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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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  • March 2023
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  • Recommended Reading

Faith

Martin LutherMartin Luther:

“Faith is the ‘yes’ of the heart, a conviction on which one stakes one’s life.”

Mercy and Justice

In the words of John Calvin:

“God preordained, for his own glory and the display of His attributes of mercy and justice, a part of the human race, without any merit of their own, to eternal salvation, and another part, in just punishment of their sin, to eternal damnation.”

The Kingdom

Quoting John Calvin:

“For though we very truly hear that the kingdom of God will be filled with splendor, joy, happiness and glory, yet when these things are spoken of, they remain utterly remote from our perception, and as it were, wrapped in obscurities, until that day.”

When Grace Is Absent

According to John Calvin:

Augustine does not disagree with this when he teaches that it is a faculty of the reason and the will to choose good with the assistance of grace; evil, when grace is absent.”

“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels.”

A Fallen Man’s Firewall

Written by John Calvin:

“There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence.”

To Resist God

In the words of John Calvin:

“For there is no one so great or mighty that he can avoid the misery that will rise up against him when he resists and strives against God.”

Duty

Quoting Martin Luther:

“It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor.”

Happiness

John Calvin

From the writings of John Calvin:

[T]he happiness promised us in Christ does not consist in outward advantages–such as leading a joyous and peaceful life, having rich possessions, being safe from all harm, and abounding with delights such as the flesh commonly longs after. No, our happiness belongs to the heavenly life. (Institutes, 2, 15, 4)

Our Strength Is In Christ

John Calvin

Quoting Protestant Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564):

“Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5):

“‘I am the vine,’ says He, ‘ye are the branches. My Father is the husbandman. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me. For without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:1-5) If we cannot bear fruit of ourselves, anymore than a branch can bud after it is torn up from the ground, and deprived of moisture, we must no longer seek for any aptitude in our nature to that which is good. There is no ambiguity in this conclusion, ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ He does not say that we are too weak to be sufficient for ourselves, but reducing us to nothing, excludes every idea of ability, however diminutive.” (Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin)

The False Savior

Martin Luther

Quoting Martin Luther:

All those who do not at all times trust God and do not in all their works or sufferings, life and death, trust in His favor, grace and good-will, but seek His favor in other things or in themselves, do not keep this [First] Commandment, and practice real idolatry, even if they were to do the works of all the other Commandments, and in addition had all the prayers, obedience, patience, and chastity of all the saints combined. For the chief work is not present, without which all the others are nothing but mere sham, show and pretense, with nothing back of them… If we doubt or do not believe that God is gracious to us and is pleased with us, or if we presumptuously expect to please Him only through and after our works, then it is all pure deception, outwardly honoring God, but inwardly setting up self as a false [savior]… (“A Treaties on Good Works”)

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