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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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UNREGENERATE MEN

john_gillJohn Gill:

It must be denied, that wicked, unregenerate men, have a power to perform good works in a spiritual manner; which is evident from their natural estate and condition, according to the scriptural representation of it, which is this: that the bias of their minds is to that which is evil, and to that only; that they are wholly carnal, and mind nothing else but the things of the flesh; that they are weak and strengthless, yea, dead in trespasses and sins; nay, that they are under an impossibility to do that which is spiritually good; There is none that doeth good, no, not one of them, nor are they able; they are not subject to the law of God, nor can they be.

When the Ethiopian changes his skin, and the leopard his spots, then may they also do good, who are accustomed to do evil. Men may expect as soon to gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles, as good fruit to grow upon, or good works to be performed by, unregenerate men; no, they must be created in Christ Jesus, have the Spirit of Christ put into them, and his grace implanted in them; they must be believers in him, before they are capable of doing that which is spiritually good. And even believers themselves are not able to think a good thought or perform a good work of themselves; it is God who works in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (The Cause of God and Truth)

Good Works

John GillJohn Gill, D.D.:

If you do well, will you not be accepted? (Genesis 4:7 ESV)

Adam had a power to do every good work the law required; which men, since the fall, have not. Men indeed, in an unregenerate state, might do many things which they do not; such as reading the Scriptures, attending on public worship, etc. No doubt but the persons in the parable, who were invited to the dinner, could have gone to it, had they had a will, as well as the one did to his farm, and the other to his merchandise. Men have an equal power, had they an heart, a will, an inclination, to go to a place of divine worship, as to a tavern, or alehouse; but it is easy to observe, that persons oftentimes have it in the power of their hands, when they have it not in the power of their hearts, to do a good work; as a rich man to give alms to the poor. Unregenerate men are capable of performing works, which are in a natural and civil, though not in a spiritual sense, good. They may do those things, which externally, in appearance, and as to the matter and substance of them, may be good; such as hearing, reading, praying, giving alms to the poor, etc., when the circumstances requisite to good works are wanting; for whatsoever is done as a good work, must be done in obedience to the will of God; from a principle of love to him; must be performed in faith; in the name of Christ, and to the glory of God by him. (The Cause of God and Truth)

Good Deeds Must be Performed in Faith

John GillJohn Gill:

Adam had a power to do every good work the law required; which men, since the fall, have not. Men indeed, in an unregenerate state, might do many things which they do not; such as reading the Scriptures, attending on public worship, etc.

No doubt but the persons in the parable, who were invited to the dinner, could have gone to it, had they had a will, as well as the one did to his farm, and the other to his merchandise. Men have an equal power, had they an heart, a will, an inclination, to go to a place of divine worship, as to a tavern, or alehouse; but it is easy to observe, that persons oftentimes have it in the power of their hands, when they have it not in the power of their hearts, to do a good work; as a rich man to give alms to the poor. Continue reading

He Will Watch Over You

John GillJohn Gill:

For the eyes f the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him. (2 CHRONICLES 16:9)

The Omniscience of God reaches throughout the world, and to all creatures. He looks down from heaven, and beholds the sons of men; he looks upon the inhabitants of the earth, and considers all their works, whether they be good or bad. His eyes are upon the ways of men, whether right or wrong. He beholds all their goings, every step they take, whether in or out of the way of God. There is no darkness nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves for the darkness and the light are both alike to him. He fills heaven and earth with his presence. His general providence reaches to all creatures. He preserves man and beast; not only upholds them in their beings, but supplies their wants. The eyes of all are upon him, and he satisfies the desire of every living thing. As in one age of the world and another, he has a people in various parts of the earth: so the all-seeing eye of his providence has been concerned, in a special manner with them; and extends to them, be they where they will. The children of God, those whom he hath predestined to the adoption of children, according to the council of his will from everlasting, are said to be scattered abroad; some are in once place, and some in another. Hence Christ is said to come to gather these together, to reconcile them to God, by being a propitiation, not for the sins of the Jews only, but for all the people of God throughout the whole world: therefore, when he gave a commission to his ministering servants, he bid them go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; He so orders it in providence, that he either sends the gospel to them, or he brings them to it; or, however, calls them by his grace, and encourages them to look unto Christ, who says, Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. Hence we read of songs of praise from the uttermost parts of the earth (Isa. 24:16); songs of electing, redeeming, justifying, pardoning, adopting, regenerating, and sanctifying grace, from persons in the uttermost parts of the earth, that are partakers of his grace. . . .

When, therefore, his eyes are said to run to and fro throughout the whole earth, on the behalf of these; we are not to suppose any local motion, or change of place, in God; for he is omnipresent. Though he is said, sometimes, in condescension to our capacities, to bow the heavens and come down, and to return to his place; yet these expressions are to be understood after the manner of men; and not as true in a literal sense. When his eyes are said to run to and fro, it is expressive of his watchfulness over his people. As those who are watchful look here and there, and are very diligent in their observations; so the Lord watches over his people. … He opens his eyes upon such poor worthless creatures as we are; for he that keeps Israel that watches over them, neither slumbers nor sleeps. The phrase is expressive of his readiness, and swiftness, to assist his people in times of difficulty and distress; and answers to that request of the church, where she says, Make haste, my Beloved, and be thou like to a roe, or to a young hart, upon the mountains of spices. Thus the Lord is a present help in time of trouble. He is ready at hand to assist his people: he helps them, and that right early. His eyes run to and fro, here and there, on their behalf; and this in order to counter-work Satan, who is said to go to and fro in the earth (Job 1:7); and is by the apostle represented as a roaring lion, that goes, about seeking whom he may devour. Now the eyes of the Lord run to and fro through the earth, to counter-work this adversary; to watch over his people, that they may not be hurt and destroyed by him. He hath, as before observed, those that are the objects of his love and care, in various parts of the earth and his eyes run to and fro everywhere on their behalf. Fear not, I will be with thee, I will bring thy seed (spiritual converts) from the East, and gather them from the West. I will say the North give up, and to the South keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends the earth. Thus you see what is the meaning of this figurative expression, and the propriety of using this phrase; because of the people of God being in different parts of the world, and because of the exquisite care the Lord takes of them. They are under his special notice; and therefore let them be where they will, his eyes are upon them. (“THE EYES OF THE LORD UPON, AND HIS POWER ENGAGED ON THE BEHALF OF THOSE WHO’S HEARTS ARE UPRIGHT TOWARDS HIM”)

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