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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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EVIL IS REAL

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 ESV)

Many in today’s world do not believe in evil. They believe that such ideas are based on cultural beliefs relative to various societies in different places and times. The paradigm key here is the word “relative”. Ethics, morals, right or wrong, and good or evil are considered “relative” to the circumstances people encounter in life. The idea of a spiritual being named Satan or the devil, who is an embodiment of evil, is viewed with contempt as the product of ignorant superstitious minds.

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THE CHRISTIAN MIND

Samuel A CainSet your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, (Colossians 3:2 ESV)

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. (Psalm 119:15 ESV)

My college philosophy professor once said, “The man who does not know truth will not recognize evil when it comes. The man who knows truth will also know evil.” It is through the mind of Christ that we know truth. Paul writes in Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)

Natural man is born with the predisposition to set his mind on desiring the pleasures of this world, even though they bring him sorrow. (Romans 8:5-6 ESV) If a man is born again, he has access to the mind of Christ in a way which was impossible before the Holy Spirit came to dwell in him. (1 Corinthians 2:16 ESV) This partnership of the Holy Spirit and man seeks the wisdom of Christ in order to live a holy life like Jesus. Such wisdom enables us to avoid vain “philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8 ESV) Continue reading

Our Thoughts May Also Be Sins

Have you ever considered your thought life? Thomas Goodwin explains how our thoughts become our enemies:

O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long shall your wicked thoughts lodge within you? (Jeremiah 4:14 ESV)

And because this is the sense I chiefly must insist on in handling the vanity of the thoughts, and also men usually think that thoughts are free, I will therefore prove this to you, which is the only doctrine raised, that thoughts are sins. . . .

They are to be repented of; yea, repentance is expressed as to begin at them: so, Isa. lv. 7, ‘Let the unrighteous man forsake his thoughts.’ And a man is never truly and thoroughly wrought on, as 2 Cor, x. 4, 6, till ‘every thought be brought into obedience;’ which argues that they are naturally rebellious, and contrary to grace. And this also argues the power of grace, which is able to rule and to subdue so great an army as our thoughts are, and command them all, as one day it will do, when we are perfectly holy.

They defile the man; which nothing defiles but sin: Matt. xv. 18, 19, ‘Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts; these defile the man.’ They are an abomination to the Lord, who hates nothing but sin, and whose ‘pure eyes can endure to behold no iniquity,’ Hab. i. 13. As good meditations are acceptable, Ps. xix. 14, so, by the rule of contrary, bad are abominable.

They hinder all good we should do, and spoil our best performances. Vain thoughts draw the heart away in them, that when a man should draw nigh to God, his heart, by reason of his thoughts, is ‘far off from him,’ Isa. xxix. 13. A man’s heart goes after his covetousness, when he should hear, as the prophet speaks, because his thoughts thus run. Now, nothing else but sin could separate; and what doth estrange us from God is sin, and enmity to him.

Our thoughts are the first motioners of all the evil in us. For they make the motion, and also bring the heart and object together, are panders to our lusts, hold up the object till the heart hath played the adulterer with it, and committed folly: so in speculative uncleanness, and in other lusts, they hold up the images of those gods they create, which the heart falls down and worships; they present credit, riches, beauty, till the heart hath worshipped them, and this when the things themselves are absent.

Our Inability To See Us

Quoting Paul David Tripp:

“Sin lives in a costume; that’s why it’s so hard to recognize. The fact that sin looks so good is one of the things that make it so bad. In order for it to do its evil work, it must present itself as something that is anything but evil. Life in a fallen world is like attending the ultimate masquerade party. Impatient yelling wears the costume of a zeal for truth. Lust can masquerade as a love for beauty. Gossip does its evil work by living in the costume of concern and prayer. Craving for power and control wears the mask of biblical leadership. Fear of man gets dressed up as a servant heart. The pride of always being right masquerades as a love for biblical wisdom. Evil simply doesn’t present itself as evil, which is part of its draw. You’ll never understand sin’s sleight of hand until you acknowledge that the DNA of sin is deception. Now, what this means personally is that as sinners we are all very committed and gifted self-swindlers. … We’re all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good.” (Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy, p. 32)

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