• 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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  • January 2008
    M T W T F S S
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Are You Satisfied With The Condition Of Your Heart?

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12, ESV)

We do not use the word “wickedness” much anymore.  Surprisingly, we do not even say much about it in church.  We do talk about love a lot and the love of Christ is truly something worth talking about.  I am afraid sometimes, however, that the love we are so glibly speaking of denies the genuine necessity of forgiveness and salvation from sin.  Wickedness is a serious matter to God.

Roger R. Nicole speaks of Christ’s view of human evil in his lecture titled, “The Doctrines of Grace in Jesus’ Teaching.” This lecture may be read in the book, Our Sovereign God: Addresses Presented to the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, James M. Boice, editor.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, with all the concern, compassion and love which he showed to mankind, made some very vivid portrayals of man’s condition.  He did not mince words about the gravity of human sin.  He talked of man as salt that has lost its savor (Matt. 5:13) . . . as a corrupt tree which is bound to produce corrupt fruit (Matt. 7:7) . . . as being evil (Luke 11:13) . . . an “evil and adulterous generation (Matt. 12:39) . . . out of the heart proceed murders, adulteries, evil thoughts and things of that kind (Mark 7:21-23). . . .

He saw in man an unwillingness to respond to grace – “You will not come to God” (John 5:40), “You have not the love of God” (v. 42), “You receive me not” (v. 43), “You believe not” (v. 47) . . . “The world’s works are evil” (John 7:7); “None of you keeps the law” (v. 19).  “You shall die in your sins,” he says (John 8:21).  “You are from beneath” (v. 23); “Your father is the devil, who is a murderer and a liar” (vv. 38, 44); “You are not of God” (v. 47). . . .

The people who were most readily received by the Lord were those who . . . did not come to him with a sense of the sufficiency of their performance.  The people he received were those who came broken-hearted and bruised with the sense of their inadequacy.

We preach and teach the love of Christ through the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit uses preaching and teaching to save the wicked from their sins and sanctify the Christian believer.  Without the grace of God, you and I are not OK.  Without God’s grace, we are doomed to a life of selfish wickedness and an eternity in hell.  Our need for forgiveness and grace should be admitted with humility.  Repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ to escape the wrath to come.

Got Problems?

Do you find yourself in the midst of trouble?  You should seek God.  Do not set your troubles up against your own ability.  Rather, see yourself and your problems within God’s providential care.  God can provide the relief you need if you hold tightly to Him.  Life is not lived without adversity, but in Christ there is comfort and hope.  There is purpose even in the trial of circumstances.

“God would not rub us so hard if it were not to fetch out the dirt that is ingrained in our natures.  God loves purity so well He had rather see a hole than a spot in His child’s garments.” (William Gurnall)

It seems that adversity is a better teacher than prosperity.  How else will we learn hope, trust, courage, and patience?  Samuel Rutherford wrote, “Grace grows best in winter.”  God has ordained, however, that spring and summer follow.

“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:20-21)

Christian, God does not abandon you in times of trouble.  Stop complaining and allowing your thoughts and disposition to descend into the darkness.  Steady your mind and will like the martyred saints of ancient times.  In such times, heroes are born.

“Bless you, prison, for having been in my life.  The meaning of earthly existence lies, not as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering, but in the development of the soul.” (Alexander Solzhenitsyn)

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