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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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  • Recommended Reading

LAW AND GOSPEL

David Clarkson:

David ClarksonThe righteousness of Christ turns the law into gospel to a believer, and of a doctrine full of dread and terror, renders it the most acceptable message that ever was brought to the world. The law, which stands as the angel with a flaming sword, to bar all flesh out of paradise, when the righteousness of Christ is applied, it becomes an angel to carry every believer into Abraham’s bosom; Christ’s righteousness added, it loses its name, and we call it gospel. The way in both seems to be the same for substance; perfect obedience is requisite in both. They differ in the circumstances of the person performing this obedience. In the law it was to be personal, in the gospel his surety’s performance is sufficient.

However, if there be any terror, dread in the law, Christ’s righteousness removes it; if any grace, comfort in the gospel, Christ’s righteousness is the rise of it. Take away Christ’s righteousness, and the gospel can give no life; take it away, and the law speaks nothing but death; no life, no hope of life without it, either in law or gospel. (Works, 1:315)

The Deep Implications of Sin

Quoting R.C. Sproul:

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 judgment 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)

Americans Are A Religious People

In the words of Supreme Court Justice William Douglas:

We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. (Opinion of the Court for Zorach v. Clauson, April 28, 1952)

Joseph Story On Freedom of Religion

From the pen of Joseph Story:

Piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of that state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice.

Edward T. Welch On Spirituality And Addictions

From the desk of Edward T. Welch:

If we allow the Bible to reveal the unseen spiritual realities behind addictions, we suddenly realize that addictions are more than self-destructive behaviors. They are violations of God’s laws: His laws that call us to avoid drunkenness and immoderate self-indulgence (Rom. 13:13), His law that calls us to love others (1 John 4:7), and His law that calls us to live for Him rather than ourselves (1 Cor. 10:31). This means that addiction is more about someone’s relationship with God than it is about biology. It reveals our allegiances: what we want, what we love, whom and what we serve. It brings us to that all-important question, “Will you live for the fulfillment of your desires or for God? (Blame it on the Brain? P&R Publishing, 1998, p. 193)

You Must Understand Judgment To Understand Grace

Dorothy L. Sayers

In the excerpt from a speech below, Dorothy L. Sayers (mystery writer) explains why it is necessary for man to understand God’s Laws and the consequences of Judgment. The preacher is required to preach law and judgment in order that his congregation may fully understand and appreciate mercy and grace. Sayers writes:

[I]t is impossible to have a Christian doctrine of society except as a corollary to Christian dogma about the place of man in the universe. This is, or should be, obvious. The one point to which I should like to draw attention is the Christian doctrine of the moral law.

The attempt to abolish wars and wickedness by the moral law is doomed to failure because of the fact of sinfulness. Law, like every other product of human activity, shares the integral human imperfection: it is, in the old Calvinistic phrase: “of the nature of sin.” That is to say: all legality, if erected into an absolute value, contains within itself the seeds of judgment and catastrophe. The law is necessary, but only, as it were, as a protective fence against the forces of evil, behind which the divine activity of grace may do its redeeming work.

We can, for example, never make a positive peace or a positive righteousness by enactments against offenders; law is always prohibitive, negative, and corrupted by the interior contradictions of man’s divided nature; it belongs to the category of judgment. That is why an intelligent understanding about sin is necessary to preserve the world from putting an unjustified confidence in the efficacy of the moral law taken by itself. It will never drive out Beelzebub; it cannot, because it is only human and not divine.

Nevertheless, the law must be rightly understood or it is not possible to make the world understand the meaning of grace. There is only one real law . . . it may be fulfilled either by way of judgment or by the way of grace, but it must be fulfilled one way or the other. If men will not understand the meaning of judgment, they will never come to understand the meaning of grace. If they hear not Moses or the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (“Creed or Chaos?”)

Marriage

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

Quoting Justice Joseph Story:

“Marriage is … in its origin a contract of natural law… It is the parent, and not the child of society; the source of civility and a sort of seminary of the republic.”

Joseph Story On The Foundation Of Civilization

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

Quoting Joseph Story (Supreme Court Justice):

Indeed, the right of a society or government to [participate] in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of the state and indispensable to the administrations of civil justice. The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion—the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to Him for all our actions, founded upon moral accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues—these never can be a matter of indifference in any well-ordered community. It is, indeed, difficult to conceive how any civilized society can well exist without them. (Source: Joseph Story, A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1847), p. 260, §442.)

James Wilson On Religion And Law

James Wilson

Quoting James Wilson (Signer of the Constitution):

Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other. The divine law, as discovered by reason and the moral sense, forms an essential part of both. (Source: James Wilson, The Works of the Honorable James Wilson (Philadelphia: Bronson and Chauncey, 1804), Vol. I, p. 106.)

Christianity And Freedom

Quoting the Pennsylvania Supreme Court:

No free government now exists in the world, unless where Christianity is acknowledged, and is the religion of the country. (Source: Pennsylvania Supreme Court, 1824. Updegraph v. Commonwealth; 11 Serg. & R. 393, 406 (Sup.Ct. Penn. 1824).)

John Gill On The Scriptures

Quoting John Gill:

“The scriptures are the only external guide in matters of religion; they are the way-posts we should look up unto, and take our direction from, and should steer our course accordingly: To the law and to the testimony: if men speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isa. 8:20)”

 

Oklahoma Law Vs. Sharia Law

Picture of Billboard put up by the United Amer...

Opposition To Sharia Law

A Clinton-appointed U.S. District Judge (Vicki Miles-LaGrange) declares 70 percent of Oklahoma voters are wrong.  The state voted to adopt a constitutional amendment to prevent judges from considering international or Sharia law in their court decisions.

Muneer Awad, who is the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Oklahoma, filed suit to block the adoption of the state constitutional amendment. He protests that the amendment “stigmatizes his religion.” Justice Miles-LaGrange seems to agree.

Awad claims that his last will and testament, which is based on Islamic law, would be made invalid by the Oklahoma amendment. Perhaps most Oklahomans are more interested in preventing “honor killings” and the stonings of women accused of adultery.

Contradictory laws which apply to one group of people but not to another create a society in chaos. Living in America means choosing to abide by American laws. The citizens of Oklahoma have every right to amend their state constitution to secure a consistent standard of justice.

The Christian And The Constitution

 

Joseph Story

Joseph Story

 

A little over 100 years ago, Justice Josiah Brewer wrote concerning The Supreme Court, “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian” [Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 457-458, 465-471, 36 L ed 226. (1892)]. Therefore, Christian people should seek to influence legislation that is in keeping with the moral principles of Christianity. Bob Vincent, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Louisiana, writes:

Until well into my life-time, the overwhelming majority of Americans believed that the United States was a Christian nation. In believing that, they did not desire the persecution of other religions, nor did they want to see people forced to become Christians, nor did they believe that one Christian denomination should be favored at the expense of others. . . .

But Americans overwhelmingly believed that Christian ideas and principles should receive favorable treatment and that its understanding of Moral Law should undergird the laws of the United States and the individual states. When other people’s religious practices came into conflict with Moral Law, Moral Law, not the practices of other religions, was always supreme. People were free to believe as they saw fit, but they could not practice their beliefs when those practices ran contrary to morality; they had to live by the Christian based laws of the United States. This can readily be seen through the decisions of the United States Supreme Court. As one example of how this has been worked out, one may note Davis v. Beason, where Mormons were forbidden to practice polygamy, an early tenet of their faith, because it was contrary to Moral Law as understood by historic Christianity. . . .

“Probably at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the First Amendment to it . . . the general if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state so far as was not incompatible with the private religious rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation . . . .The real object of the amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government” [Justice Joseph Story (who served on the Supreme Court from 1811-1845) Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 2 Vol. 2:593-95, 2nd Ed. Boston: Little Brown (1905)].

Justice Story‘s understanding reflects the thinking of the framers of the Constitution, who expressed unbridled faith in God in the Declaration of Independence. . . .

Read more here. . . .

The Great Wall of Mexico’s Hypocrisy

Mexico has been building a wall on its southern border with Guatemala to prevent the free passage of illegal aliens.

Some 500,000 illegals sneak into Mexico annually. Compared to all Mexicans currently living illegally in American cities, taking full advantage of benefits they are not entitled to, Mexico’s illegal influx is a mole hill compared to the proverbial mountain.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has not yet commented. However, when Arizona’s SB 1070 passed, Calderon blew a gasket, denouncing the law as an invitation “to intolerance, hate, discrimination and abuse in law enforcement” — each one an attribute that Mexico’s immigration laws exhibit.

The First Amendment

The First Amendment protects freedom of speech and press – not freedom of flag burning or freedom of pornography.


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