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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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Does Nature Reveal God?

Quoting R. C. Sproul:

Does nature reveal God? This question indicates a concern about a foundational issue to Christianity. The issue is, can God be known outside of the church or a religious environment?

The secularist of today answers this question with the negative. The world of nature is frequently said to be antithetical to a belief in God, presenting us with so many anomalies as to render the existence of God untenable.

Because of these claims either from the corner of the militant atheist or from the queries of the troubled agnostic, many Christians have retreated into a sphere of “religious faith” as the only framework within which God can be known. Here nature is negotiated in order to protect the arena of space.

The nature Psalms of the Old Testament indicate that the majesty of the Creator shines through the creation. God not only reveals Himself clearly in creation, but the revelation gets through. It is perceived by men. The judgment of God is not withheld because men refuse to receive the revelation (Rom. 1:18).

The problem is that not only does God reveal Himself, but that men perceive that revelation and refuse to acknowledge it. Paul says, “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful” (Rom. 1:21, KJV). Here man is said to know God. His sin is that he will not glorify or thank the God he knows exists. Paul contends that God so clearly manifests Himself in creation that all men know He exists. God’s revelation in nature makes honest atheism an intellectual impossibility.

The knowledge of God manifest in nature is by no means comprehensive. Natural revelation will never provide us with redemptive knowledge. It is one thing to know that God exists. It is quite another to have a personal, intimate knowledge of the God who exists.

Read more. . . .

The Old Paths

Stephen Charnock (1628–1680) once wrote, “If our faith stops in Christ’s life, and does not fasten upon His blood, it will not be justifying faith. His miracles, which prepared the world for His doctrines; His holiness, which fitted Himself for His sufferings, had been insufficient for us without the addition of the cross.” J. C. Ryle continues in this line of reasoning:

“Far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

As long as you live, beware of a religion in which there is not much of the cross. You live in times when the warning is sadly needful. Beware, I say again, of a religion without the cross.

There are hundreds of places of worship, in this day, in which there is everything almost except the cross. There is carved oak, and sculptured stone; there is stained glass, and brilliant painting; there are solemn services, and a constant round of ordinances; but the real cross of Christ is not there. Jesus crucified is not proclaimed in the pulpit. The Lamb of God is not lifted up, and salvation by faith in Him is not freely proclaimed. And hence all is wrong. Beware of such places of worship. They are not apostolic. They would not have satisfied Paul. . . .

There are thousands of religious books published in our times, in which there is everything except the cross. They are full of directions about sacraments, and praises of the Church. They abound in exhortations about holy living, and rules for the attainment of perfection. They have plenty of fonts and crosses, both inside and outside. But the real cross of Christ is left out. The Savior, and His work of atonement and complete salvation, are either not mentioned, or mentioned in an unscriptural way. And hence they are worse than useless. Beware of such books. They are not apostolic. They would never have satisfied Paul.

Paul boasted in nothing but the cross. Strive to be like him. Set Jesus crucified fully before the eyes of your soul. Listen not to any teaching which would interpose anything between you and Him. Do not fall into the old Galatian error—think not that anyone in this day is a better guide than the apostles. Do not be ashamed of the “old paths,” in which men walked who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. (“The Cross of Christ”)

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