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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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God is the Absolute Owner of All Things

The Reformed Doctrine of PredestinationLoraine Boettner D.D.:

 By virtue of the fact that God has created every thing that exists, He is the absolute Owner and final Disposer of all that He has made. He exerts not merely a general influence, but actually rules in the world, which He has created. The nations of the earth, in their insignificance, are as the small dust of the balance when compared with His greatness; and far sooner might the sun be stopped in his course than God be hindered in His work or in His will. Amid all the apparent defeats and inconsistencies of life, God actually moves on in undisturbed majesty. Even the sinful actions of men can occur only by His permission. And since he permits not unwillingly but willingly, all that comes to pass—including the actions and ultimate destiny of men—must be, in some sense, in accordance with what He has desired and purposed. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

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The Balance of the Universe

The Hubble Ultra Deep FieldScience and the Bible:

Dr. Paul Davies, noted author and professor of theoretical physics at Adelaide University:

“The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural ‘constants’ were off even slightly. You see,” Davies adds, “even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life – almost contrived – you might say a ‘put-up job’.”

The Christian Life and Perseverance

The Perseverance of the SaintTherefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:12-14 ESV)

It appears that the author of Hebrews was concerned that some of his readers were about to lose hope because they were fainting under God’s discipline. “Therefore” points to what he has just said about the need to endure God’s discipline. He is encouraging them to persevere in the Christian life. He tells them that in spite of fatigue or injuries to persevere in striving for peace and holiness.

Perseverance is a mark of the true believer. Those whom God saves; He keeps. Think about the following verses:

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 ESV)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30 ESV)

Do not misinterpret the doctrine taught in the verses above however; it is possible to make a profession of faith and even to exhibit some signs of new life without being born again. Keep in mind the words of Peter, “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11 ESV) If we are to persevere, we must learn to deal with problems in the Christian life. They are inevitable. If you give up, you need to consider if you are truly saved.

The Proverbs tell us, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” (Proverbs 4:25-27 ESV) We are to strive for peace and holiness. Paul writes: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18 ESV) In addition to its obvious meaning, I believe this statement recognizes that some people will refuse to be at peace with you. Also, you are never to compromise your obedience to God or your personal holiness. “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7 ESV)

Never despair of God’s discipline or the road ahead; for we serve a great God who cares for us and has promised: “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12 ESV) “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV)

Samuel at Gilgal

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