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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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  • Recommended Reading

Where Do Our Rights Come From?

Many people have wrongly come to believe that judges have the power to determine our Rights. According to such thinking, our Rights are no longer unalienable because we hold them at the pleasure of the Supreme Court. Federal judges, therefore, claim the power to regulate our political speech and religious speech. They seek to determine & regulate our property rights and the fruits of our own labors. But if our rights are not determined by the judicial branch, what is their source and authority? Publius Huldah explains that human rights come from God:

Let us begin with what is True: Our Declaration of Independence says our Rights come from God. Our rights thus pre-date & pre-exist the U.S. Constitution.

The Declaration of Independence says:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

So these, then, are the foundational principles of our Constitutional Republic:

• Our Rights are unalienable and come from God;

• The purpose of civil government is to protect our God-given Rights;

• Civil government is legitimate only when it operates with our consent; &

• Since the US Constitution is the formal expression of the Will of the People, the federal government operates with our consent only when it obeys the Constitution.

Because the Declaration of Independence identifies The Creator as Grantor of Rights, we look to The Bible – or the Natural Law – to see what those rights are. The Bible – or the Natural Law – reveals many rights, such as the rights to Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness; to inherit, earn, and keep property; the right of self-defense; the right and duty to demand that the civil authorities obey the Law; the right to speak; the right to live our lives free from interference from civil government; the rights of parents to raise their children free from interference from civil government; the right to worship God; etc.

The distinguishing characteristics of all God-given or Natural Rights are:

• Each one may be held and enjoyed at NO expense or loss to any other person; and

• We can look them up for ourselves! They are not subject to someone else’s interpretations.

Continue reading. . . .

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If Sinners Be Damned

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting Charles Spurgeon:

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”

The Dangerous Politician

Adam Smith

Quoting Adam Smith:

“The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would … assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.”

Holiness Is Purity In Mind And Body

Martin Luther

4:1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4)

When Christians fall into sin they are to be reproved and the sin resisted. The sin cannot be allowed to pass. The reins of lust must not be given free expression. The Christian must be healed and delivered. Martin Luther writes on this subject:

It was a fact reflecting much credit and honor on the Thessalonians in contrast to the Corinthians and the Galatians that they continued upright in doctrine and true in the knowledge of the faith, though perhaps deficient in the above-mentioned two self-evident features of Christian life. While it is true that if sins of immorality are not renounced God will punish, yet punishment in such cases is for the most part temporal, these sins being less pernicious than such gross offenses as error in faith and doctrine.

Paul, however, threatens such sins with the wrath of God, lest anyone become remiss and indolent, imagining the kingdom of Christ a kingdom to tolerate with impunity such offenses. As Paul expresses it, “God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification [holiness].” The thought is: Unchastity does not come within the limits of Christian liberty and privilege, nor does God treat the offender with indulgence and impunity. No, indeed. In fact, he will more rigorously punish this sin among Christians than among heathen. Paul tells us (I Cor 11, 30) that many were sickly and many had succumbed to the sleep of death in consequence of eating and drinking unworthily. And Psalm 89, 32 testifies, “Then will I visit their transgression with the rod.”

True, they who sin through infirmity, who, conscious of their transgressions, suffer themselves to be reproved, repenting at once–for these the kingdom of Christ has ready pity and forbearance, commending them to acceptance and toleration (Rom 15; Gal 6, 1; 1 Cor 13, 7); but that such vices be regarded generally lawful and normal–this will not do! Paul declares, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” And he speaks of “how ye ought to . . . please God.” His thought is: Some consider these sins a matter of little moment, treat them as if the wind blew them away and God rather had pleasure in them as trivial affairs. But this is not true. While God really bears with the fallen sinner, he would have us perceive our errors and strive to mend our lives and to abound more and more in righteousness. His grace is not intended to cloak our shame, nor should the licentious abuse the kingdom of Christ as a shield for their knavery. Paul commands (Gal 5, 13), “Use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh”; and Peter (1 Pet 2, 16), “As free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God.”

Paul, following the Hebrew way of speaking, has reference to chastity where he says “your sanctification.” He terms the body “holy” when it is chaste, chastity being, in God’s sight, equivalent to holiness. “Holiness,” in the Old Testament, is a synonym for “purity.” Again, “holiness” and “purity” are regarded as the same thing in First Corinthians 7, 14: “Else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”

The nature of the holiness and purity whereof he speaks he makes plain himself in the words: “That ye abstain from fornication; that each one of you knows how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor.” The apostle does not here prohibit matrimony, but licentiousness, and unchastity outside the marriage state. He who is careful to keep his vessel–his body–chaste, who does not commit adultery and is not guilty of whoredom–this man preserves his body in holiness and purity, and properly is called chaste and holy.

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