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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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A LITTLE OF CHRIST, PLEASE!

D. A. Carson:

D. A. CarsonSome Christians want enough of Christ to be identified with him but not enough to be seriously inconvenienced; they genuinely cling to basic Christian orthodoxy but do not want to engage in serious Bible study; they value moral probity, especially of the public sort, but do not engage in war against inner corruptions; they fret over the quality of the preacher’s sermon but do not worry much over the quality of their own prayer life. Such Christians are content with mediocrity. (A Call To Spiritual Reformation,121)

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CRITICISM

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

“Be advised to consider what others say of you and improve it to this end, to know whether you do not live in some way of sin…And though the imputation may seem to us to be very groundless and we think that they, in charging us so, are influenced by no good spirit; yet if we act prudently, we shall take so much notice of it as to make an occasion of examining ourselves … it is most imprudent as well as most unchristian, to take it amiss, and resent it, when we are thus told of our faults: we should rather rejoice in it, that we are shown our spots … we should improve what our enemies say of us. If they from an ill spirit reproach and revile us to our faces, we should consider it, so far as to reflect inward upon ourselves and inquire whether it not be so, as they charge us … they are likely to fix on real faults, they are likely to fall upon us where we are weakest and most defective.” (“The Necessity of Self Examination”)

HERE IS THIS SIN

philpotJ. C. Philpot:

Here is this sin,
Save me from it!
Here is this snare,
Break it to pieces!
Here is this lust,
Lord, subdue it!
Here is this temptation,
Deliver me out of it!
Here is my proud heart,
Lord, humble it!
Here is my unbelieving heart,
Take it away and give me faith—give me submission to Your mind and will. Take me as I am with all my sin and shame and work in me everything well pleasing in Your sight!

DRAWING NEAR TO GOD

J.C.-RyleJ. C. Ryle:

I would offer counsel, first, to all who are anxious and troubled respecting their soul’s salvation, and yet know not what to do. Reader, if you are such a person, I charge you and entreat you, I beseech you and invite you, to come into the way of which I have been speaking in this tract. I beseech you to come to God by the old and tried way,–the way of faith in Jesus Christ. Draw near to God, pleading the name of Jesus. Begin this very day to cry mightily unto God, in the name of Jesus, on behalf of your soul. Say not you have anything to plead for yourself. You have nothing to plead. Your life, your thoughts, your ways, all alike condemn you. Say nothing about yourself but this,–that you are a sinner, a great sinner, a guilty sinner, a condemned sinner; but because you are a sinner, you turn to God. Come unto Him in the name of Jesus, saying, you have heard that through Jesus a sinner may come near Him. Tell Him that you are a sinner, a great sinner, and an unworthy one. But tell Him that you come in the faith of His promises, in the confidence of His own Bible invitation; and in the name of Jesus, and for the sake of Jesus, and on account of Jesus, you ask to be received, heard, pardoned, forgiven, and accepted. Tell Him that you wish to have your name–even that name of yours, connected hitherto with worldliness, thoughtlessness, carelessness, and sin added to the list of God’s dear children. (“Able to Save“)

DO NOT AVOID THE TOPIC OF SIN

paulwasherPaul Washer:

As stewards of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we do no service to men by making light of sin, skirting around the issue, or avoiding it altogether. Men have only one problem: they are under the wrath of God because of their sin. To deny this is to deny one of the most foundational doctrines of Christianity. It is not unloving to tell men that they are sinners, but it is the grossest form of immorality not to tell them! In fact, God declares that their blood will be on our hands if we do not warn them of their sin and the coming judgment. To seek to preach the gospel without making sin an issue is like trying to heal the brokenness of people superficially, saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.”

Holiness by Grace

HolinessByGraceBryan Chapell:

If we have become bogged down in a guilty depression, have begun to equate religious piety with endless despondency over our shame, or have identified holiness with unrelenting sadness, then we have not grasped the grace that marks the gospel. Grace distinguishes its possessors by their joy. The good news proclaimed in the Bible neither slights the seriousness of sin nor shades the wonders of the pardon and power God provides his people. This full gospel message must also characterize the attitudes of God’s people, because those with whom we share Christ’s living water will be affected by the springs from which we drink. If we are guilt-driven, then so will be our spouses, children, and coworkers. If we pretend to be guiltless, then we will encourage shameless behavior. However, if we exhibit joyful gratitude for the grace of God that pardons our guilt, then we will reproduce grateful spouses, children, and fellow believers who are zealous for God’s purposes. (Holiness by Grace)

Defining Sin

The Discipline of GraceJerry Bridges:

A large part of our problem as evangelical believers is that we have defined sin in its more obvious forms — forms of which we are not guilty. We think of sin in terms of sexual immorality, drunkenness, lying, cheating, stealing, and murder. And in more recent years we’ve tended to focus on the societal sins of abortion and homosexuality. We see the ever-increasing pervasiveness of these more flagrant sins, and we see ourselves looking good by comparison.

Certainly these more gross sins of society are deep cause for concern, and I am grateful for the prophetic voices God has raised up to expose these moral cancers in our society. But we must not become so preoccupied with the sins of modern-day culture that we ignore the needs in our own lives. (The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness)

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