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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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Martin Luther: We Have A Great Confidence And Refuge In God Through Christ

People are sometimes presumptuous and disrespectful of God when they put themselves, too easily, forward in lightheartedness or pride as a Christian. Martin Luther believed that Christians should be serious about their relationship with Christ and approach the subject with more humility:

Those who only cry: “Christ is my brother! Christ is my brother!” are not true Christians. A Christian acts quite differently, and it is very wonderful, so that the flesh shudders at it and dares indeed neither speak of it nor confess it.

We should bestir ourselves to hear this, not only with the natural ear, but also to experience it in our hearts, for then we would not be so forward and impudent, but would be surprised and amazed over it. True and godly Christians go along in life in contempt of themselves and in fear; they think thus: Ah, shall I, a poor, miserable person, who am steeped in sin, be now so exalted that God’s Son becomes my brother? Ay, how is it that I, a miserable poor creature, am thus honored? I am at once confounded before it and feed upon it; for it truly requires a great effort to believe it; yea, when one experiences it thus, how it is in truth, he must from that hour die; for man, since he is flesh and blood, cannot understand it. Here in this life man’s heart is in too great straits to lay hold of it; but after death, when the heart becomes larger and broader, we experience what we have heard through the Word.

In the Gospel of John, Christ tells Mary Magdalene of the benefit and use of his death and resurrection still more plainly, when he says: “But go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.” Jn 20,17. This is one of the great and comforting passages upon which we can venture, and of which we dare boast. As if Christ had said: Go hence, Mary, and say to my disciples who have deserted me on the field of battle, and who have well merited punishment and eternal condemnation, that my resurrection has taken place for their benefit; that is, by my resurrection I have brought it to pass that my Father is their Father, and my God is their God. These are few words and very short; but they contain a great thought, namely, that we have as great a confidence and refuge in God as Christ his Son himself has. Who can grasp such exceeding joy, unless one speaks of himself when he says a poor, corrupt sinner can and may call God his Father and his God, just like Christ himself does? (“The Fruit and Power of Christ’s Resurrection”)

Our Security In The Unchanging Christ

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 ESV)

God has set a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness. On that day God will judge the secrets of men. Let the wicked flatter themselves that the idea of any coming to judgment is simply ridiculous. They have spoken lies. One day, however, when they see the Lamb of God whom they have scorned, they will cry out to the mountains and rocks to fall upon them.

The mercy of Christ is everlasting; His truth endures from generation to generation. The same gracious Savior that He was yesterday to our fathers, He is today to us. All want a part of the comfort offered, but without the hand of faith they wait in vain. There is no deficiency in Him; but is there none in you? Whatsoever Christ is, what are you? He forgave Mary Magdalene many sins; and so He will forgive you, if you can shed Mary’s tears. When any man shall prove to be such a sinner, He will not fail to be such a Savior.

Today He is yours, if today you will be His. What if dark death prevents tomorrow’s light? He was yesterday, so were you: He is today, so are you: He is tomorrow, but maybe you will not be. Time may change you, although it cannot change Him. He is not subject to natural change like you.

You have lost yesterday carelessly; you are losing today willfully and therefore you may lose eternal life and heaven inevitably. He that was yesterday the God of Abraham is today our God and He will forever be the God of our children.

Many parents worry about how their children will do when they are dead; yet they forget how God provided for them when they were children. Is the Lord’s arm shortened? Cannot this experience of His mercy to you, persuade you that He will not forsake your own children? Is not Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever?

There are untrusting parents who are so anxious for their children, that while they live they starve their bodies and hazard their souls to leave their children wealthy. In their folly, they fear leaving their children miserable; yet such parents take the only course to make them miserable; for they leave them not so much heirs to their goods as to their evils. The good man, on the other hand, is merciful, and shares what he has with the poor. Habits which the secular man thinks shall make his children poor. Trust Christ with your children; Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Grace and peace are from Him who is, and was, and is to come; so glory and honor to Him, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.

The Unchanging Christ

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 ESV)

The Bible describes the eternity of Jesus Christ in the same way that it does of God the Father. Jesus is called Alpha and Omega, “the First and the Last: which is, which was, and which is to come,” “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.”

Jesus is His proper name, Christ His title. Jesus is a name of His nature. Christ is the name of His office. He is a Reconciler, a Redeemer, and a Savior. He has been appointed and anointed of God a king, a priest, and a prophet.

This Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is the center of this text; and not only of this, but of the whole Scripture. The sum of divinity is the Scripture; the sum of the Scripture is the gospel; the sum of the gospel is Jesus Christ. There is nothing contained in the Word of God, but God the Word. Our mind is where our pleasure is, our heart is where our treasure is, our love is where our life is; but all these, our pleasure, treasure, and life can only be found in Jesus Christ. Let others take the pleasures of the world, but let our part be in Jesus Christ.

There is no mutability in Christ; “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17 ESV) In the “Father of lights” there is no changeableness. The sun has his shadow; but the “Sun of Righteousness” is without shadow. He loves us to the end and there is no end to His love. The covenant of God will not be broken. The Lord says, “And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.” (Hosea 2:19-20 ESV) This marriage-bond shall never be broken. We do not place our confidence in worldly things, because they are fleeting. “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” (Psalm 125:1 ESV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.

This persuades us to imitate Christ’s steadfastness. Let the certainty of his mercy to us work loyalty in our love for Him. The God of constancy would have His people to be constant. If God preordained a Savior for man, before He had either made man, or man marred himself, then surely He meant that nothing should separate us from His eternal love in that Savior.

God continually, by His Spirit, applies to our consciences the virtue of his death and passion. “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3 ESV) “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17 ESV)

We owe, then, ourselves to Christ for our creation; but how much more for our redemption? If I owe Him my whole self for making me, what have I left to pay Him for redeeming me?

God upholds all things by the Word of His power. The wicked may have outward blessings without inward, and that is Esau’s reward without his birthright; but the elect have inward blessings, though they lack outward, and that is Jacob’s inheritance without his pottage. His mercy is everlasting; His truth endures from generation to generation. The same gracious Savior that He was yesterday to our fathers is He today to us, if we are today faithful to Him. All reach for this comfort, but in vain without the hand of faith. There is no deficiency in Him; but is there none in you? Whatsoever Christ is, what are you? He forgave Mary Magdalene many grievous sins; so He will forgive you, if you can shed Mary Magdalene’s tears. He took the malefactor from the cross to Paradise; there He will receive you if you have the same faith. He was merciful to a denying apostle; you are challenged to like mercy, if you have like repentance. If we will be like these, Christ, assuredly, will be ever like Himself. When any man shall prove to be such a sinner, He will not fail to be such a Savior.

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