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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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CONFIDENT CHRISTIANITY

Confidence in GodThe LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3 ESV)

Do you ever find yourself wishing you had as much confidence as a fellow Christian who is very bold in his witness for Christ? What do you think makes some Christians more confident in prayer than others? How is it that some Christians face the problems of life so calmly?

We find this clue in Proverbs, “For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” (Proverbs 3:26 ESV) God would have us manifest courage. We are always in the presence of God and ought to display presence of mind. Serenity under the sudden rush of unexpected evils is a gift of divine love. Therefore, Christians should show quietness in spirit. Those who walk with God shall not be deceived by Satan’s tricks. Let the LORD be your confidence.

Paul writes, “This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” (Ephesians 3:11-12 ESV) We have the courage of confident access to God. Since we belong to Christ and He is ours, then we have free and unrestricted access to the Father. Therefore, we should pray boldly and rest confidently in God.

I am not talking about self-confidence, but confidence in God. All things are possible with God. The outcome of our efforts is in His hands. The author of Hebrews reminds us, “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” (Hebrews 10:35 ESV)

The Apostle John writes, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” (1 John 2:28 ESV) The phrase “abide in him” pictures an intimate, close relationship, and not just a superficial acquaintance. Such a relationship inspires confidence. Once we abide in Him, we have the confidence to produce good fruit in our lives. (John 15:4 ESV)

Samuel at Gilgal

True Grace has Various Degrees

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

Though true grace has various degrees, and there are some that are but babes in Christ, in whom the exercise of the inclination and will, towards divine and heavenly things, is comparatively weak; yet everyone that has the power of godliness in his heart, has his inclinations and heart exercised towards God and divine things, with such strength and vigor that these holy exercises do prevail in him above all carnal or natural affections, and are effectual to overcome them: for every true disciple of Christ “loves him above father or mother, wife and children, brethren and sisters, houses and lands: yea, than his own life.”

All Truth

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

All truth is given by revelation, either general or special, and it must be received by reason. Reason is the God-given means for discovering the truth that God discloses, whether in his world or his Word. While God wants to reach the heart with truth, he does not bypass the mind.

God Loves His Saints

Jonathan EdwardsThe glory of God is not subject to change. The love of God, to those who see his face, will never fail. He loves his saints with an everlasting love. Jonathan Edwards writes:

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

How blessed therefore are they that do see God, who are come to this exhaustless fountain! They have obtained that delight which gives full satisfaction. Having come to this pleasure, they neither do nor can desire any more. They can sit down fully contented, and take up with this enjoyment forever and ever, and desire no change. After they have had the pleasure of beholding the face of God millions of ages, it will not grow a dull story. The relish of this delight will be as exquisite as ever, there is enough still for the utmost employment of every faculty.

This delight in the vision of God hath an unfailing foundation. God made man to endure forever, and therefore that which is man’s true blessedness, we may conclude has a sure and lasting foundation. As to worldly enjoyments, their foundation is a sandy one that is continually wearing away, and certainly will at last let the building fall. If we take pleasure in riches, riches in a little while will be gone. If we take pleasure in gratifying our senses, those objects whence we draw our gratifications will perish with the using, and our senses themselves also will be gone, the organs will be worn out, Jonathan Edwardsand our whole outward form will turn to dust. If we take pleasure in union with our earthly friends, that union must be broken. The bonds are not durable, but will soon wear asunder.

But he who has the immediate intellectual vision of God’s glory and love, and rejoices in that, has his happiness built upon an everlasting rock. Isa. 26:4, “Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” In the Hebrew it is, “in the Lord Jehovah is the Rock of ages.” (“The Pure in Heart Blessed”)

Dragging Up Old Sins

The Gospel for Real LifeJerry Bridges:

We tend to drag up our old sins, that we tend to live under a vague sense of guilt…we are not nearly as vigorous in appropriating God’s forgiveness as He is in extending it. Consequently, instead of living in the sunshine of God’s forgiveness through Christ, we tend to live under an overcast sky of guilt most of the time. (The Gospel for Real Life, p. 67)

 

Let No One Grieve

John ChrysostomJohn Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople:

Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it.

Bear Up Against All Opposition

William GurnallIf you wish to courageously bear up against all opposition on your march to heaven, raise your spirit with the noble words of the Bible. Such reading will make your principles well fixed, and prevent your heart from becoming unstable. William Gurnall writes:

The Christian is to walk singularly, not after the world’s guise, Rom. 12:2. We are commanded not to be conformed to this world, that is, not to accommodate ourselves to the corrupt customs of the world. The Christian must not be of such a complying nature as to cut the coat of his profession according to the fashion of the times, or the humor of the company he falls into… No, the Christian must stand fixed to his principles, and not change his habit; but freely show what countryman he is by his holy constancy in the truth. Now what odium, what snares, and what dangers doth this singularity expose the Christian to? Some will hoot and mock him, as one in a Spanish fashion would be laughed at in your streets. Thus Michal flouted David. Indeed, the world counts the Christian for his singularity of life the only fool; which I have thought gave the first occasion to that nickname, whereby men commonly express a silly man or a fool. Such a one, say they, is a mere Abraham; that is, in the world’s account, a fool. But why an Abraham? Because Abraham did that which carnal reason, the world’s idol, laugh’s at as mere folly; he left a present estate in his father’s house to go he knew not whither, to receive an inheritance he knew not when. And truly such fools all the saints are branded for by the wise world. . . .

Shame is that which proud nature most disdains, to avoid which many durst not ‘confess Christ openly,’ John 7:13. Many lose heaven because they are ashamed to go in a fool’s coat thither. Again, as some will mock, so others will persecute to death, merely for this nonconformity in the Christian’s principles and practices to them. This was the trap laid for the three children; they must dance before Nebuchadnezzar‘s pipe, or burn. This was the plot laid to ensnare Daniel, who walked so unblameably, that his very enemies gave him this testimony, that he had no fault but his singularity in his religion, Dan. 6:5. It is a great honor to a Christian, yea, to religion itself, when all their enemies can say is, they are precise, and will not do as we do. Now in such a case as this, when the Christian must turn or burn, leave praying, or become a prey to the cruel teeth of bloody men; how many politic retreats and self-preserving distinctions would a cowardly unresolved heart invent? The Christian that hath so great opposition had need be well locked into the saddle of his profession, or else he will soon be dismounted. (The Whole Armour of God)

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