• 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

    • 1,394,811 Visits
  • Recent Posts

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

    Join 1,272 other followers

  • September 2021
    M T W T F S S
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    27282930  
  • Recommended Reading

IMMEASURABLE BLESSINGS

3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV)

blessings

I believe it is impossible for Christians to find themselves in such appalling circumstances – where the promises of God hold no encouragement to those who love God and obey Him. According to the verses above, God’s power gives everything needed for life and godliness. Christians are the beneficiaries of immeasurable blessings when they grow in the knowledge of and obedience to God. Through Jesus Christ, these precious and very great promises are given in order that the elect may participate in the divine nature and obtain holiness.

However many blessings we expect from God, His infinite liberality will always exceed all our wishes and our thoughts. (John Calvin)

Continue reading

Every Event that Comes to Pass

Loraine Boettner D.D.:

In a very illuminating article on “Predestination,” Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield, who in the opinion of the present writer has emerged as the outstanding theologian since John Calvin, tells us that the writers of Scripture saw the divine plan as “broad enough to embrace the whole B. B. Warfielduniverse of things, and minute enough to concern itself with the smallest details, and actualizing itself with inevitable certainty in every event that comes to pass.” “In the infinite wisdom of the Lord of all the earth, each event falls with exact precision into its proper place in this unfolding of His eternal plan; nothing, however small, however strange, occurs without His ordering, or without its peculiar fitness for its place in the working out of His purposes; and the end of all shall be the manifestation of His glory, and accumulation of His praise. This is the Old Testament (as well as the New Testament) philosophy of the universe; a world-view which attains concrete unity in an absolute decree, or purpose, or plan of which all that comes to pass is the development in time.” (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

Absolved Only Through the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ

Quoting John Calvin

[I]n order to have an abiding place in the church, we need the Lord Jesus Christ as our foundation. There are many who claim to be children of God who have never been born again through that good seed which enlightens, and brings acceptance with God, who then acknowledges us as his children. We must hold fast to the pure doctrine of the gospel if we desire to be truly united to the Lord Jesus Christ. He, as our Head and our Mediator, unites us to God the Father. We have already spoken about the reason why Paul mentions both the servile and the free offspring. He tells us that those who seek justification through their own good deeds are severing themselves from the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. For they are binding themselves to perform that which is impossible, that is, to satisfy God by keeping his commandments. Whereas, we are so full of weaknesses that we cannot possibly fulfill the least article of the law, let alone reach the perfection which the law requires. This is why Paul concludes that we must maintain the liberty that was purchased for us by our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Knowledge Of God And Of Ourselves

From the desk of John Calvin:

Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone. In the second place, those blessings which unceasingly distil to us from heaven, are like streams conducting us to the fountain. Here, again, the infinitude of good which resides in God becomes more apparent from our poverty. In particular, the miserable ruin into which the revolt of the first man has plunged us, compels us to turn our eyes upwards; not only that while hungry and famishing we may thence ask what we want, but being aroused by fear may learn humility. For as there exists in man something like a world of misery, and ever since we were stript of the divine attire our naked shame discloses an immense series of disgraceful properties every man, being stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness, in this way necessarily obtains at least some knowledge of God. Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us, (see Calvin on John 4: 10,) that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him. (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Chapter 1, Section 1)

Calvinism

Charles Spurgeon

Quoting Charles Spurgeon:

The doctrines of original sin, election, and effectual calling, final perseverance, and all those great truths which are called Calvinism – though Calvin was not the author of them, but simply an able writer and preacher upon the subject – are, I believe, the essential doctrines of the gospel that is in Jesus Christ. Now, I do not ask you whether you believe all this – it is possible you may not; but I believe you will before you enter heaven.

The Works God Requires

If we were not fallen in our nature, our discernment would be sharper: we should have skill to discern the works which God has commanded us to do in God’s pure service. The good works spoken of by St. Paul require us to lay aside all the inventions of men, and simply follow the instructions contained in the Word of God. There is no other rule than that which is given by Him; which is such as He will accept, when on the last day, He alone shall be the judge of all mankind. The following article is by John Calvin:

Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him: being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (Titus 1:15-16)

Men have not become so beastly, as to have no understanding that there is a God who created them. But this knowledge, if they do not submit to His requirements, serves as a condemnation to them: because their eyes are blindfolded by Satan; insomuch, that although the gospel may be preached to them, they do not understand it; in this situation we see many at the present day. How many there are in the world that have been taught by the doctrine of the gospel, and yet continue in brutish ignorance!

This happens because Satan hath so prepossessed the minds of men with wicked affections that although the light may shine ever so bright, they still remain blind, and see nothing at all. Let us learn, then, that the true knowledge of God is of such a nature that it shows itself, and yields fruit through our whole life. Therefore to know God, as St. Paul said to the Corinthians, we must be transformed into His image. For if we pretend to know Him, and in the meantime our life be loose and wicked, it needs no witness to prove us liars; our own life bears sufficient record that we are mockers and falsifiers, and that we abuse the name of God.

St. Paul saith in another place, if ye know Jesus Christ, ye must put off the old man: as if he should say, we cannot declare that we know Jesus Christ, only by acknowledging Him for our head, and by His receiving us as His members; which cannot be done until we have cast off the old man, and become new creatures. The world hath at all times abused God’s name wickedly, as it doth still at this day; therefore, let us have an eye to the true knowledge of the Word of God, whereof St. Paul speaketh.

Finally, let us not put our own works into the balance, and say they are good, and that we think well of them; but let us understand that the good works are those which God hath commanded in His law and that all we can do beside these, are nothing. Therefore, let us learn to shape our lives according to what God hath commanded: to put our trust in Him, to call upon Him, to give Him thanks, to bear patiently whatsoever it pleases Him to send us; to deal uprightly with our neighbors, and to live honestly before all men. These are the works which God requires at our hands. . . .

Now let us fall down before the face of our good God, acknowledging our faults, praying Him to make us perceive them more clearly: and to give us such trust in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that we may come to Him and be assured of the forgiveness of our sins; and that He will make us partakers of sound faith, whereby all our filthiness may be washed away. (“The Word our Only Rule”)

What Can A Dead Man Do To Attain life?

John Calvin

From the desk of John Calvin:

Scripture everywhere proclaims that God finds nothing in man to arouse him to do good to him but that he comes first to man in his free generosity. For what can a dead man do to attain life? Yet when he illumines us with knowledge of himself, he is said to revive us from death (John 5:25), to make us a new creature. (2Cor. 5:17) (Institutes, 3, 14, 5)

Happiness

John Calvin

From the writings of John Calvin:

[T]he happiness promised us in Christ does not consist in outward advantages–such as leading a joyous and peaceful life, having rich possessions, being safe from all harm, and abounding with delights such as the flesh commonly longs after. No, our happiness belongs to the heavenly life. (Institutes, 2, 15, 4)

We Owe Everything To God

Quoting John Calvin:

For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by His fatherly care, that He is the Author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond Him–they will never yield Him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in Him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to Him. (Institutes, 1, 2, 1)

Traditions And God’s Word

John Calvin

How many people are there in this world who have continued to sit at the feet of ignorance when the Word of God was close at hand? Satan has so captured the minds of men with sinful lusts that they have become blind to the Gospel. They have replaced God’s Word with the traditions of men and have ignored the true and living God. Therefore, they have created and worshiped idols and traditions which continuously spring from the darkened mind. The following is an excerpt from a sermon of John Calvin:

Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him: being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (Titus 1:15-16)

It has been the case in all ages that men have despised God’s law for the sake of their own traditions. Our Lord Jesus Christ upbraided the Pharisees, when He saith, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition” (Mat. 15:3). Thus it was in former times, in the days of the prophets. Isaiah crieth out, “Wherefore the Lord said, forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work and wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid” (chap. 25:13). While men occupy themselves about traditions, they pass over the things that God hath commanded in His Word.

This it is that caused Isaiah to cry out against such as set forth men’s traditions; telling them plainly that God threatened to blind the wisest of them, because they turned away from the pure rule of His Word to follow their own foolish inventions. St. Paul likewise alludes to the same thing, when he saith they have no fear of God before their eyes. Let us not deceive ourselves; for we know that God requires men to live uprightly, and to abstain from all violence, cruelty, malice, and deceit; that none of these things should appear in our life. But those that have no fear of God before their eyes, it is apparent that they are out of order, and that there is nothing but uncleanness in their whole life.

If we wish to know how our life should be regulated, let us examine the contents of the Word of God; for we cannot be sanctified by outward show and pomp, although they are so highly esteemed among men. We must call upon God in sincerity, and put our whole trust in Him; we must give up pride and presumption, and resort to Him with true lowliness of mind that we be not given to fleshly affections. We must endeavor to hold ourselves in awe, under subjection to God, and flee from gluttony, whoredom, excess, robbery, blasphemy, and other evils. Thus we see what God would have us do, in order to have our life well regulated. (“The Word our Only Rule”)

Growth In The Grace And Knowledge Of God

There are many people who think that if they attend church occasionally, read the Bible and declare they believe it from the first book to the last, that they are surely growing in Christian grace. Yet, we must be careful here because even demons have knowledge of these things and certainly are not growing in Christ. We all need a deeper knowledge of God which is granted by the Holy Spirit. To obtain this requires much prayer. We need to understand that our spiritual growth will not rise above our submission to the work of the Holy Spirit within us. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God are both necessary for our growth as Christians.

The better we know God, the more we will understand our own natures. A great problem is revealed by the Bible concerning our lives and the problem is us. John the Baptist said on one occasion: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 ESV) Does this not give us a clue to the primary object of our prayers? To truly grow in Christian Grace, our prayers should be filled with petitions that our focus on ourselves, our needs, our way, and our wants should decrease because we desire the increase of Christ in us. With this growth in Christian Sanctification also comes an awareness of the depth of our sins with an increasing desire to be fully repentant.

Repentance is agreeing with God’s view of our rebellion and sin. There should be godly sorrow. We do not see much godly sorrow in our present time. We should be conscious that the Bible teaches us that the closer we draw near to God, the more aware of our own sinfulness we should be. We should remember Isaiah, who when speaking to the Lord in the temple said, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5 ESV)

Any person in Scripture, who draws nearer to God, becomes more aware of their own sinfulness. Without repentance, we will never appreciate what Jesus Christ has done for us. We will be constantly tempted to believe that somehow we are worthy of God’s grace. If we earnestly desire to be nearer to God, we must be ready to face the secret evils in our hearts. Therefore, James writes: “’God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:6-10 ESV)

John Calvin believed that human beings could not know God or themselves without God’s gracious revelation of Himself in the Bible. Therefore, it is very difficult to be proud when our capacity to know is limited and dependent on God. This simple fact should inspire us all to humility.

When Righteous Acts Are Filthy

Many flatter themselves that their works are essential to the cause of Christ. However, until such a time when we have learned to serve God according to His Word, our own works are filthy in the sight of God. John Calvin explains below why this is so:

Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him: being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (Titus 1:15-16)

Therefore, all the rules and laws they can make shall be nothing but vanity: for God dislikes whatsoever they do; yea, He utterly abhors it. Although men may torment themselves with ceremonies and outward performances, yet all these things are vain until they become upright in heart: for in this the true service of God commences. So long then as we are faithless, we are filthy before God. These things ought to be evident to us; but hypocrisy is so rooted within us that we are apt to neglect them. It will readily be confessed that we cannot please God by serving Him until our hearts be rid of wickedness.

God strove with the people of old time about the same doctrine; as we see especially in the second chapter of the prophet Haggai: where he asks the priests, if a man touch a holy thing, whether he shall be made holy or not, the priests answered, no. On the contrary, if an unclean man touch a thing, whether it shall become unclean or no, the priests answered and said, it shall be unclean: so is this nation, saith the Lord, and so are the works of their hands. Now let us notice what is contained in the figures and shadows of the law. If an unclean man had handled any thing, it became unclean, and therefore must be cleansed. Our Lord says, consider what you are: for you have nothing but uncleanness and filth; yet notwithstanding, you would content Me with your sacrifices, offerings, and such like things. But He says, as long as your minds are entangled with wicked lusts, as long as some of you are whoremongers, adulterers, blasphemers, and perjurers, as long as you are full of guile, cruelty, and spitefulness, your lives are utterly lawless, and full of all uncleanness; I cannot abide it, however so fair it may seem before men.

We see then that all the services we can perform, until we are truly reformed in our hearts, are but mockeries; and God condemns and rejects every whit of them. But who believeth these things to be so? When the wicked, who are taken in their wickedness, feel any remorse of conscience, they will endeavor by some means or other to [appease God] by performing some ceremonies: they think it sufficient to satisfy the minds of men, believing that God ought likewise to be satisfied therewith. This is a custom which has prevailed in all ages. . . .

God rebukes men for their hypocrisy, and for thinking that they may obtain His favor with trifles, but it was a continual strife which all the prophets had with the Jews. . . .

God [shows] us that the things which He Himself had commanded were filthy and unclean when they were observed and abused by hypocrites. Therefore, let us learn that when men serve God after their own fashion, they beguile and deceive themselves. (“The Word our Only Rule”)

John Calvin On Following The Rule Of God

John Calvin

When Jesus Christ comes into our hearts, we know that we shall be cleansed from our filthiness; for by His grace we are taken for His children. There is nothing from the unbeliever that is not defiled. Without God’s grace, we have no righteousness that allows us to stand before God. Our actions, words, and thoughts are corrupt and not acceptable to God because they are infected by sin. Can such a creature gain righteousness by his obedience to Old Testament law and ritual that has been revoked by God? Can he follow the rules of men to heaven? John Calvin provides us with the answers:

Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him: being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (Titus 1:15-16)

[I]t is faith that must cleanse us. Then will all meats be clean to us: that is, we may use them freely without wavering. If men enjoin spiritual laws upon us, we need not observe them, being assured that such obedience cannot please God, for in so doing, we set up rulers to govern us, making them equal with God, who reserves all power to Himself. Thus, the government of the soul must be kept safe and sound in the hands of God. Therefore, if we allow so much superiority to men that we suffer them to enwrap our souls with their own bands, we so much lessen and diminish the power and empire that God hath over us.

And thus the humbleness that we might have in obeying the traditions of men would be worse than all the rebellion in the world; because it is robbing God of His honor, and giving it, as a spoil, to mortal men. St. Paul speaketh of the superstition of some of the Jews, who would have men still observe the shadows and figures of the law; but the Holy Ghost hath pronounced a sentence which must be observed to the end of the world: that God hath not bound us at this day to such a burden as was borne by the old fathers; but hath cut off that part which He had commanded, relative to the abstaining from meats; for it was a law but for a season.

Seeing God hath thus set us at liberty, what rashness it is for worms of the earth to make new laws; as though God had not been wise enough. When we allege this to the papists, they answer that St. Paul spoke of the Jews, and of meats that were forbidden by the law. This is true, but let us see whether this answer be to any purpose, or worth receiving. St. Paul not only saith that it is lawful for us to use that which was forbidden, but he speaketh in general terms, saying, all things are clean. Thus we see that God hath here given us liberty, concerning the use of meats; so that He will not hold us in subjection, as were the old fathers.

Therefore, seeing God hath abrogated that law which was made by Him, and will not have it in force any longer, what shall we think when we see men inventing traditions of their own; and not content themselves with what God hath shown them? In the first place, they still endeavor to hold the church of Christ under the restrictions of the Old Testament. But God will have us governed as men of years and discretion, which have no need of instruction suitable for children. They set up man’s devices, and say we must keep them under pain of deadly sin; whereas God will not have His own law to be observed among us at this day, relative to types and shadows, because it was all ended at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Shall it then be lawful to observe what men have framed in their own wisdom? Do we not see that it is a matter which goeth directly against God? St. Paul setteth himself against such deceivers: against such as would bind Christians to abstain from meats as God had commanded in His law. If a man say, it is but a small matter to abstain from flesh on Friday, or in Lent, let us consider whether it be a small matter to corrupt and bastardize the service of God! For surely those that go about to set forth and establish the tradition of men, set themselves against that which God hath appointed in His Word, and thus commit sacrilege.

Seeing God will be served with obedience, let us beware and keep ourselves within those bounds which God hath set; and not suffer men to add any thing to it of their own. There is something worse in it than all this: for they think it a service that deserves something from God to abstain from eating flesh. They think it a great holiness: and thus the service of God, which should be spiritual, is banished, as it were, while men busy themselves about foolish trifles. As the common saying is, they leave the apple for the paring.

We must be faithful, and stand fast in our liberty; we must follow the rule which is given us in the Word of God, and not suffer our souls to be brought into slavery by new laws, forged by men. For it is a hellish tyranny, which lesseneth God’s authority and mixes the truth of the gospel with figures of the law; and perverteth and corrupteth the true service of God, which ought to be spiritual. Therefore, let us consider how precious a privilege it is to give thanks to God with quietness of conscience, being assured it is His will and pleasure that we should enjoy His blessings: and that we may do so, let us not entangle ourselves with the superstitions of men, but be content with what is contained in the pure simplicity of the gospel. Then, as we have shown concerning the first part of our text, unto them that are pure, all things will be pure. (“The Word Our Only Rule”)

A Prayer By John Calvin For Providential Care

In the words of John Calvin:

Grant, Almighty God, since thou settest before us so clear a mirror of thy wonderful providence and of thy judgments on thine ancient people, that we may also be surely persuaded of our being under thy hand and protection — Grant, that relying on thee, we may hope for thy guardianship, whatever may happen, since thou never losest sight of our safety, so that we may invoke thee with a secure and tranquil mind. May we so fearlessly wait for all dangers amidst all the changes of this world that we may stand upon the foundation of thy word which never can fail; and leaning on thy promises may we repose on Christ, to whom thou hast committed us, and whom thou hast made the shepherd of all thy flock. Grant that he may be so careful of us as to lead us through this course of warfare, however troublesome and turbulent it may prove, until we arrive at that heavenly rest which he has purchased for us by his own blood. — Amen.

Charles H. Spurgeon On The Old Doctrines

In the words of Charles H. Spurgeon:

It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by the nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make a pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me. Were I a Pelagian, or a believer in the doctrine of free-will, I should have to walk for centuries all alone. Here and there a heretic of no very honorable character might rise up and call me brother. But, taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethren; I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God’s own church.

%d bloggers like this: