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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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CHRIST’S SALVATION

A. W. Pink:

A. W. Pink“The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.”

THE CHRISTIAN SEES …

J. C. RyleJ. C. Ryle:

“He sees by faith an unseen Savior, who loved him, gave Himself for him, paid his debts for him, bore his sins, carried his transgressions, rose again for him, and appears in Heaven for him as his Advocate at the right hand of God. He sees Jesus — and clings to Him. Seeing this Savior and trusting in Him — he feels peace and hope and willingly does battle against the foes of his soul.

He sees his own many sins, his own weak heart, a tempting world, a busy devil — and if he looked only at them, he might well despair. BUT he sees also a mighty Savior, an interceding Savior, a sympathizing Savior — His blood, His righteousness, His everlasting priesthood — and he believes that all this is his own. He sees Jesus — and casts his whole weight on Him. Seeing Him, he cheerfully fights on, with a full confidence that he will prove more than conqueror through Him that loved him (Romans 8:37).” (The Gospel of John)

Peace on Earth

The Logos International Bible CommentaryChristmas PointsettiasThe Logos International Bible Commentary:

The birth of the Lord means peace on earth, but only for those “on whom his favor rests.” Indeed, the Savior’s birth is a meaningless gesture by the appraisal of many persons. But for those people who receive Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord, they find the peace that can only come from the favor or grace of God.

Deliverance Not Limited

If you are alive, you will face troubles. When trouble comes, we suffer. But when trouble comes twice, three times and more in quick succession – we agonize and cry for mercy. Charles H. Spurgeon comforts us with the following thoughts:

“He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee” (Job 5:19).

Eliphaz in this spoke the truth of God. We may have as many troubles as the workdays of the week, but the God who worked on those six days will work for us till our deliverance is complete. We shall rest with Him and in Him on our Sabbath. The rapid succession of trials is one of the sorest tests of faith. Before we have recovered from one blow it is followed by another and another till we are staggered. Still, the equally quick succession of deliverances is exceedingly cheering. New songs are rung out upon the anvil by the hammer of affliction, till we see in the spiritual world the anti-type of “the Harmonious Blacksmith.” Our confidence is that when the LORD makes our trials six, six they will be and no more. It may be that we have no rest day, for seamen troubles come upon us. What then? “In seven there shall be no evil touch thee.” Evil may roar at us, but it shall be kept at more than arm’s length and shall not even touch us. Its hot breath may distress us, but its little finger cannot be laid upon us. With our loins girt about us, we will meet the six or the seven troubles and leave fear to those who have no Father, no Savior, and no Sanctifier. (Faith’s Checkbook)

Our Security In The Unchanging Christ

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 ESV)

God has set a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness. On that day God will judge the secrets of men. Let the wicked flatter themselves that the idea of any coming to judgment is simply ridiculous. They have spoken lies. One day, however, when they see the Lamb of God whom they have scorned, they will cry out to the mountains and rocks to fall upon them.

The mercy of Christ is everlasting; His truth endures from generation to generation. The same gracious Savior that He was yesterday to our fathers, He is today to us. All want a part of the comfort offered, but without the hand of faith they wait in vain. There is no deficiency in Him; but is there none in you? Whatsoever Christ is, what are you? He forgave Mary Magdalene many sins; and so He will forgive you, if you can shed Mary’s tears. When any man shall prove to be such a sinner, He will not fail to be such a Savior.

Today He is yours, if today you will be His. What if dark death prevents tomorrow’s light? He was yesterday, so were you: He is today, so are you: He is tomorrow, but maybe you will not be. Time may change you, although it cannot change Him. He is not subject to natural change like you.

You have lost yesterday carelessly; you are losing today willfully and therefore you may lose eternal life and heaven inevitably. He that was yesterday the God of Abraham is today our God and He will forever be the God of our children.

Many parents worry about how their children will do when they are dead; yet they forget how God provided for them when they were children. Is the Lord’s arm shortened? Cannot this experience of His mercy to you, persuade you that He will not forsake your own children? Is not Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever?

There are untrusting parents who are so anxious for their children, that while they live they starve their bodies and hazard their souls to leave their children wealthy. In their folly, they fear leaving their children miserable; yet such parents take the only course to make them miserable; for they leave them not so much heirs to their goods as to their evils. The good man, on the other hand, is merciful, and shares what he has with the poor. Habits which the secular man thinks shall make his children poor. Trust Christ with your children; Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Grace and peace are from Him who is, and was, and is to come; so glory and honor to Him, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.

For My Portion Give Me Christ

Thomas Adams

From the pen of Thomas Adams:

‘Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.’ (Heb. 13:8)

By the name of Jehovah was God known to Israel, from the time of the first mission of Moses to them, and their manumission out of Egypt, and not before. For, saith God to Moses, ‘I appeared unto Abraham, and to Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them,’ Exodus. 6:3. This I AM is an eternal word, comprehending three times: ‘that was, that is, and is to come.’

Now, to testify the equality of the Son to the Father, the Scripture gives the same eternity to Jesus that it doth to Jehovah. He is called Alpha and Omega, ‘the First and the Last: which is, which was, and which is to come,’ Rev. 1 and here, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.’ Therefore he was, not only Christus Dei, the anointed of God, but Christus Deus,’ God himself anointed; seeing that eternity, which hath neither beginning nor ending, is only exclusive and proper to God.

The words may be distinguished into a centre, a circumference, and a mediate line, referring the one to the other. The immovable centre is Jesus Christ. The circumference, which runs round about him here, is eternity: ‘Yesterday, to-day, and for ever.’ The mediate line referring them is the same: ‘Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.’

The centre is Jesus Christ. Jesus was his proper name, Christ his appellative. Jesus a name of his nature, Christ of his office and dignity; as divines speak.

Jesus, a name of all sweetness, (Bernard: Honey in the mouth, music in the ear, joy in the heart.) a Reconciler, a Redeemer, a Savior. When the conscience wrestles with law, sin, and death, there is nothing but horror and despair without Jesus. He is ‘the way, the truth, and the life;’ without him, error, deception, and death. Saith Bernard: “If thou write to me, thy letter doth not please me, unless I read there Jesus. If thou converse, thy discourse is not sweet, without the name of Jesus. The blessed restorer of all, of more than all that Adam lost; for we have gotten more by his regenerating grace than we lost by Adam’s degenerating sin.

Christ is the name of his office; being appointed and anointed of God a king, a priest, a prophet.

This Jesus Christ is our Savior: of whose names I forbear further discourse, being unable, though I had the tongue of angels, to speak aught worthy. All that can be said is but a little; but I must say but a little in all. But of all names given to our Redeemer, still Jesus is the sweetest. Other, saith Bernard, are names of majesty; Jesus is a name of mercy. The Word of God, the Son of God, the Christ of God, are titles of glory; Jesus, a Savior, is a title of grace, mercy, and redemption. This Jesus Christ is the centre of this text; and not only of this, but of the whole Scripture. The sum of divinity is the Scripture; the sum of the Scripture is the gospel; the sum of the gospel is Jesus Christ. There is nothing contained in the word of God, but God the word.

Nor is he the centre only of his word, but of our rest and peace. ‘I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified,’ 1 Cor. 2:2. Thou hast made us for thee, O Christ; and our heart is unquiet till it rest in thee. It is natural to everything, to desire the centre. But ‘our life is hid with Christ in God,’ Col. 3:3. We must needs love, where we must live. Our mind is where our pleasure is, our heart is where our treasure is, our love is where our life is; but all these, our pleasure, treasure, life, are reposed in Jesus Christ. Thou art my portion, O Lord,’ saith David. Take the world that pleases, let our portion be in Christ.

The Unchanging Christ

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 ESV)

The Bible describes the eternity of Jesus Christ in the same way that it does of God the Father. Jesus is called Alpha and Omega, “the First and the Last: which is, which was, and which is to come,” “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.”

Jesus is His proper name, Christ His title. Jesus is a name of His nature. Christ is the name of His office. He is a Reconciler, a Redeemer, and a Savior. He has been appointed and anointed of God a king, a priest, and a prophet.

This Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is the center of this text; and not only of this, but of the whole Scripture. The sum of divinity is the Scripture; the sum of the Scripture is the gospel; the sum of the gospel is Jesus Christ. There is nothing contained in the Word of God, but God the Word. Our mind is where our pleasure is, our heart is where our treasure is, our love is where our life is; but all these, our pleasure, treasure, and life can only be found in Jesus Christ. Let others take the pleasures of the world, but let our part be in Jesus Christ.

There is no mutability in Christ; “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17 ESV) In the “Father of lights” there is no changeableness. The sun has his shadow; but the “Sun of Righteousness” is without shadow. He loves us to the end and there is no end to His love. The covenant of God will not be broken. The Lord says, “And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.” (Hosea 2:19-20 ESV) This marriage-bond shall never be broken. We do not place our confidence in worldly things, because they are fleeting. “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” (Psalm 125:1 ESV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.

This persuades us to imitate Christ’s steadfastness. Let the certainty of his mercy to us work loyalty in our love for Him. The God of constancy would have His people to be constant. If God preordained a Savior for man, before He had either made man, or man marred himself, then surely He meant that nothing should separate us from His eternal love in that Savior.

God continually, by His Spirit, applies to our consciences the virtue of his death and passion. “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3 ESV) “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17 ESV)

We owe, then, ourselves to Christ for our creation; but how much more for our redemption? If I owe Him my whole self for making me, what have I left to pay Him for redeeming me?

God upholds all things by the Word of His power. The wicked may have outward blessings without inward, and that is Esau’s reward without his birthright; but the elect have inward blessings, though they lack outward, and that is Jacob’s inheritance without his pottage. His mercy is everlasting; His truth endures from generation to generation. The same gracious Savior that He was yesterday to our fathers is He today to us, if we are today faithful to Him. All reach for this comfort, but in vain without the hand of faith. There is no deficiency in Him; but is there none in you? Whatsoever Christ is, what are you? He forgave Mary Magdalene many grievous sins; so He will forgive you, if you can shed Mary Magdalene’s tears. He took the malefactor from the cross to Paradise; there He will receive you if you have the same faith. He was merciful to a denying apostle; you are challenged to like mercy, if you have like repentance. If we will be like these, Christ, assuredly, will be ever like Himself. When any man shall prove to be such a sinner, He will not fail to be such a Savior.

The Chief Object Of Our Love

From the desk of John Fawcett:

Christian! Jesus is your Savior, your Friend, and your Portion!

  • You are guilty—His blood cleanses from all sin.
  • You are miserable—He is rich in mercy.
  • You are helpless—He is mighty to save.
  • You are impoverished—His riches are unsearchable.

His treasures of grace are inexhaustible! There is an inexhaustible fullness in Him, answerable to all your necessities—be they ever so many, or ever so great. He is the ever-flowing, the over-flowing fountain of living waters. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think. It has pleased the Father, that in Him all fullness should dwell. Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness. His kindness and mercy are unbounded.

If the kindness of men has a tendency to win your hearts—how much more should the infinite love of Jesus constrain you to love Him! He is precious in the glorious perfections of His person, His transcendent worth, and His all-surpassing excellency. Surely then, it is reasonable, it is highly proper—that He should be chief the object of your love! (“Christ Precious”)

In The Hands Of A Holy God

From the desk of R. C. Sproul:

The problem is simply this: If God is just and requires perfection from me and I come short of that perfection and he is going to deal with me according to justice, then I am looking at a future punishment at the hands of a holy God. If the only way I can escape punishment is through a Savior and if I want to escape that, then I need a Savior. Some people will say that we’re just trying to preach Jesus as a ticket out of hell, as a way to escape eternal punishment. That’s not the only reason I would commend Jesus to people, but that is one of the reasons.

I think that many people in today’s culture don’t really believe that God is going to hold them accountable for their lives—that God really does not require righteousness. When we take that view, we don’t feel the weight of the threat of judgment. If you’re not afraid to deal with God’s punishment, then be happy as a clam if you want. I would be living in terrible fear and trembling at the prospect of falling into the hands of a holy God.

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