, You are my Son, this day have I begotten You. Ask of me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance". Hear in what manner He becomes their inheritance. He says in the Psalms: "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup". Let us possess Him, and let Him possess us: let Him possess us as Lord; let us possess Him as salvation, let us possess Him as light. What then did He give to them who received Him? To them He gave power to become sons of God, even to them that believe in His name; that they may cling to the wood and cross the sea." - St. Augustine of Hippo Tractate 2, On the Gospel of John, 13.