Posted on Friday, March 29, 2013 by Samuel
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. (1 Peter 2:24 ESV)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (1 Peter 3:18 ESV)
Why is the cross so important? Today is Good Friday and a good day to reflect on Jesus’ death.
The cross shows us the depth of the problem we humans have with sin. It shows us God’s forgiveness of sin. The cross also leads us to the resurrection, which demonstrates that sin may be overcome. The way of the cross teaches us that it was necessary for God to save us from sin by allowing Jesus to die on the cross for our sin. The resurrection of Jesus reveals His victory over sin and death on our behalf. The cross says something important to us about us.
God desires us to see our sins for what they are – rebellion against Him. We, of course, wish to stay blind to our sins. In the cross of Jesus Christ, God is trying to show us the consequences of our sin and the only way to peace with God. Therefore, in the cross, God shows us righteousness. It is a righteousness that comes through the faith of Jesus when He went to the cross trusting in God who would raise Him on the third day in order that we might begin to live with that same faith in a God.
The cross is our sin meeting God’s unconditional love, and forgiveness. The violence of the cross teaches us about sin and its cost. At the same time, the cross demonstrates God’s justice, love and forgiveness. The cross is God’s answer to sin. It is the result of the work of Jesus Christ to earn our salvation.
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Forgiveness, God, Jesus Christ, Love, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel A. Cain, Samuel at Gilgal, The Cross of Christ | 1 Comment »
Posted on Saturday, March 16, 2013 by Samuel
Do you realize that a simple trust and dependence upon Christ is the way of salvation? If you do know this, your peace has come, for Christ purchased it with his blood. According to Charles H. Spurgeon:
[Many] have not obtained peace, I fear, because they do not yet have a clear idea of the true way of finding it. Although it has been preached to us so often, it is still little understood. The way of peace with God is seen through a haze by most men, so that no matter how plainly you put it, they will, if it is possible, misunderstand you. Your salvation does not depend upon what you do, but upon what Christ did when he offered himself as a sacrifice for sin. All your salvation takes root in the death throes of Calvary; the great Substitute bore your sin and suffered its penalty. Your sin shall never destroy you if upon that bloody tree the Lord’s chosen High Priest made a full expiation for your sins; they shall not be laid against you any more forever. What you have to do is simply to accept what Jesus has finished. I know your idea is that you are to bring something to him; but that vainglorious idea has ruined many, and will ruin more. When you are brought empty-handed, made willing to accept a free and full salvation from the hand of the Crucified, then, and then only, will you be saved.
But men will not look to the cross. No, they conspire to raise another cross; or they aspire to adorn that cross with jewels; or they labor to wreathe it with sweet flowers; but they will not give a simple look to the Savior, and rely alone on him. Yet no soul can ever obtain peace with God by any other means; while this means is so effectual that it has never failed, and never shall. (Advice for Seekers)
Filed under: Bible, Charles H. Spurgeon, Christianity, Faith, Grace, Reformed Christian Topics, Salvation, Samuel at Gilgal | Comments Off
Posted on Friday, March 15, 2013 by Samuel
As the Holy Spirit takes possession of a person’s life, his heart will be filled with divine, holy power. We must always pray for this power in our lives to be active in helping us to live holy lives. If we receive the Spirit with gladness, He will teach us how to really live. Andrew Murray writes:
Under the Old Testament, you know the Holy Spirit often came upon men as a divine Spirit of revelation to reveal the mysteries of God, or for power to do the work of God. But He did not dwell in them then. Now, many just want the Old Testament gift of power for work. But, they know very little of the New Testament gift of the indwelling Spirit, animating and renewing the whole life. When God gives the Holy Spirit, His great object is the formation of a holy character. It is a gift of a holy mind and spiritual disposition, and what we need, above everything else, is to say:
“I must have the Holy Spirit sanctifying my whole inner life if I am really to live for God’s glory.”
You might say that when Christ promised the Spirit to the disciples, He did so that they might have power to be witnesses. True, but then they received the Holy Spirit in such heavenly power and reality that He took possession of their whole being at once and so fitted them as holy men for doing the work with power, as they had to do it. Christ spoke of power to the disciples, but it was the Spirit filling their whole being that worked the power. (“The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love”)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Faith, Grace, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel at Gilgal | Tagged: Andrew Murray | 2 Comments »
Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by Samuel
Are the Scriptures sufficient to lead us unto salvation? Do we need other sources of religious authority to help us gain salvation? Your answers to these questions are very important.
There are many who deny the all-sufficiency of the Scriptures. They may believe in the Bible and traditions or they may accept additional writings and revelations as equal with the Bible. These ideas lead people to look to other authorities for the final word on their religious beliefs. By doing this they have rejected the all-sufficiency of the Bible, which often results in heresy.
Is the Bible alone an all-sufficient guide for your life and salvation? Paul writes to Timothy, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV) The Bible completes us. There is no need for traditions, additional writings, or revelations.
In the Scriptures, you have all you need to believe in Jesus and have life in His name. You have fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You have eternal life and entrance into His heavenly kingdom. Any new teaching you come across that is not in the Bible, was never meant to be.
Put your faith in the Word of God and His Word alone. In the Scriptures, the whole counsel of God has been revealed to us finally. Therefore, we refer to the Scriptures as all-sufficient in matters pertaining to God. Remember again these words of Paul, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4 ESV)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Reformed Christian Topics, Salvation, Samuel A. Cain, Samuel at Gilgal | Tagged: Scriptures | 1 Comment »
Posted on Saturday, March 9, 2013 by Samuel
Do you really trust God? Why is trust so important? John Piper helps us to understand why the issue of trusting God is essential:
“Your daddy is standing in a swimming pool out a little bit from the edge. You are, let’s say, three years old and standing on the edge of the pool. Daddy holds out his arms to you and says, “Jump, I’ll catch you. I promise.” Now, how do you make your daddy look good at that moment? Answer: trust him and jump. Have faith in him and jump. That makes him look strong and wise and loving. But if you won’t jump, if you shake your head and run away from the edge, you make your daddy look bad. It looks like you are saying, “he can’t catch me” or “he won’t catch me” or “it’s not a good idea to do what he tells me to do.” And all three of those make your dad look bad.
But you don’t want to make God look bad. So you trust him. Then you make him look good–which he really is. And that is what we mean when we say, “Faith glorifies God” or “Faith gives God glory.” It makes him look as good as he really is. So trusting God is really important.
And the harder it seems for him to fulfill his promise, the better he looks when you trust him. Suppose that you are at the deep end of a pool by the diving board. You are four years old and can’t swim, and your daddy is at the other end of the pool. Suddenly a big, mean dog crawls under the fence and shows his teeth and growls at you and starts coming toward you to bite you. You crawl up on the diving board and walk toward the end to get away from him. The dog puts his front paws up on the diving board. Just then, your daddy sees what’s happening and calls out, “Johnny, jump in the water. I’ll get you.”
Now, you have never jumped from one meter high and you can’t swim and your daddy is not underneath you and this water is way over your head. How do you make your daddy look good in that moment? You jump. And almost as soon as you hit the water, you feel his hands under your arms and he treads water holding you safely while someone chases the dog away. Then he takes you to the side of the pool.
We give glory to God when we trust him to do what he has promised to do–especially when all human possibilities are exhausted. Faith glorifies God. That is why God planned for faith to be the way we are justified.” (Don’t Waste Your Life)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, God, John Piper, Providence, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel at Gilgal, Worship | 3 Comments »
Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 by Samuel
“Be sure of your call to every business you go about. Though it is the least business, be sure of your call to it; then, whatever you meet with, you may quiet your heart with this: I know I am where God would have me. Nothing in the world will quiet the heart so much as this: when I meet with any cross, I know I am where God would have me, in my place and calling; I am about the work that God has set me.” (The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Grace, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel at Gilgal, Worldview, Worship | Tagged: Jeremiah Burroughs | 2 Comments »
Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 by Samuel
The modern world detests authority but worships relevance. Our Christian conviction is that the Bible has both authority and relevance, and that the secret of both is Jesus Christ.
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Grace, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel at Gilgal, Truth | Tagged: John Stott | 1 Comment »
Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2013 by Samuel
Today is the five year anniversary of Samuel at Gilgal‘s association with WordPress.com. During this time we have published over 5,000 posts. Samuel at Gilgal is viewed in 67 countries around the world, including Vatican City.
The purpose of Samuel at Gilgal is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and encourage Christian discipleship by introducing you to many of the sermons and writings of outstanding preachers and Christian authors. Occasionally, I will contribute my own thoughts on various topics. Like Abraham Kuyper, I desire that “God’s holy ordinances” guide our worldview in the home, in educational institutions, and the governing of our country. I hope you will continue to follow Samuel at Gilgal and invite your friends to do so as well.
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Grace, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel A. Cain, Samuel at Gilgal, Theology | 2 Comments »
Posted on Monday, February 25, 2013 by Samuel
Pelagianism teaches that man’s free will is unimpaired. There is no influence that shackles or dominates man’s choice between good and evil. Man has all the power he ever had, or needs to have, to will and to do what is spiritually good. This teaching is contrary to the concept of Adam’s fall being the cause of man’s being born a sinner. Pelagianism argues that the consequences of Adam’s sins were restricted to him and were not transmitted to his posterity. Pelagianism argues that man enters the world with as pure a nature as Adam had possessed in innocence. This belief requires turning the Gospels into a remedial scheme rather than a plan to recover man from original sin by grace. This is in direct contrast to Paul and Augustine’s teaching that humanity was completely helpless in Adam’s sin and in desperate need of grace. Augustine did not deny that man had a will and that he could make choices. He simply recognized that man did not have a free will in moral issues related to God. Augustine recognized that the Scriptures taught that the effects of original sin were passed to the children of Adam and Eve and therefore, mankind’s nature was corrupted. Man could choose what he desired, but those desires are influenced by his sinful nature and thus, he sins.
Pelagius, a British monk, is considered to be the father of this heresy. It was condemned by more church councils than any other heresy in history. Pelagianism may have been condemned, but it was certainly the most popular and widespread tendency among the masses. This is no surprise, since thinking highly of ourselves and the possibilities for personal self-improvement are part of our sinful condition. We are all Pelagians by nature. Pelagianism is a gospel of works.
The Bible teaches:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. . .” (Romans 3:23 ESV)
“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 2:8-9 ESV)
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8 ESV)
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6:6 ESV)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, Grace, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel at Gilgal, sin, Theology | Tagged: Pelagianism | 10 Comments »
Posted on Saturday, February 23, 2013 by Samuel
To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort; but to be assured that all things which fall out shall co-operate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings, that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more; this may fill their hearts with joy till they run over.
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Faith, Grace, Providence, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel at Gilgal | 1 Comment »
Posted on Friday, February 22, 2013 by Samuel
Alexander Moody Stuart:
Many are willing that Christ should be something, but few will consent that Christ should be everything.
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Jesus Christ, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel at Gilgal, Theology, Worship | 1 Comment »
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 by Samuel
“Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.” (A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, God, John Piper, Living Life, Providence, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel at Gilgal | Comments Off
Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 by Samuel
The Word of God must be the Book that we relish if we are to avoid weakness in our ministry. We should eagerly peruse its pages because we long to know His will. We should be found often and long in the pages of Holy Scripture because we desire our preaching and service to be shaped and formed by the living God. According to Al Martin:
By personal observation of my own weaknesses and the weaknesses of my brethren in the ministry, I am forced to conclude that preaching today is defective because of a failure to be watchful in several areas. First of all, the area of one’s personal devotional life. I said earlier that some of these conclusions were based upon my observations made while going from church to church as an itinerant minister. One of the most disturbing discoveries made during this time was the fact that very few ministers have any systematic, personal, devotional habits. I made it a practice to meet with the host pastor to pray and to share areas of common concern. When we would finally tear away the cursed façade of professionalism, and begin to be honest with the Lord and with each other, and confess our sins one to another and pray one for another, the confession came out again and again that the Word of God had ceased to be a living Book of devotional relationship to Christ and had become the official manual for the administration of professional duties. Is it any wonder that the ministry of such men is marked by doctrinal imbalance? Is it any wonder that there is such coldness of heart? Is it any wonder that there is little close, searching application of Scripture when the great majority of contemporary preachers admit that they do not systematically expose themselves to the Book of God for the purpose of personal illumination and sanctification?
In II Timothy 3, a chapter which we love to quote when we are demonstrating the truth of the inspiration and the authority of the Scriptures, there is a word spoken to us as the servants of God that is most searching. The Apostle Paul says to Timothy in verse 15, ‘from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures. And this is their first function, ‘They are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.’ They have led you to faith in Jesus Christ and unto the salvation that is in Him. But, Timothy, that is not the only function of the Scriptures. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine [teaching] for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Notice that he explicitly states that the inspired Scriptures are for the perfecting and maturing of the Man of God. In other words, the entirety of divine revelation should have as its primary function in the life of the servant of God, his own personal sanctification. No preacher is furnished to preach simply by possessing a gift to analyze a text and by the ability to explain it by word of mouth. If the word he would preach to others has not first been the instrument of his own personal indoctrination and instruction unto sanctification, he is not fit to declare it to others. This is the function of the Word of God in the life of the preacher, and this function must always be primary. As preachers, you and I are first of all Christians, and secondly, Christian ministers. And that order must never be reversed. You and I are to take heed to ourselves, and then, and only then, to our doctrine. We are to save ourselves first of all, and then, those that hear us. Jeremiah declared ‘Thy words were found and I did eat them, and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.’ Too often, we must make the confession, ‘Thy words were found and I did examine them, and thy words were unto me the form and substance of the sermon in my head.’ By contrast, the weeping prophet could say, ‘Thy words were found and I did assimilate them to myself personally — I experienced their exhilarating power in my own life.’ This is precisely what Paul is telling Timothy — ‘Let that word teach you. Get your doctrinal instruction on your knees with the open Scripture, so that the principles of truth come not as icy propositions merely resting on the surface of your mind, but see to it that they come as sentient living truths burned into the fibers of your heart. Let that word teach you, Timothy. Let it reprove you. Let it whip you. Let it correct you. Let it instruct you in the way of holiness that you may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works.’ (“What’s Wrong with Preaching?”)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Holiness, Preaching, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel at Gilgal, Sermon | Tagged: Al Martin | 3 Comments »
Posted on Sunday, February 17, 2013 by Samuel
Although the price of the sparrow is small and its flight seems giddy and at random, yet it does not fall to the ground, nor slight anywhere without your Father. “His all-wise providence hath before appointed what bough it shall perch upon; what grains it shall pick up; where it shall lodge and where it shall build; on what it shall live and where it shall die.” Every raindrop and every snowflake which falls from the cloud, every insect which moves, every plant which grows, every grain of dust which floats in the air has had certain definite causes and will have certain definite effects. Each is a link in the chain of events and many of the great events of history have turned on these apparently insignificant things. Throughout the whole course of events there is progress toward a predetermined end. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, God, Grace, Loraine Boettner D.D., Providence, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel at Gilgal | Tagged: Reformed Doctrine of Predestination | 1 Comment »
Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2013 by Samuel
In the New Testament, love is more of a verb than a noun. It has more to do with acting than with feeling. The call to love is not so much a call to a certain state of feeling as it is to a quality of action.
Throughout the ages, the church has understood that the most significant manifestation of true faith is love. Faith without love is not faith, only speculation or knowledge or mere intellectual assent. The fruit of authentic faith is always love.
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, Faith, R. C. Sproul, Reformed Christian Topics, Samuel at Gilgal | 2 Comments »