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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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Faithful Preachers

R.C. Sproul:

“The more faithful preachers are to the Word of God in their preaching, the more liable they are to the charge of hypocrisy. Why? Because the more faithful people are to the Word of God the higher the message is that they will preach. The higher the message, the further they will be from obeying themselves.” (The Holiness of God)

Luke as a Historian

Opinion of Sir William Ramsay, one of the outstanding Near Eastern archaeologists:

“Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy; he is possessed of the true historic sense; he fixes his mind on the idea and plan that rules in the evolution of history, and proportions the scale of his treatment to the importance of each incident. He seizes the important and critical events and shows their true nature at greater length…In short, this author should be placed among the very greatest of historians.”

 

The Wonder of God’s Love

Contemplate with love that God should go to such great expense in adopting us. When God adopted you, He paid a high price. It was not easy to make the heirs of wrath into the heirs of promise. God chose fallen man and so our adoption was purchased at the price of the blood of His own Son. Such is the wonder of God’s love in adopting us, that He should pay so high a price to accomplish it. L.R. Shelton, Jr. writes:

In Mark 14:36 we see in our Lord’s agony He cried in His native tongue, Hebrew, “Abba, Father.” Is not this a lesson for us?

Adoption comes to us by redemption: We should prize redemption, because it was by the precious blood of Christ that we were redeemed from the curse of the law. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal 4:4,5).

By adoption we are no more like to bond servants  “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father” (Gal 4:1-2). By adoption we are heirs: “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal 4:7). No man living has ever realized to the full what this means. Believers are at this moment heirs, but what is the estate? It is God Himself! We are heirs of God (Rom 8:17)! Not only of the promises, of the covenant engagements, and of all the blessings which belong to the chosen seed, but heirs of God Himself? The Lord is my portion, saith my soul. This God is my God for ever and ever. Surely “the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage” (Psa 16:6).

Meditate upon this truth: that God should adopt us when He had a Son of His own. Men adopt because they want children, and desire to have some one to bear their name; but that God should adopt us when He had a Son of His own, the Lord Jesus, is a wonder of love. Now since God had a Son of His own, and such a Son, how wonderful God’s love in adopting us. We needed a Father, but He did not need sons.

Contemplate what we were before God adopted us. We were very deformed, in a state of sin and misery, very unlovely, and surely a man will not adopt one for his heir that is crooked and ill-favored, but rather he that has some beauty. But when we were yet in our blood, God adopted us. “When I saw thee polluted in thy blood, it was the time of love” (Eze 16:6). God did not adopt us when we were adorned with holiness and had the angels’ glory upon us; but when we were as filthy as hell itself, diseased as lepers; that was the time of His love. Praise the Lord! (“Adoption”)

 

It was Foreordained Who should Receive the Word of Life

Every event in the course of human affairs in all of history and in all nations, no matter how insignificant it may appear to us, has its exact place in God’s eternal plan. Loraine Boettner D.D. writes:

That Luther was as zealous for absolute predestination as was Calvin is shown in his commentary on Romans, where he wrote: “All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it; who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned.”

And Melanchthon, his close friend and fellow-laborer, says: “All things turn out according to divine predestination; not only the works we do outwardly, but even the thoughts we think inwardly”; and again, “There is no such thing as chance, or fortune; nor is there a readier way to gain the fear of God, and to put our whole trust in Him, than to be thoroughly versed in the doctrine of Predestination.”

“Order is heaven’s first law.” From the divine viewpoint there is unbroken order and progress from the first beginnings of the creation to the end of the world and the ushering in of the kingdom of heaven in all its glory. The divine purpose and plan is nowhere defeated nor interrupted; that which in many cases appears to us to be defeat is not really such but only appears to be, because our finite and imperfect nature does not permit us to see all the parts in the whole nor the whole in all its parts. If at one glance we could take in “the mighty spectacle of the natural world and the complex drama of human history,” we should see the world as one harmonious unit manifesting the glorious perfections of God. “Though the world seems to run at random,” says Bishop, “and affairs to be huddled together in blind confusion and rude disorder, yet, God sees and knows the concatenation of all causes and effects, and so governs them that He makes a perfect harmony out of all those seeming jarrings and discords. It is most necessary that we should have our hearts well established in the firm and unwavering belief of this truth, that whatever comes to pass, be it good or evil, we may look up to the hand and disposal of all, to God.

In respect of God, there is nothing neither casual nor contingent in the world. If a master should send a servant to a certain place and command him to stay there till such a time, and, presently after, should send another servant to the same place, the meeting of these two is wholly casual in respect to themselves, but ordained and foreseen by the master who sent them. They fall out unexpectedly as to us, but not so as to God. He foresees and He appoints all the vicissitudes of things.” (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

He is Faithful

As Christians, we have hope that we shall persevere to the end. The reasons we shall be found blameless in the end, are all found in our God. Charles H. Spurgeon writes on this topic:

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9 ESV)

We are variable as the wind, frail as a spider’s web, weak as water. No dependence can be placed upon our natural qualities, or our spiritual attainments; but God abideth faithful. He is faithful in His love; He knows no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He is faithful to His purpose; He doth not begin a work and then leave it undone. He is faithful to His relationships; as a Father He will not renounce His children, as a friend He will not deny His people, as a Creator He will not forsake the work of His own hands. He is faithful to His promises, and will never allow one of them to fail to a single believer. He is faithful to His covenant, which He has made with us in Christ Jesus, and ratified with the blood of His sacrifice. He is faithful to His Son, and will not allow His precious blood to be spilled in vain. He is faithful to His people to whom He has promised eternal life, and from whom He will not turn away.

This faithfulness of God is the foundation and cornerstone of our hope of final perseverance. The saints shall persevere in holiness, because God perseveres in grace. He perseveres to bless, and therefore believers persevere in being blessed. He continues to keep His people, and therefore they continue to keep His commandments. This is good solid ground to rest upon, and it is delightfully consistent with the title of this little book, “All of Grace.” Thus it is free favor and infinite mercy which ring in the dawn of salvation, and the same sweet bells sound melodiously through the whole day of grace. (All of Grace)

 

Danger

John Calvin:

“Men are undoubtedly more in danger from prosperity than from adversity. For when matters go smoothly, they flatter themselves, and are intoxicated by their success.”

The Apologetic Task

R.C. Sproul:

The apologetic task is difficult, complex, and never-ending. Yet it is the mandate of God to us. The responsibility is ours; its success is God’s.

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