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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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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.”

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