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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Sampler

"Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him. So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together." I Samuel 31:4-6. So much death, all on that same day together. Such a bleak and grim and gory ending for I Samuel.

"Indeed, he states that 'he has chosen us in him' from eternity 'before the foundation of the world,' through no merit of our own 'but according to the purpose of divine good pleasure;' that by his death we are redeemed from the condemnation of death and freed from ruin; that we have been adopted unto him as sons and heirs by our Heavenly Father; that we have been reconciled through his blood; that, given into his protection, we are released from the danger of perishing and falling; that thus ingrafted into him we are already, in a manner, partakers of eternal life, having entered in the Kingdom of God through hope. Yet more: we experience such participation in him that, although we are still foolish in ourselves, he is our wisdom before God; while we are sinners, he is our righteousness; while we are unclean, he is our purity; while we are weak, while we are unarmed and exposed to Satan, yet ours is that power which has been given him in heaven and on earth, by which to crush Satan for us and shatter the gates of hell; while we still bear about with us the body of death, he is yet our life." Calvin's Institutes, Book III, Chapter XV, section 5. What a glorious salvation! What a glorious Savior!

"Of all contemplations under heaven, there is no contemplation so sweet and powerful as to see God in Christ and Christ first abased for us, and to see ourselves abased in Christ, and crucified in Christ, and acquitted in Christ. And then let us raise our thoughts a little higher, to see ourselves made little by little glorious in Christ; to see ourselves in him rising and ascending and sitting at the right hand of God in heavenly places; to see ourselves, by a spirit of faith, in heaven already with Christ. What a glorious sight and contemplation this is! If we first look upon ourselves as we are, we are as branches cut off from the tree, as a river cut off from the spring, that dies immediately. What is in us, except what we have derived from Christ, who is the first, the spring of all grace, the sum of all the beams that shine upon us? We are as branches cut off. Now to see Christ, and ourselves in Christ, transforms us to be like his image. It is the sweetest contemplation that can be." Richard Sibbes, Glorious Freedom

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