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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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CHEAP GRACE

Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Cheap grace allows the church to flirt with the world’s value system. It is the evidence of untransformed hearts and minds. This love of the world is not from God and blinds them to the love of God. (1 John 2:15-17 ESV) This is why Paul writes:

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NO MORE GRUMBLING!

And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. (Numbers 14:26-27 ESV)

Do you grumble when things are not going your way? I have met people who seem to always make grumbling the major topic of their conversation. Once I have had an earful of their complaints about any and everything, I tend to try to avoid too many future conversations with them. After all, grumbling is like a communicable disease. Perhaps, when this occurs, I am not responding as a Christian should. I have a long way to grow in Christ, however, God promised Israel that those who were grumbling (age 20 and older) would die in the wilderness and never enter the promised land. (Numbers 14:28-30)

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CONSIDERING SIN

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 ESV)

Consider sin. It twists and disfigures the soul. The image man once reflected of God is now shattered by sin. It disfigures man and destroys the image of God as though it were despised. Every sin flies in the face of God’s wisdom. All sin is a declaration of war against God.

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A LIFESTYLE OF FORGIVENESS

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 ESV)

unforgivenessUnforgiveness can affect every facet of your personal life. It impacts the mind and spirit, and creates tension and anxiety. Most importantly, unforgiveness is the disobedience of God’s Word. (Matthew 6:15 ESV)

Unforgiveness may lock the mind in an ongoing stressful state. (“The Negative Effects of Unforgiveness on Mental Health”, Theravive April 28, 2014) Researchers report that people who tend to be unforgiving reported higher rates of heart disease, elevated blood pressure, stomach ulcers, arthritis, back problems, headaches, and chronic pain than those who reported they do not have this characteristic. (Feldman and Kravetz, “Grudge Match: Can Unforgiveness Be Bad For Our Health?Psychology Today 2013)

Unforgiveness is not a desirable characteristic for either the physical or spiritually healthy life. Jesus said:

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SECRET SINS

Thomas Brooks:

You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. (Psalm 90:8 ESV)

Thomas BrooksGod is privy to your most secret sins! His eye is as much upon secret sins, as it is upon open sins. God has an eye upon our inmost evils. He sees all that is done in the dark. As we are never out of the reach of God’s hand, so we are never from under the view of God’s eye.

Oh! what dreadful atheism is bound up in that man’s heart, who is more afraid of the eye of his father, his neighbor, his child — than he is of the eye and presence of the eternal God! Those who wallow in secret sins, act as if there were:

  • no God to behold them,
  • nor conscience to accuse them,
  • nor judgment-day to arraign them,
  • nor justice to condemn them,
  • nor Hell to torment them!

All men’s secret sins are printed in Heaven, and God will at last read them aloud in the ears of all the world! Though they may escape the eyes of men — yet they shall never escape the judgment of God!

For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:14 ESV)

MADNESS IN THE LIGHT OF GOD

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:21-23 ESV)

Samuel A CainThe natural man is mad. This madness is always within him. His emotions and his thoughts are inclined by his hatred of God. The Bible tells us that men’s hearts are completely wicked and full of self-deception. (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV) His thoughts are continuously sinful. Yet, life is fleeting and time moves all too hastily. We are here for a moment and then like a vapor of mist disappear awaiting the Great Day of Judgement.

It is madness to rebel against God. It is madness to trade God’s blessings for the temporary pleasures of this world. Nevertheless, the world calls Christians mad. There are many who say that it is the Cross of Christ that is madness; the atonement through His blood is madness; grace is madness; heaven and hell are madness; and even that belief in God is madness. They are futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts are darkened. Claiming to be wise, they have become the greatest fools. (Romans 1:21-23 ESV) Continue reading

COSMIC TREASON

R. C. SproulR.C. Sproul:

“Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, “God, Your law is not good. My judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do.” (The Holiness of God)

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