• OVER 5,000 ARTICLES AND QUOTES PUBLISHED!
  • 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.

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,392,076 Visits
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,274 other followers

  • January 2021
    M T W T F S S
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031
  • Recommended Reading

FREE CHOICE

Martin Luther:

Martin Luther“If we are unwilling to let this term go altogether – though that would be the safest and most God-fearing thing to do – let us at least teach men to use it honestly, so that free choice is allowed to man only with respect to what is beneath him and not what is above him. That is to say, a man should know that with regard to his faculties and possessions he has the right to use, to do, or to leave undone, according to his own free choice, though even this is controlled by the free choice of God alone, who acts in whatever way he pleases. On the other hand in relation to God, or in matters pertaining to salvation or damnation, a man has no free choice, but is a captive, subject and slave either of the will of God or the will of Satan.” (The Bondage of the Will)

WE ARE NOT NOW WHAT WE SHALL BE

Martin LutherMartin Luther:

This life is not godliness, but growth in godliness; not health, but healing; not being, but becoming; not rest, but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way; the process is not yet finished, but it has begun; this is not the goal, but it is road; at present all does not gleam and glitter, but everything is being purified. (A Defense and Explanation of All Articles, AE 32:24)

DO YOU DESIRE TO LIVE ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD?

Martin LutherMartin Luther:

You may as well quit reading and hearing the Word of God, and give it to the devil, if you do not desire to live according to it.

MARTIN LUTHER ON FAITH

Martin Luther by Ron AdairMartin Luther:

Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. “Faith is not enough,” they say, “You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.” They think that, when you hear the gospel, you start working, creating by your own strength a thankful heart which says, “I believe.” That is what they think true faith is. But, because this is a human idea, a dream, the heart never learns anything from it, so it does nothing and reform does not come from this `faith,’ either.

Instead, faith is God’s work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Continue reading

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

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.

Shall We Know One Another in Heaven?

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

Some have asked whether we shall know one another in heaven? Surely, our knowledge will not be diminished, but increased. The judgement of Luther and Anselm, and many other divines is, that we shall know one another; yea, the saints of all ages, whose faces we never saw; and, when we shall see the saints in glory without their infirmities of pride and passion, it will be a glorious sight.

Send Me No Visions

Martin LutherMartin Luther:

I have made a covenant with my God that He send me neither visions, dreams, nor even angels. I am well satisfied with the gift of the Holy Scriptures, which give me abundant instruction and all that I need to know both for this life and for the life which is to come. Martin Luther

Luther: Reading through the Bible

Martin Luther Nailing His 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Door October 31, 1517Martin Luther:

For some years now, I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant.

Jump-Starting the Day

Jump-Starting the DayLet me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8 ESV)

How do you jump-start your day? Is it with a cup of coffee? Personally, I prefer a Coke. I suppose it is not the healthiest of nutritional habits, but for many caffeine is the preferred means of physically jump-starting the day. For others it may be jogging or some other form of exercise. Human beings, however, are both flesh and spirit. There is a spiritual side to man that must be nourished for each new day as well. I believe it is the more important of the two.

The prophet Jeremiah speaks eloquently of the potential mercies of God awaiting us each day: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Martin Luther recognized the potential of prayer for each new day, when he said, “I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.” E. M. Bounds tells us, “The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees.” Henry Ward Beecher writes, “In the morning, prayer is the key that opens to us the treasures of God’s mercies and blessings …”

The Puritans had a wonderful sense of the gift of each new day and they relied upon God for the spiritual mercies to make it fruitful. Below is a prayer that exemplifies this attitude from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett:

Compassionate Lord, Thy mercies have brought me to the dawn of another day. Vain will be its gift unless I grow in grace, increase in knowledge, ripen for spiritual harvest. Let me this day know Thee as Thou art, love Thee supremely, serve Thee wholly, admire Thee fully. Through grace let my will respond to Thee, knowing that power to obey is not in me, but that Thy free love alone enables me to serve Thee. Here then is my empty heart, overflow it with Thy choicest gifts; here is my blind understanding, chase away its mists of ignorance.

O ever watchful Shepherd, lead, guide, tend me this day; without Thy restraining rod I err and stray. Hedge up my path lest I wander into unwholesome pleasure, and drink its poisonous streams; direct my feet that I be not entangled in Satan’s secret snares, nor fall into his hidden traps. Defend me from assailing foes, from evil circumstances, from myself. My adversaries are part and parcel of my nature; they cling to me as my very skin; I cannot escape their contact. In my rising up and sitting down they barnacle me; they entice with constant baits; my enemy is within the citadel. Come with almighty power and cast him out, pierce him to death, and abolish in me every particle of carnal life this day.

I have noticed that when my prayer life decreases, chaos seems to increase. The power of prayer has a tremendous effect on one’s life. Do not allow what you have to do on a given day to overshadow your time in prayer. Prayer is the best way to jump-start your day.

Samuel at Gilgal

Faith

Martin LutherMartin Luther:

“Faith is the ‘yes’ of the heart, a conviction on which one stakes one’s life.”

The Bible is Alive

Martin LutherMartin Luther:

“The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.”

The Two Dimensions of the Christian Life

Martin Luther by Ron AdairMartin Luther:

You have often heard me say that the Christian life has two dimensions: the first is faith, and the second is good works. A believer should live a devout life and always do what is right. But the first dimension of the Christian life—faith—is more essential. The second dimension—good works—is never as valuable as faith. People of the world, however, adore good works. They regard them to be far higher than faith.

Good works have always been valued more highly than faith. Of course, it’s true that we should do good works and respect the importance of them. But we should be careful that we don’t elevate good works to such an extent that faith and Christ become secondary. If we esteem them too highly, good works can become the greatest idolatry. This has occurred both inside and outside of Christianity. Some people value good works so much that they overlook faith in Christ. They preach about and praise their own works instead of God’s works.

Faith should be first. After faith is preached, then we should teach good works. It is faith—without good works and prior to good works—that takes us to heaven. We come to God through faith alone.

Monks and Sin

Martin Luther Nailing His 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Door October 31, 1517Martin Luther:

When I was a monk, I didn’t accomplish anything through fasting and prayer. This is because neither I nor any of the other monks acknowledged our sin and lack of reverence for God. We didn’t understand original sin, and we didn’t realize that unbelief is also sin. We believed and taught that no matter what people do, they can never be certain of God’s kindness and mercy. As a result, the more I ran after and looked for Christ, the more he eluded me.

When I realized that it was only through God’s grace that I would be enlightened and receive eternal life, I worked diligently to understand what Paul said in Romans 1:17—a righteousness from God is revealed in the gospel. I searched for a long time and tried to understand it again and again. But the Latin words for “a righteousness from God” were in my way. God’s righteousness is usually defined as the characteristic by which he is sinless and condemns the sinner. All the teachers except Augustine interpreted God’s righteousness as God’s anger. So every time I read it, I wished that God had never revealed the gospel. Who could love a God who is angry and who judges and condemns us?

Finally, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I took a closer look at what the prophet Habakkuk said: “The righteous will live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). From this, I concluded that life must come from faith. I therefore took the abstract to the concrete level, as we say in school. I related the concept of righteousness to a person becoming righteous. In other words, a person becomes righteous by faith. That opened the whole Bible—even heaven itself—to me!

The Son of God

Martin LutherMartin Luther:

The Son of God did not want to be seen and found in heaven. Therefore, he descended from heaven into this humility and came to us in our flesh, laid himself into the womb of his mother and into the manger and went on to the cross. This was the ladder that he placed on earth so that we might ascend to God on it. This is the way you must take.

%d bloggers like this: