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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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Man’s Will

Quoting English Puritan preacher and chancellor of Oxford University John Owen (1616-1683):

“If it is by our own will and choice that we are saved, then God’s purpose to convert a single soul could be frustrated. God may determine to save a soul. But after he has done all that is to be done or can be done for the saving of that soul, yet if the will remains unchanged, and God cannot do anything to renew that will, the soul will not be converted. … This is contrary to the testimonies of Christ (Mat 11:25-26; Joh 6:37; Rom 8:29). … it would all depend on man’s undetermined freedom of will whether he believes in Jesus Christ or not and salvation would be ‘of him who wills,’ and of him ‘who runs,’ and not ‘of God who shows mercy on whom he will have mercy’ (Rom 9:15-16). Thus to make God’s purpose to save by his grace depend on the wills of men is not consistent with our being the ‘workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus for good works’ (Eph 2:10). Nor, on this supposition, do men know what they pray for when they pray for their own or other men’s conversion to God.” (“A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit” by John Owen)

Do Not Hesitate To Receive The Call!

J. C. Ryle believed that great sinners could receive a great salvation from our great God. However, he offers this warning to reluctant sinners:

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. (John 7:37)

[D]o you feel anything at this very moment? Is your conscience awake and working? Are you sensible of spiritual thirst, and longing for relief? Then hear the invitation which I bring you in my Master’s name this day-“If any man,” no matter who he may be, if any man, high or low, rich or poor, learned or unlearned, “if any man thirst, let him come to Christ and drink.” Hear and accept that invitation without delay. Wait for nothing. Wait for nobody. Who can tell that you may not wait for “a convenient season” till it be too late. The hand of a living Redeemer is now held out from heaven; but it may be withdrawn. The Fountain is open now; but it may soon be closed for ever. “If any man thirst, let him come and drink” without delay. Though you have been a great sinner, and have resisted warnings, counsel, and sermons yet come. Though you have sinned against light and knowledge, against a father’s advice, and a mother’s tears, though you have lived for years without a Sabbath, and without prayer, yet come. Say not that you know not how to come, that you do not understand what it is to believe, that you must wait for more light. Will a tired man say that he is too tired to lie down or a drowning man, that he knows not how to lay hold on the hand stretched out to help him, or the shipwrecked sailor, with a lifeboat alongside the stranded hulk that he knows not how to jump in? Oh, cast away these vain excuses! Arise, and come! The door is not shut. The fountain is not yet closed. The Lord Jesus invites you. It is enough that you feel thirsting, and desire to be saved. Come! come to Christ without delay. Who ever came to the Fountain for sin and found it dry? Who ever went unsatisfied away?

[H]ave you come to Christ already, and found relief? Then come nearer, nearer still. The closer your communion with Christ the more comfort you will feel. The more you daily live by the side of the Fountain, the more you shall feel in yourself “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John iv. I 4.) You shall not only be blessed yourself, but be a source of blessing to others.

In this evil world you may not perhaps feel all the sensible comfort you could desire. But remember you cannot have two heavens. Perfect happiness is yet to come. The devil is not yet bound. There is “a good time coming” for all who feel their sins and come to Christ, and commit their thirsting soul to His keeping. When He comes again they shall be completely satisfied. They shall remember all the ways by which they were led, and see the need-be of everything that befell them. Above all, they shall wonder that they could ever live so long without Christ, and hesitate about coming to Him. (Sermon: “If Any Man!”)

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