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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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ON REFORMATION DAY

Samuel A CainOn October 31, 1517, a young monk in Wittenberg, Germany posted 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church. His intention was to begin a discussion with other scholars in the Catholic Church over the abuse of Scriptures by the church. Little did Luther know that God had chosen him to hammer out the beginnings of what came to be known as the Reformation. Scripture (Sola Scriptura), not tradition, was to be lifted up once again as the true and only word of salvation provided by God.

As the Reformation spread over Europe, the Protestant reformers summarized their basic theological principles into five Latin phrases. These phrases or slogans are known as the Five Solas. They stand in direct contrast to some of the medieval teachings of the Catholic Church. The Five Solas are: “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture alone); “Sola Gratia” (Grace Alone); “Sola Fide” (Faith Alone); “Solus Christus” (Christ Alone); and “Soli Deo Gloria” (To God Alone Be Glory).

“Sola Scriptura” (Scripture alone) means that all the truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught in Scripture. Continue reading

RIGHTEOUSNESS

Samuel A CainFor our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)

If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (1 John 2:29 ESV)

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3 ESV)

God is righteous, but absolute righteousness is not possible for human beings. Men are not pronounced righteous based on personal virtue, but are declared righteous by grace through Jesus Christ. These persons produce the fruit of righteousness because God is working in them. Living a righteous life is not easy for anyone. The righteous life requires discipline and humble obedience to God. With determination the heart can be trained in righteousness. In time, the Christian will find that more of his attitudes and actions are guided by righteousness as he becomes more like Jesus.

The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient and infallible rule of saving knowledge, faith, and duty. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardons our sins and receives us as righteous in His sight. Whom God effectually calls, He freely justifies by pardoning sins and by accounting them [Elect] as righteous. This is accomplished by imputing Christ’s active obedience to the law and His passive submission in death to the elect. Through faith in Christ, the righteousness of Christ is given to us. This is known as “imputed” righteousness. When we place our faith in Jesus, God credits the righteousness of Christ to our account so that we become perfect in His sight. “For our sake he made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV) Continue reading

DO YOU STAND IN JUDGMENT UPON SCRIPTURE?

John StottJohn Stott:

“We need to repent of the haughty way in which we sometimes stand in judgment upon Scripture and must learn to sit humbly under its judgments instead. If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it only an echo of our own thoughts and never the thunder-clap of God’s, then indeed he will not speak to us and we shall only be confirmed in our own prejudices. We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.” (Authentic Christianity)

THE FOOL

Samuel A CainA fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (Proverbs 18:2 ESV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

All human beings tend to be self-centered. The more self-centered a man becomes, the more he forgets God and disobeys Him. Living without God, he is guided by his own lust, passion, and self-will. A man may have many advantages and yet his foolishness leads him to failure. A man may hear the call of God to the ministry, or to a professional life in business, but he plays the fool and spoils his life.

Do you want fulfillment in this life? A life of fulfillment requires your surrender to God and a life of obedience to Him. There is no wisdom in life apart from these things. Continue reading

SCHOOLS

Martin Luther by Ron AdairMartin Luther:

I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount.

PREACHING SCRIPTURE

John PiperJohn Piper:

“All Christian preaching should be the exposition and application of biblical texts. Our authority as preachers sent by God rises and falls with our manifest allegiance to the text of Scripture.”

 

ELECTION

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

[Q] Why preach upon so profound a doctrine as election?

[A] I answer, because it is in God’s word, and whatever is in the Word of God is to be preached.

[Q] But some truths ought to be kept back from the people, you will say, they should make an ill use thereof.

[A] That is Popish doctrine, it was upon that very theory that the priests kept back the Bible from the people, they did not give it to them lest they should misuse it.

[Q] But are not some doctrines dangerous?

[A] Not if they are true and rightly handled. Truth is never dangerous, it is error and reticence that are fraught with peril.

[Q] But do not men abuse the doctrine of grace?

[A] I grant you that they do; but if we destroyed everything that men misuse, we should have nothing left. Are there to be no ropes because some fools will hang themselves? And, must cutlery be discarded and denounced, because there are some who will use dangerous weapons for the destruction of their adversaries? Decidedly not. Besides all this, remember that men do read the Scriptures and think about these doctrines, and therefore often make mistakes about them; who then shall set them right if we, who preach the Word, hold our tongues about the matter? (“Election: Its Defenses and Evidences”)

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