• 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.

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,396,214 Visits
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,269 other subscribers
  • January 2012
    M T W T F S S
  • Recommended Reading

What Can A Dead Man Do To Attain life?

John Calvin

From the desk of John Calvin:

Scripture everywhere proclaims that God finds nothing in man to arouse him to do good to him but that he comes first to man in his free generosity. For what can a dead man do to attain life? Yet when he illumines us with knowledge of himself, he is said to revive us from death (John 5:25), to make us a new creature. (2Cor. 5:17) (Institutes, 3, 14, 5)

A Wise Ministry

Ministers have a weighty responsibility for their congregations. How many godly pastors do you think would direct their flocks to “Follow me in all things”? However, the tendency of the people is to do just that. This aspect of human nature may encourage holiness or sin. The new in faith find it easier to copy a man whom they have seen than to imitate Jesus whom they have not seen. Beware that this tendency does not lead you into evil. Charles Spurgeon challenges us in the following article:

If you had wisdom, my brother, what would you do with it? Would you so use it as to make others feel your superiority? If so, you have little wisdom as yet. A minister’s wisdom lies in endeavoring to be wise for others, not cunning for himself. Some use their wisdom in a very unwise way, and curse the church which they should bless. And so you would go about the church, and put everybody right, being so wise yourself! Herein is often great folly. A man I have heard of said, “I am not at all afraid of thieves breaking into my house. If I heard a burglar, I should touch this button, and in a moment an electric current would explode dynamite in the cellar, and that would blow up the burglar and the whole establishment.” You laugh; but we have met with ministers who have acted in much the same manner. I am sorry to know a brother who has performed this feat in five or six churches. The moment he thinks that a member, especially a deacon, has gone wrong, he blows the whole thing to pieces, and calls it faithfulness. This is not acting the part of a wise father. If we have wisdom, we shall maintain peace, and shall attempt reforms with gentleness. Fathers do not kill their children because they are unphilosophical, or unsound in theology, or somewhat disobedient in conduct.

If we would be fathers, we must aim at a high degree of holiness. The query is often proposed,—is it possible for believers to be perfectly holy here on earth? That question sounds strangely from some lips. I saw a man, the other day, who had no shoes on his feet, and was only half covered by his rags. Suppose he had asked me whether I thought it was possible that he could become a millionaire, I should have answered that he had better first go and earn sixpence for his night’s lodging, and then save up enough to buy a decent suit of clothes. Thus, those who are eager to dispute about perfection had better see that their lives are first of all decently consistent with the profession they have made. Brethren, we can be much more holy than we are. Let us attain first to that holiness about which there is no controversy. At the time of the Council of Trent, there was a controversy between the Church of Rome and the Protestants as to whether it was possible for the laws of God to be kept. The question was awkwardly put, and when Luther endeavored to show that it was impossible, he seems to me to have advocated one truth at the cost of another. At any rate, we dare not set limits to the power of Divine grace, so as to say that a believer can reach a certain degree of grace, but can go no further. If a perfect life be possible, let us endeavor to obtain it. If a faith that never staggers can be ours, let us seek it. If we can walk with God as Enoch did throughout a long life, let us not rest short of it. We dare not straiten the Lord in this matter; if we be straitened at all, it is in ourselves. Let us aspire to saintliness of spirit and character. I am persuaded that the greatest power we can get over our fellowmen is the power which comes of consecration and holiness. More eyes than we know of are fixed upon our daily life at home, and in the church, and in the world. We claim to be the Lord’s ministers, and we must not wonder that we are watched at every turn; ay, watched when we think that no observer is near. Our lives should be such as men may safely copy. (“What We Would Be”)

%d bloggers like this: