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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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DO GOOD

JohnCalvinJohn Calvin:

The Lord enjoins us to do good to all without exception, though the greater part, if estimated by their own merit, are most unworthy of it. But Scripture subjoins a most excellent reason, when it tells us that we are not to look to what men in themselves deserve, but to attend to the image of God, which exists in all, and to which we owe all honor and love. But in those who are of the household of faith, the same rule is to be more carefully observed, inasmuch as that image is renewed and restored in them by the Spirit of Christ. Therefore, whoever be the man that is presented to you as needing your assistance, you have no ground for declining to give it to him.

Say he is a stranger. The Lord has given him a mark which ought to be familiar to you: for which reason he forbids you to despise your own flesh, (Gal. vi. 10.) Say he is mean and of no consideration. The Lord points him out as one whom he has distinguished by the luster of his own image, (Isaiah lviii. 7.) Say that you are bound to him by no ties of duty. The Lord has substituted him as it were into his own place, Continue reading

The Image of God

John Calvin:

“The Lord commands us to do good unto all men without exception, though the majority are very undeserving when judged according to their own merits… [The Scripture] teaches us that we must not think of man’s real value, but only of his creation in the image of God to which we owe all possible honor and love.” (Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life)

The Influence Of Christianity On Western Democracy

Quoting Chuck Colson:

The concepts of human rights and liberty as we know them can all be traced back to one history-changing idea; an idea that began with God’s revelation to the Jews and was brought to the world by the Christian church.

And that’s the Imago Dei, the idea that man is made in the image of God.

In fact, it was the Christian concept of the Imago Dei that conquered pagan Rome. The Christians said that women, slaves, children, all had eternal value. Talk about revolutionary!

This belief in the value of every human eventually gave rise to classic liberalism (which emphasizes individual freedom) and to Western liberal democracy. Even the great classical liberal philosophers, Locke, Kant, Humboldt, all acknowledged the West’s indebtedness to Christianity and its principles. It’s no coincidence that the greatest document of human liberty ever written, the Declaration of Independence, states that it is self-evident that “all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.”

Read more here. . . .

The Idol Factory

Quoting Richard Gaffin:

Because we are, each of us, the image of God, we will worship, in fact we must worship, someone or something, either our original, as we should, or, with the illusion that we are the original or our own ultimate point of reference, ourselves. If the latter, we will give ourselves over, with the full, still efficient resources of our imaging capacities, to some figment, some distorted image, focused on ourselves or on some aspect of the world, ultimately seen as an extension of ourselves. What Calvin observed long ago is no less true today: the human heart, our image-bearing and image-fashioning nature, is an idol factory. (“Speech and the Image of God”)

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