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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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Suffering and Sovereignty

R.C. Sproul:

“The suffering of the Christian or anyone else in this world is never ultimately an accident. All suffering is within the pale of divine sovereignty. All suffering comes within the broader context of the sovereignty of God.” (Reason to Believe: A Response to Common Objections to Christianity)

A False Life of Christ

The Bible and Forgeries:

Forgeries of the life of Christ continue to arise in relatively modern times. The Unknown Life of Christ, published in 1894, was written by a Russian named Nicolas Notovitch. He claimed that the basis of his book was from scrolls he had read in a Tibetan monastery. The document, he claimed, said that Jesus spent the years between thirteen and twenty-nine in India, Tibet, and Persia, before returning to Palestine. However, the monks at this Tibetan monastery denied ever seeing Notovitch or knowing anything about an ancient document about Christ. The original documents Notovitch claimed were the basis of his Unknown Life of Christ have never been produced. This piece of fiction has also contributed to many myths about the so-called “lost years of Jesus”.

To Know His Truth

How can there be anything more delightful than to know God’s Truth? Does it thrill you to know that God was made a man for our benefit? He suffered the punishment that was ours in order that through Him we might be blessed. John Calvin shares his thoughts with us on this:

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)

St. Paul exhorted Timothy to behave himself in his office; showing him to what honor God had advanced him, in that he had placed him to govern his house. He showed him also that the office itself was honorable; because the church upholdeth the truth of God in this world, and that there is nothing more precious, or more to be sought after, than to know God, and to worship and serve Him, and be certain of His truth, that we might thereby obtain salvation. All this is kept safe for us: and thus, so great a treasure is committed to our care by means of the church; according to the words of St. Paul. This truth is well worthy to be more highly esteemed than it is.

What a hidden thing is this, and how wonderful a matter; that God was manifest in the flesh, and became man! Does it not so far surpass our understanding, that when we are told of it, we are astonished? Yet not withstanding, we have a full and sufficient proof, that Jesus Christ being made man, and subject to death, is likewise the true God, who made the world and lives forever. Of this, His heavenly power bears us witness. Again, we have other proofs: to wit, He was preached unto the Gentiles; who before were banished from the kingdom of God: and that faith had its course throughout the whole world, which at that time was shut up among the Jews; and likewise Christ Jesus was lifted up on high, and entered into glory, and sits on the right hand of God the Father.

If men despise these things, their unthankfulness shall be condemned: for the very angels have hereby come to the knowledge of that which before they knew not of. For it pleased God to hide the means of our redemption from them, to the end that His goodness might be so much the more wonderful to all creatures: thus we see St. Paul’s meaning. He calleth the church of God, the keeper of his truth: he likewise showed that this truth is such a treasure, as ought to be highly esteemed by us. And why so? Let us mark the contents of the gospel; God abased Himself in such a manner, that He took upon Himself our flesh; so that we have become His brethren. Who is the Lord of glory that He should so far humble Himself as to be joined to us, and take upon Him the form of a servant, even to suffer the curse that was due to us? St. Paul comprehended all things whatsoever that Jesus Christ received in His person; to wit, that He was subject to all our infirmities, sin, only excepted.

It is true that there is no blemish in Him, but all pureness and perfection. Yet so it is, that He became weak as we are, that He might have compassion and help our feebleness; as it is set forth in the epistle to the Hebrews (4:15). He that had no sin suffered the punishment due to us; and was, as it were, accursed of God the Father, when He offered Himself a sacrifice: that through His means we might be blessed; and that His grace which was hidden from us, might be poured upon us. When we consider these things, have we not occasion to be astonished? (“The Mystery of Godliness”)

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