• 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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  • April 2010
    M T W T F S S
  • Recommended Reading

Man Sins Voluntarily

John Calvin

Quoting John Calvin:

“We must, therefore, acquiesce in the judgment of God, which pronounces man to be so enslaved by sin that he can bring forth nothing sound and sincere. Yet, at the same time, we must remember, that no blame is to be cast upon God for that which has its origin in the defection of the first man, whereby the order of the creation was subverted. And furthers it must be noted, that men are not exempted from guilt and condemnation, by the pretext of this bondage: because, although all rush to evil, yet they are not impelled by any extrinsic force, but by the direct inclination of their own hearts; and, lastly, they sin not otherwise than voluntarily.” (Calvin’s Comments: Genesis 8:21)

National Day Of Prayer Ruled Unconstitutional

In 1789, on the same day that Congress finished drafting the First Amendment, it requested President George Washington to declare a National day of prayer and thanksgiving, resulting in the first Federal official Thanksgiving proclamation that declared “it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor”.

Fast-forward to the year 2010:

Yesterday, a federal judge appointed by former President Jimmy Carter, abandoned reason and constitutional law to side with the Freedom From Religion Foundation by declaring the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional. Congress established the National Day of Prayer in 1952 and appointed the first Thursday in May as a day for the president to call the people to pray for our country.

We are reminded, once again, that American citizens of faith must take seriously the need to be involved in the defense of religious liberty. This ruling also demonstrates why it is so important to vote thoughtfully for the President and Senators who select and approve these judges.

John Locke On Virtue

Quoting English philosopher and political theorist John Locke (1632-1704):

“Virtue is harder to be got than a knowledge of the world; and, if lost in a young man, is seldom recovered.”

The Free Offer Of Salvation

In the words of Murdock Campbell (Scottish Presbyterian Minister and author):

“And since it is the will of God that none should perish but that all should return to Him and live, this precious invitation is not merely from man’s heart or lips but from the heart of God Himself. We are but Christ’s ambassadors who plead with men to be reconciled to God.

The blessed implication of these words, you will notice, is that the free offer of salvation and the invitations of the Gospel have the sanction of God’s Word. We find them in every part of Scripture. Our Lord addressed men in these words: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Since all men enter the world under a burden of guilt and sin these words are, therefore, addressed to “all”. None is excluded. One of the last words in the Bible is “Come”. The Spirit and the bride say “Come”. The Church unites in uttering the same word as Christ and the Spirit. So do all who hear and obey God’s voice.

To say that this appeal to men implies that they have some measure of ability to save themselves is not true. In the matter of salvation man, of himself, can do nothing. He is utterly helpless. But there are, on the other hand, three solemn facts which confront us in relation to the offer and invitations of the Gospel. The first is that man is accountable to God. Why shall the ungodly be excluded on the last day from the presence of God? Is it because they had lost all ability to come to Christ? No. “I was a stranger and you took me not in.” He knocked at their door, but they kept it closed. How often, and in how many ways, has He knocked at your own?

Another truth is that there is something we can do. This is not a contradiction of what we have just said. We can pray. We can cry for mercy. “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He heard my cry.” It is truly God’s power and hand that rescues us from the pit of sin; but, as in the case of the Psalmist, He does this in answer to prayer. Prayer is always the expression of our inability to save ourselves. You stay as you are and you will remain where you are. Keep silent and God may keep silent also. The cry of a drowning man cannot save him, but it may bring someone to his side who can rescue him. Let me ask the Lord’s people here this question. Was it not in answer to prayer, and with your eye upon Christ crucified, that the Lord saved you? I can almost hear the still small voice of a universal “yea” within the souls of all to whom the question comes.” (Sermon on Numbers 10:29 from “The Everlasting Love” Knox Press)

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