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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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GOD’S WILL BE DONE

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

Most Christians are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer. If you attended Sunday School as a child, you are probably able to recite it. I have prayed this prayer many times over the years and have often meditated on these verses and what they mean. I sometimes wonder when we say the words of this prayer if, in the secret places of our hearts, we are really thinking: “MY kingdom come, MY will be done…” Submission to the will of another is very difficult for most of us; even submission to the will of 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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WHO IS A CHRISTIAN?

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9 ESV)

salvation jesusA Christian is someone who has been born again in Christ to eternal life and salvation. His sins have been pardoned and he is in a state of grace. He now desires to obey God in order to please Him and glorify Him. He has the Holy Spirit to strengthen his desire and ability to live out his obligation to Jesus Christ. The Christian seeks to live life sincerely before God and to walk worthy of Christ.

Authenticity is the path of Christian sanctification. A Christian is not perfect. A Christian’s good works are the result of God’s saving grace. Good works do not save anyone; they are the consequence of having been saved. Even faith is the gift of God. Christians still err, but they are grieved when they do. The Christian’s grief leads to repentance. Sincere repentance leads to God’s forgiveness. God is faithful and just to forgive sins and to cleanse the Christian from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV) Continue reading

SANCTIFICATION AND THE WORD OF GOD

Bishop J. C. Ryle:

Bishop J. C. Ryle“The instrument by which the Spirit effects (sanctification) is generally the Word of God.” (Holiness, 16)

CHARLES SPURGEON ON SANCTIFICATION

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

Sanctification, in its operation upon our character, consists of three things. First, we die to sin. A wondrous death! By this Jesus strikes at the heart of evil. The death of Christ makes us die to sin. After this comes burial. We are buried with Christ and of this burial, Baptism is the type and token. Covered up to be forgotten, we are to sin as a dead shepherd to his flock.

As the sheep pass over the dead shepherd’s grave, or even feed thereon, yet he regards them not—so our old sins and habits come about us, but we, as dead men, know them no more. We are buried to them!

To complete our actual sanctification we receive heavenly quickening. “If we are dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” Yes, we do live in Him and by Him, for, “He that believes in Him has everlasting life.” I trust you know what this means. Have you been thus dead, thus buried with Christ? Are you now thus quickened in the likeness of His Resurrection? This is your joyful privilege if you are, indeed, Believers in Christ and joined unto the Lord in one spirit. (1891, Sermon #2197)

TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK!

pilgrims-progress“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15 ESV)

Living the Christian life is not always easy. There are times when you feel like you take two steps forward and then fall one or two steps back. “Simul iustus et peccator” is the phrase Martin Luther used to explain the relationship of the Christian and sin. It means “at the same time just and sinner.”

A regenerate Christian may still sin. Regeneration causes real change in a person, however, it does not cause immediate perfection. The Christian, with the help of the Holy Spirit, will pursue sanctification for his lifetime. Holy living should become more evident, but praise Jesus Christ for His imputed righteousness because we are made just (now) by it.

We live in an unholy world. A Christian will face opposition from immorality, wickedness, and corruption. In spite of this, a Christian must be faithful, virtuous, and knowledgeable of the Scriptures, self-disciplined, steadfast, and godly with love. We must seek to grow in grace in order to be effective and fruitful servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV) Continue reading

SANCTIFICATION AND THE MIND

Samuel A Cain“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8 ESV)

Why do our minds need to be sanctified? Sanctification is needed because original sin and our own continual personal sins have darken our minds to man’s true purpose. Instead of glorifying God, we have chosen to ignore Him. The mind of man has been injured by original sin. Thus, man is comfortably ignorant of the truth and knowledge of God. Man’s mind is darkened by the corruption of original sin. This darkness of mind particularly impedes the hearing of the Word of God. The cause is found in Romans 1:18-21: Continue reading

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