• 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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Christians Should Be …

Albert BarnesAlbert Barnes:

Christians should be grave and serious, though cheerful and pleasant. They should feel that they have great interests at stake, and that the world has too. They are redeemed—not to make sport; purchased with precious blood—for other purposes than to make men laugh. They are soon to be in heaven—and a man who has any impressive sense of that will habitually feel he has much else to do than to make men laugh. The true course of life is midway between moroseness and levity; sourness and lightness; harshness and jesting. Be benevolent, kind, cheerful, bland, courteous—but serious. Be solemn, thoughtful, deeply impressed with the presence of God and with eternal things—but pleasant affable and benignant. Think not a smile sinful; but think not levity and jesting harmless.

Justification and Sanctification

Martin Luther by Ron AdairMartin Luther:

“There is no justification without sanctification, no forgiveness without renewal of life, no real faith from which the fruits of new obedience do not grow.”

False Zeal

Bishop J. C. RyleFor zeal to be true biblical zeal, it must conform to the mind of Christ. It most certainly must be in accord with God’s Word. According to J. C. Ryle:

“It is always good to be zealous in a good cause.” (Galatians 4:18)

There is such a thing as zeal from more selfishness. There are times when it is men’s interest to be zealous in religion. Power and patronage are sometimes given to godly men. The good things of the world are sometimes to be attained by wearing a cloak of religion. And whenever this is the case, there is no lack of false zeal. Such was the zeal of Joab, when he served David. Such was the zeal of only too many Englishmen in the days of the Commonwealth, when the Puritans were in power.

There is such a thing as zeal from the love of praise. Such was the zeal of Jehu, when he was putting down the worship of Baal. Remember how he met Jonadab the son of Rechab, and said, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord.” Such is the zeal that Bunyan refers to in Pilgrim’s Progress, when he speaks of some who went “for praise” to mount Zion. Some people feed on the praise of their fellow creatures. They would rather have it from Christians than have none at all.

Ah! Reader, it is a sad and humbling proof of man’s corruption, that there is no degree of self-denial and self-sacrifice to which men may not go from false motives. It does not follow that a man’s religion is true, because he “gives his body to be burned,” or because he gives his “goods to feed the poor.” The Apostle Paul tells us that a man may do this, and yet not have true charity. It does not follow because men go into a wilderness, and become hermits, that therefore they know what true self-denial is. It does not follow because people immure themselves in monasteries and nunneries, or become sisters of charity, and sisters of mercy, that therefore, they know what true crucifixion of the flesh and self-sacrifice is, in the sight of God. All these things people may do on wrong principles. They may do them from wrong motives—to satisfy a secret pride and love of notoriety—but not from the true motive of zeal for the glory of God! All such zeal, let us understand, is false. It is of earth, and not of heaven. (“Be Zealous”)

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