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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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Casting Blame Upon God’s Decree

In the words of Thomas Boston:

Wicked men, when they commit some wicked or atrocious crime, might attempt to excuse themselves, saying, “Who can help it? God would have it so; it was appointed for me before I was born, so that I could not avoid it.” This is a horrid abuse of the divine decrees, as if they might constrain men to sin. This is impossible. The decree is an immanent act of God, and so can have no influence, physical or moral, upon the wills of men, but leaves them to the liberty and free choice of their own hearts; and what sinners do, they do most freely and of their own choice. It is a horrid and detestable wickedness to cast the blame of your sin upon God’s decree. This is to charge your villainy upon him, as if he were the author of it. It is great folly to cast your sins upon Satan who tempted you, or upon your neighbor who provoked you: but it is a far greater sin, nay, horrid blasphemy, to cast it upon God himself. A greater affront than this cannot be offered to the infinite holiness of God.

O what a sweet and pleasant life would you have under the heaviest pressures of affliction, and what heavenly serenity and tranquility of mind would you enjoy, would you cheerfully acquiesce in the good will and pleasure of God, and embrace every dispensation, how no matter how sharp it may be, because it is determined and appointed for you by the eternal counsel of his will! (“Important Lessons Drawn from the Decrees of God”)

Marriage Trends

Quoting Heritage Foundation‘s Rachel Sheffield:

“New government data reveals a continuing trend of declining marriage rates. More women have never been married, and cohabitation rates have increased steadily. And more children are born outside of marriage than ever before. The consequences of these trends include lower economic prosperity for families and an array of poorer outcomes for children. Tragically, as marriage declines, even the very physical safety for women and children is compromised. … The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that never-married women are over four times as likely to be a victim of domestic violence compared to married women. … Additionally, children living outside of married, biological-parent homes have a far greater probability of experiencing physical and sexual abuse. Most notably, children living with a single parent and the parent’s romantic partner are approximately 10 times as likely to be physically abused and 20 times as likely to be sexually abused. Even children living with both biological parents are at heightened risk of physical abuse (over four times as likely) and sexual abuse (nearly five times as likely) if their parents are not married. As marriage rates decline, more women and children are exposed to living situations that jeopardize their safety. As policymakers look to ways to address violence against women, rather than expanding top-down approaches of questionable effectiveness, efforts to promote and strengthen marriage are critical.”

Read more. . . .

Guilt and Sins are no Small Matter

Do you deny your love of sin? You know they are wrong but you excuse yourself based on what others are doing, or what you see on TV, or in movies. Are you neglecting your great and only salvation? How shall you escape the justice of natural consequences or the impending wrath of justice to come? According to Andrew Bonar:

“It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Lev. 17: 11).

“There I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat” (Exod. 25: 22).

The crucified and risen Jesus, and nothing else, brings us nigh to God. The crucified and risen Jesus, apart from all besides, reconciles us to God. The crucified and risen Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. He has borne an awful testimony that the wages of sin is death, and has thus opened the way of salvation for the very chief of sinners, the very basest and vilest of men.

Reader! Have you ever felt this blood of Christ to be precious blood? Have you been convinced of sin, and convinced of righteousness? Have you ever felt God’s holy justice in requiring such a sacrifice, and His holy love in providing it, not sparing His only begotten Son? Have you ever felt the necessity for that blood being shed, and sprinkled upon your soul before you could be pardoned? It is the blood, and the blood alone, which maketh atonement for the soul. It was to this blood of Christ, seen by faith through the types of the ceremonial law, that David was looking in the Fifty-first Psalm, when, in bitterness for his guilt, he cried, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psa. 51. 7). Has the insupportable burden of sin ever thus fixed your eye upon that blood whence alone pardon and relief can come?

Or are you yet easy-minded about the state of your soul? Does your conscience tell you that it would make no material difference to you, if you were to be told that now there was to be no longer any access to the mercy-seat for you? Dear reader, think what you are doing. Is sin a fancy? Is the wrath of God a vain imagination? If these were matters of little consequence, if they were as small matters as you now think them, would God have given His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life? (“The Mercy Seat)

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