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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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Who Serves Who?

The Pursuit of HolinessJerry Bridges:

We have to take control of our bodies, and make them our servants instead of our masters. (The Pursuit of Holiness, p. 111)

The False Infancy Gospel of James

Infancy Gospel of JamesFalse Gospels:

The Infancy Gospel of James is believed by scholars to have been written in the 2nd century. Approximately one hundred thirty ancient manuscripts have survived. The earliest copy dates to the 4th century. The document describes the birth and life of Mary, her pregnancy, and the birth of Jesus.

The Infancy Gospel of James claims to have been authored by James the Just. Scholars have observed, however, that the author of the document seems to know little or nothing about the Jewish customs of the 1st century. The real James would certainly have been familiar with these customs. The document was condemned by the earliest Orthodox Church Fathers.

This Infancy Gospel contains fictional details of the legends that surrounded Jesus. The Infancy Gospel of James includes narratives that describe Mary as being conceived without sexual intercourse between her parents. Moreover, Mary spends most of her childhood in the Temple of Jerusalem. Mary moves in with Joseph, but not as his wife, but as a virgin in his house. Joseph is a widower with several sons. Mary becomes pregnant, and both she and Joseph must drink poison to prove their innocence. The document clearly contains mythological embellishments and historical inaccuracies.

Jesus and the Healing of the Soul

Charles SpurgeonAll who obey the Word of Jesus Christ have been made new creatures by His power and are living witnesses to the reality that Christ can heal the soul. Charles H. Spurgeon writes:

The Lord Jesus is our Savior; but I do not see how he can be a Savior unless he can be approached by those who need to be saved. The priest and the Levite passed by on the other side when the bleeding man lay on the road to Jericho; they were not saviors, therefore, and could not be, but he was the savior who came where the man was, stooped over him, and took wine and oil and poured them into the gaping fissures of his wounds, and lifted him up with tender love and set him on his own beast, and led him to the inn. He was the true savoir; and, O sinner, Jesus Christ will come just where you are, and your wounds of sin, even though they are putrid, will not drive him away from you. His love shall overcome the nauseating offensiveness of your iniquity, for he is able and willing to save those who are like you. . . .

Some of us have ourselves been healed, and therefore speak from assured experience. One man I know was secretly bowed down with despondency and depression of an unusual sort – his life had been spent at the very gates of hell because of a great sorrow of heart when he was a youth; yet, in a moment, he was lifted into perfect peace by simply looking to him who was crucified upon the cross. That one form of healing is typical of others; for all other evils are overcome in the same manner. Jesus can heal you of your pride; he can deliver you from anger; he can cure you of sluggishness; he can purge you from envy, from lasciviousness, from malice, from gluttony, from every form of spiritual malady. And this he can do, not by the torturing process of penance, or the exhausting labors of superstitious performance, or the fiery ordeals of suffering; but the method is simply a word from him, and a look from you, and all is done. You have only to trust in Jesus and you are saved; made a new creature in an instant; set on your feet again to start a new life with a new power within you which shall conquer sin. We who bear this testimony claim to be believed. We are not liars. Not even for God’s honor would we palm a pious fraud upon you. We have felt in ourselves the healing power of Christ. We have seen it, and see it every day, in the cases of others, in persons of all ranks, and of all ages. (Advice for Seekers)

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