• 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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Diluting Or Adding To God’s Word

J. W. Alexander

Quoting J. W. Alexander (1804-1859):

“Men have thought themselves more prudent than the All-wise. The Law has been lowered lest sinners should call it hard; the way has been hedged up, lest the blind, and the halt, and the lame, should find it too easy; the church has been barricaded with walls of ceremony, and garrisoned with ranks of officials … and the blessed Gospel, free as the air of Paradise, has been laden with conditions and restrictions, lest faith should be too simple. In every one of these, and in a thousand like ways, men show their distrust of divine revelation.” (“Distrust of the Word”, a sermon by J. W. Alexander)

No Salvation Without A New Birth

How difficult it is for us to accept that there is nothing the natural man can do to save himself. If he was told, “Think one good thought, and for it you shall go to heaven!” he could not think it to satisfy a Holy God. God must first raise him from the stink of sin, as He did Lazarus from the grave. He may do the works of a moral man—but to do the works of a man quickened and enlightened by God, is quite beyond his power as a natural man. Bishop J. C. Ryle helps us to understand:

“And He has made you alive, who were once dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1)

“If we be still our old selves, no changelings at all, the same man that we came into the world, without mortification of our corruptions, without addition of grace and sanctification, surely we must seek us another Father, we are not yet the sons of God.”—Hall, 1652.

“If you have anything less than regeneration, believe me, you can never see heaven. There is no hope of heaven until then—until you are born again.”Usher‘s Sermons.

Take it home, every man or woman that reads this paper, take it home to your own conscience, and look at it well. Some time or other, between the cradle and the grave, all who would be saved must be made alive. The words which good old Berridge had engraved on his tombstone are faithful and true, “Reader! are you born again? Remember! no salvation without a new birth.”

See now what an amazing gulf there is between the Christian in name and form—and the Christian in deed and truth. It is not the difference of one being a little better, and the other a little worse than his neighbor—it is the difference between a state of life and a state of death. The smallest blade of grass that grows upon a Highland mountain is a more noble object than the fairest wax flower that was ever formed; for it has that which no science of man can impart—has life. The most splendid marble statue in Greece or Italy is nothing by the side of the poor sickly child that crawls over the cottage floor; for with all its beauty it is dead. And the weakest member of the family of Christ is far higher and more precious in God’s eyes than the most gifted man of the world. The one lives unto God, and shall live forever—the other, with all his intellect, is still dead in sins.

Oh, you that have passed from death to life, you have reason indeed to be thankful! Remember what you once were by nature—dead. Think what you are now by grace—alive. Look at the dry bones thrown up from the graves. Such were you; and who has made you to differ? Go and fall low before the footstool of your God. Bless Him for His grace, His free distinguishing grace. Say to Him often, “Who am I, Lord that you have brought me hitherto? Why me? Why have you been merciful unto me?” (“Alive or Dead?”)

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