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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 Paternal Character Of God

From the pen of Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847):

[N]ow that the propitiation has been rendered, man is freely invited to rejoice in his God, and God rejoices over man as if man had never fallen. Sin is obliterated by the sacrifice that has been made for it; and now with a clear conscience because now on a consecrated way, might the guiltiest of our world draw nigh and make his requests known unto God. He is now on firm and high vantage ground for prayer; and in the face of Jesus Christ that veil which mantled the aspect of the Divinity is withdrawn. The voice of the intercessor is now added to the voice of the supphant; and while the mercy of the Godhead is all awake to the sinner’s imploring cry, the Truth and the Holiness and the Justice, are all propitiated by the Savior who died for him. This is the mediatorial ground on which the righteous God and His rebellious creatures can commune peaceably and now that the incense of a sweet-smelling savor is between them, He can effuse all the love and liberality of a Father on His redeemed children, and bestow good things on all who ask Him. Forgiveness is yours if you will. The clean heart and the right spirit are yours if you will. Heaven with all its glories is open to receive you. And holiness which is the dress of Heaven is ready to fall, like Elijah’s mantle, from the hand of Him who hath said “Turn unto me and I will pour out my spirit upon you.” Under the economy of the Gospel all the lets and hindrances, which obstructed these generous communications from the upper sanctuary, are now done away. And, kinder far than ever earthly father to his offspring, does the bountiful God who is in Heaven; rejoice in meeting all the wishes, and supplying all the wants of His spiritual family.

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Martin Luther: We Have A Great Confidence And Refuge In God Through Christ

People are sometimes presumptuous and disrespectful of God when they put themselves, too easily, forward in lightheartedness or pride as a Christian. Martin Luther believed that Christians should be serious about their relationship with Christ and approach the subject with more humility:

Those who only cry: “Christ is my brother! Christ is my brother!” are not true Christians. A Christian acts quite differently, and it is very wonderful, so that the flesh shudders at it and dares indeed neither speak of it nor confess it.

We should bestir ourselves to hear this, not only with the natural ear, but also to experience it in our hearts, for then we would not be so forward and impudent, but would be surprised and amazed over it. True and godly Christians go along in life in contempt of themselves and in fear; they think thus: Ah, shall I, a poor, miserable person, who am steeped in sin, be now so exalted that God’s Son becomes my brother? Ay, how is it that I, a miserable poor creature, am thus honored? I am at once confounded before it and feed upon it; for it truly requires a great effort to believe it; yea, when one experiences it thus, how it is in truth, he must from that hour die; for man, since he is flesh and blood, cannot understand it. Here in this life man’s heart is in too great straits to lay hold of it; but after death, when the heart becomes larger and broader, we experience what we have heard through the Word.

In the Gospel of John, Christ tells Mary Magdalene of the benefit and use of his death and resurrection still more plainly, when he says: “But go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.” Jn 20,17. This is one of the great and comforting passages upon which we can venture, and of which we dare boast. As if Christ had said: Go hence, Mary, and say to my disciples who have deserted me on the field of battle, and who have well merited punishment and eternal condemnation, that my resurrection has taken place for their benefit; that is, by my resurrection I have brought it to pass that my Father is their Father, and my God is their God. These are few words and very short; but they contain a great thought, namely, that we have as great a confidence and refuge in God as Christ his Son himself has. Who can grasp such exceeding joy, unless one speaks of himself when he says a poor, corrupt sinner can and may call God his Father and his God, just like Christ himself does? (“The Fruit and Power of Christ’s Resurrection”)

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