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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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Is God Just Doing the Best He Can?

The Reformed Doctrine of PredestinationLoraine Boettner D.D.:

[S]hall we not believe that God can convert a sinner when He pleases? Cannot the Almighty, the omnipotent Ruler of the universe, change the characters of the creatures He has made? He changed the water into wine at Cana, and converted Saul on the road to

Damascus. The leper said, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,” and at a word his leprosy was cleansed. God is as able to cleanse the soul as the body, and we believe that if He chose to do so He could raise up such a flood of Christian ministers, missionaries, and workers of various kinds that the world would be converted in a very short time. If He actually purposed to save all men, He could send hosts of angels to instruct them and to do supernatural works on the earth. He could Himself work marvelously on the heart of every person so that no one would be lost. Since evil exists only by His permission, He could, if He chose, blot it out of existence. His power in this latter respect was shown, for instance, in the work of the destroying angel who in one night slew all the first-born of the Egyptians (Exodus 12:29), and in another night slew 185,000 of the Assyrian army (2 Kings 19:35). It was shown when the earth opened and swallowed Korah and his rebellious allies (Numbers 16:31-33).

Ananias and Sapphira were smitten (Acts 5:1-11); Herod was smitten and died a horrible death (Acts 12:23). God has lost none of His power, and it is highly dishonoring to Him to suppose that He is struggling along with the human race doing the best He can but unable to accomplish His purposes. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

Government and Religion

Supreme Court Justice Joseph StoryJoseph Story:

It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitutes no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. The future experience of Christendom, and chiefly of the American states, must settle this problem, as yet new in the history of the world, abundant, as it has been, in experiments in the theory of government. (Commentaries on the Constitution — 1833)

The Christian Thinker

The ThinkerAnd so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9-10 ESV)

Knowing God and His Will is the calling of every Christian. It is the means of living a holy life. Yet, very few of us actually give the attention we should to the pursuit of the knowledge of God. Instead, Christians tend to rely on some ethereal feeling as a reliable indicator of God’s Will; thus neglecting the intellectual understanding provided by God’s Word.

In the verses above, Paul reminds the Colossians that he is always praying for them. The content of his prayers is that the Colossians would be “filled with the knowledge of his (God’s) will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding”. The Colossians response to the good news of Jesus Christ was not to be simply emotional, but to be received with the mind as well. Paul prays for the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God’s Will.

I think Paul is praying for the Colossian Christians to use their minds.

Paul’s prayer teaches us that training the mind adds maturity to our Christian faith. He does not mean to grow in knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Paul tells us that being filled with wisdom and understanding enables us to live in a manner worthy of Christ. We will then mature in holiness.

Therefore, we must pursue knowledge that conforms us to the image of Christ. This important knowledge can only be obtained by studying the Bible. We must discipline our minds by reading, studying, and thinking about the Word of God. Such knowledge, when applied, will enable us to bear fruit “in every good work”.

Christians are called in life to do many things that are pleasing to God. However, without a right understanding of God we will certainly miss the mark. God has called every Christian into relationship with Him and He desires us to grow in our knowledge of Him. This requires us to use our minds when we read the Scriptures, or listen to preaching and teaching. In Matthew, we find this command: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37 ESV) Those who love God, train their minds in the knowledge of Him. Let us endeavor to be thinking Christians.

Samuel at Gilgal

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