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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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Complaining

Trusting GodJerry Bridges:

Complaining about the weather seems to be a favorite American pastime. Sadly, we Christians often get caught up in this ungodly habit in our society. But when we complain about the weather, we are actually complaining against God who sent us our weather. We are, in fact, sinning against God. (Trusting God, p. 96)

Advent

Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes… and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.

Holly

Manifest in the Flesh

John CalvinIt is impossible for us to truly know Jesus Christ unless we understand His manhood. We must know that Jesus Christ is God and man, and likewise that He is one person. According to John Calvin:

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)

Christ was made manifest in the flesh: that is to say, became man; like unto us in all things, sin only excepted (Heb. 4:15). Where he saith, sin only excepted, he means that our Lord Jesus was without fault or blemish. Yet notwithstanding, He refused not to bear our sins: He took this burden upon Himself, that we through His grace might be unburdened. We cannot know Jesus Christ to be a mediator between God and man, unless we behold Him as man. When St. Paul would embolden us to call upon God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, he expressly calls Him man.

St. Paul saith, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5). Under this consideration, we may in His name and by His means come familiarly to God, knowing that we are His brethren, and He the Son of God. Seeing there is nothing but sin in mankind, we must also find righteousness and life in our flesh. Therefore if Christ The Birth of Jesushas not truly become our brother, if He has not been made man like unto us, in what condition are we? Let us now consider His life and passion.

It is said (speaking of Christ), “But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26). And why so? St. Paul shows us the reason in Romans 5:18. “As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” If we know not this, that the sin which was committed in our nature, was repaired in the self-same nature, in what situation are we? Upon what foundation can we stay ourselves? Therefore, the death of our Lord Jesus Christ could not profit us one whit, unless He had been made man, like unto us.

Again, if Jesus Christ were only God, could we have any certainty or pledge in His resurrection, that we should one day rise again? It is true that the Son of God rose again; when we hear it said, that the Son of God took upon Him a body like unto ours, came of the stock of David, that He is risen again (seeing our nature is of itself corruptible), and is lifted up on high unto glory, in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, “we are made to sit Christmas Pointsettiastogether in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6) Therefore, those that went about to bring to naught man’s nature, in the person of the Son of God, are to be the more detested. For the devil raised up in old times some individuals who declared that Jesus Christ appeared in the shape of man, but had not man’s true nature: thereby endeavoring to abolish God’s mercy towards us, and utterly destroy our faith. (“The Mystery of Godliness”)

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