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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Reality Of Evil

SatanDo you believe in Satan? Many in today’s world believe he is a myth, a boogeyman, a fable, or the product of an ignorant superstitious mind. The Bible has a lot to say about the demonic, but it is largely ignored in our enlightened culture and even in our churches. We have developed a more therapeutic strategy for dealing with the dark side of human nature and sin. We now refer to evil as a sickness rather than acknowledge the power of its autonomous influence.

Satan is a brilliant strategist. He is utterly satisfied when you are unwilling to acknowledge his existence. He is quite capable of setting before you a vision and plan for your ultimate happiness. His goal, however, is to use every means at his disposal to keep men separated from God. His unrelenting malevolence towards mankind is satisfied only by our destruction. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” (John 8:44)

We are in the middle of a cosmic spiritual battle and mankind is an unwitting bondservant to the master of evil. “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.” (John 8:44) Paul wrote, “the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

How is it possible to resist such a formidable foe? We can’t in and of ourselves. We are too weak and flawed by the fall of Adam. How then may we overcome the evil designs of this master puppeteer? James, the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, writes – “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” (James 4:7) In order to overcome Satan, the first thing you need is a new master. Without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit of God, you will never defeat the devil’s influence over your life. James then says in the same verse, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Once you have submitted to Christ as your Lord, you are then enabled to resist. But Peter reminds us to be “sober-minded” and “watchful” and “firm in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9) The devil will continue to seek to devour you.

I do not subscribe to the theory that there is a demon under every bush. Nor can we excuse our sins by claiming that, “The devil made me do it!” Even without Satan there is quite enough evil residing in our corrupted natures to commit unspeakable acts. However, if we are to truly understand the nature of the universe in which we live, we must take seriously the Bible’s portrayal of Satan and his demons as personal spiritual entities who are actively involved in the lives of people on this planet in the worse possible ways. Therefore, God the Father sent Jesus Christ “to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)

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Top 10 R. C. Sproul Quotes

RCSproul10. Every sin is an act of cosmic treason, a futile attempt to dethrone God in His sovereign authority.

9. Most Christians solute the sovereignty of God but believe in the sovereignty of man.

Continue reading. . . .

Deliver Me: A Prayer Of Repentance

Repentance

“Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find Thy mind in Thy Word, of neglect to seek Thee in my daily life. My transgressions and short-comings present me with a list of accusations, but I bless Thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do Thou rule over me in liberty and power.

“I thank Thee that many of my prayers have been refused. I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness. Go on with Thy patient work, answering ‘no’ to my wrongful prayers, and fitting me to accept it. Purge me from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to Thy rule. I thank Thee for Thy wisdom and Thy love, for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject, for sometimes putting me into the furnace to refine my gold and remove my dross.

“No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin. If Thou shouldst give me choice to live in pleasure and keep my sins, or to have them burnt away with trial, give me sanctified affliction. Deliver me from every evil habit, every accretion of former sins, everything that dims the brightness of Thy grace in me, everything that prevents me taking delight in Thee. Then I shall bless Thee, God of Jeshurun, for helping me to be upright.” (The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett)

What Is An “Antinomian”?

Click on the picture and go to Pyromaniacs to find out. . . .

 

Mmm.  Could be an antinomian. . . .

 

More Than A Good Life

insigniaI have not always been a Christian.  I was an atheist until I was 31 years old.  I had attended church with my family until my teenage years, but then I turned away completely.  On my own, I began to study the philosophy of “Objectivism” and became a disciple of Ayn Rand’s books.  Although I attended a religious denominational university, the professors confirmed what I had suspected all along.  I left college a committed atheist.

It is difficult to believe how far amiss my thinking was in those days.  After almost thirty years of being a Christian, I can look back at that time in my life and only shake my head.  But then, Paul said: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

How would I describe my Christian experience?  I think I would quote Tolstoy who wrote, “A man following Christ’s teaching is like a man carrying a lantern before him at the end of a pole.  The light is ever before him, and ever impels him to follow it, by continually lighting up fresh ground and attracting him onward.”

The attraction (light) is still there and I am compelled to follow it.  This is not just because I see the light, but now I see the real world by its brightness.  It is a daily walk that I have undertaken and its progress is guided by the Holy Spirit until, eventually, I am conformed to Christ.  This is more than a good life.  It is the substance of the Kingdom of God.

A Compromised Faith

 

 

CHSpurgeon“Every deviation from truth is a sin. It is not simply a sin for me to do a wrong act, but it is a sin for me to believe a wrong doctrine. Lately some pastors have absolved us all from obeying God in our judgments; they have told us point blank, many of them, in their drawing-rooms, and some of them in the pulpit, that we shall never be asked in the Day of Judgment what we believed. We have been told that for our acts we shall be responsible, but for our faith we [will not be responsible], or something very much like it; they have told us plainly, that the God who made us, although he has authority over our hands, our feet, our eyes and our lips, hath but little authority over our judgments; they have told us, that if we make ever such blunders in divinity, they are no sins, so long as we can live right lives.

 

“But is that true? No; the whole man is bound to serve God; and if God gives me a judgment, I am bound to employ that judgment in his service; and if that judgment receive an untruth, it has received stolen goods, and I have sinned as much as if I put forth my hand to take my neighbor’s goods. There may be degrees in the sin. If it be a sin of ignorance, it is nevertheless a sin; but it is not so heinous as a sin of negligence, which I fear it is with many.

 

“If a certain doctrine is true, I am committing a sin before Almighty God, if I do not receive it; and if it be not true, then I sin in embracing what is not scriptural. Error in doctrine is as much a sin as error in practice.” (Charles H. Spurgeon, May 11, 1856)

A Conversation Between Ben Stein & R. C. Sproul

In this video, Mr. Ben Stein joins Dr. R.C. Sproul for a conversation about the current state of free scientific inquiry in our educational system.  Mr. Stein is deeply involved in a film project that challenges the neo-Darwinian scientific community and exposes their hostility to intelligent design and all those who believe in it. The movie opens nationwide April 18.

 Intelligent Design

Intelligent Design

 

Available only on Thursday, March 27 and Friday, March 28, 2008.
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