George Galis…o privire in trecut…sosirea in Statele Unite

Iata-ma in sfirsit in ultimul zbor spre tara mult dorita. Ma framantau gandurile daca Pavel Balos o sa ma astepte, daca nu el  cine, unde voi locui, ce fel de frati sunt in Chicago? Dar am contat pe Pavel stiindu-l ca fiind un frate bun si descurcaret. Prima impresie despre America m-a socat cind din avion la aterizarea spre New York, am privit zgariie norii  si orasul in toata splendoarea lui cu lumini feerice, ca intr-o lume de basm. Dupa ce am fost imbarcati pe un alt avion spre Chicago, emotiile mele cresteau, tot mai mult dar am reusit sa le stapinesc.

Biserica din Chicago Sud 1975

Odata sosit la Chicago, dezorientat am iesit si eu cu multimea de pasageri,si deodata din acea multime de oameni am auzit o voce care a zis cu glas  tare: Iata-l pe fratele Galis! Si dintr-odata vreo zece frati adunati in jurul meu au spus cu toti in cor: Bine ai venit frate Galis, apoi imediat dupa aceia un frate mai mic de statura si slabut pe care nu-l stiam, s-a apropiat de mine si mi-a spus: tu frate Galis vi sa locuiesti la mine  pana iti vine familia. Am aflat ca era Fr. Sima Onciu, care mi-a devenit cel mai bun prieten aici in USA.

Familiile Sima Onciu, Isfan,Strizu,Ramiant,Trifu

In seara aceia aveam o casa asigurata pana cind  imi va veni familia. Ce minunat este Dumnezeu, care implineste tot ce a promis. Aveam pregatit un pat in camera pentru mine, locuind in aceiasi camera cu Moise, care era fiul cel mai mare al fratelui Sima. Acolo am locuit timp de un an si mai bine, pana a venit si familia mea. Doua luni de zile au durat pana mi-am gasit un loc de munca, pe care Dumnezeu mi la dat, ca ajutor de intretinere la un bloc cu
apartamente de pe Strada Pine Grove cu Diversey. Acolo am lucrat timp de un an de zile, dupa care in  anul 1972 am fost angajat la Columbus Hospital de pe Lake View, de unde m-am si pensionat in anul 2002. Slava Sa-i fie adusa lui Dumnezeu si pentru aceasta mare binecuvantare pe care El mi-a dat-o pe tot timpul slujirii mele ca Pastor la Biserica Filadelfia, din data de 20 Septembrie 1973 pana in Octombrie 1984, cand am  predat biserica Pastorului Petru Lascau,dar la care am continuat sa slujesc in continuare ca Pastor Associat.De la familia Onciu am aflat caci noi

Aurel Damian, Ion Pinzaru, George Galis

ne aflam in partea de Sud a orasului Chicago, caci aici cartierele sunt asezate pe nationalitati astfel : In Sud se afla cartierul  de polonezi, iugoslavi, slovaci, afro-americani,   mexicani, iar in partea de Nord erau scotieni, germani, francezi, romani, unguri, italieni si o parte din spanioli. Fratii care au avut un impact puternic in viata mea aici in Chicago la inceput au fost frati romani din Banatul Iugoslav. Familiile: Onciu Sima, Trifu Valer, Ionel Ramaiantu si altii.

Cand eu am ajuns in Chicago, Biserica inca nu avea un locas propriu de inchinare , ci s-au rentat case de rugaciune unde noi ne adunam in timpul disponibil al acelor biserici. Biserica din South, cum se numea atunci, era plina de dragoste frateasca. Fratii erau primitori de oaspeti. La venirea mea s-a facut o masa de dragoste.

In Ianuarie 1972 am fost ales in comitetul bisericii. Am sa redau pentru invatatura celor ce vor citi aceste rinduri urmatoarea intamplare, acesta a fost primul meu test ca membru in comitetul bisericii. Pastorul ma imprumutase cu suma de 3000 de dolari ca sa-i pun in contul Ambasadei Romane de atunci la Contul Inundatiilor ce au avut loc in Romania in anul 1970. Consulul ne-a spus ca daca si voi simtiti cu tara si noi va vom ajuta sa va aduceti familiile cat mai repede. Adevarul este ca banii donati pentru acest cont au avut efect, caci familia mea a venit la un an dupa ce am complectat actele. Fratele Pastor cand mi-a dat banii mi-a spus: Ti-i las pana cand tu poti sa mi-i dai inapoi. Intre timp s-a ivit o discutie contradictorie intre Pastor si un frate din Biserica. Pentru caci ceialalti din comitet nu spuneau nimic, Pastorul m-a intrebat pe mine: D-ta ce zici am dreptate sau nu? Eu analizind problema am spus: Frate Pastor nu aveti dreptate. La care pastorul mi-a spus suparat : Sa-mi dai banii inapoi chiar acum. Dar bine fr. Pastor nu-i am acuma acesti bani. Nu ma intereseaza mi-a spus el.In momentul acela fratele caruia pe buna dreptate i-am aparat cauza dreapta, a scos un check  cu suma pe care o datoram fratelui Pastor. Pastorul a luat check-ul, si lucrurile s-au linistit. Nu la mult timp dupa acest incident fratele care mi-a imprumutat suma platindu-i Pastorului, are din nou un conflict cu un alt frate, si acuma el imi cere parerea daca are dreptate, dar de data aceasta era vinovat si ii spun: Ioane nu ai dreptate!  Suparat atunci el mi-a spus: Sa-mi dai banii inapoi chiar acum! Uimit de ce se intimpla, nu mai aveam cuvint, nu-mi venea sa cred ce auzeam. In acele momente de tacere si tensiune, fratele Pastor fiind acolo a inceput sa vorbeasca, zicind: Frate Galis acum vad ca esti un om al dreptatii, uite aici un check de 3000 de dolari ce-i datorezi. Imi pare rau de felul cum am procedat ultima oara si-ti cer iertarea, iar bani poti sa mi-i dai inapoi cind vei putea.

Totusi Biserica crestea numeric si se intarea in Domnul. In Biserica a mai venit dupa aceia si fratele Ioan Panzarul, un bun evanghelist si invatator care a stabilizat Biserica. In Biserica din South eram cateva familii cari aveam viziunea ca sa cumparam Locas de Inchinare in partea de Nord in mijlocul comunitati Romanesti, dar fratii din Banatul Iugoslav, aveau case si propietati in partea de sud, si ei au cautat si au cumparat o Biserica in sud pe 59 Streets, colt cu California. Noi le-am spus cand voi cumparati Biserica aici in South noi vom pleca pasnic si vom deschide o Biserica in Nord. Acest lucru s-a intimplat in mod pasnic: urmatoarele familii ne-am deslipit de fratii din South:Familia Ion Strizu, Samuila Isfan, George Galis, Petre Reman, Ghita Munteanu, Dorel Micula, Willy Reman, Nicolae Garneata, aceste familii si copiii totalizand 35 de suflete. Acest lucru s-a intamplat in luna Septembrie 1973. Urmeaza Bazele Bisericii din nord.

Familia Valer Trifu si Sima Onciu

Familia Valer Trifu

Sima si Lidia Onciu, Samuil Isfan, George Galis, Familia Negrau

Click pentru alte articole de George Galis:

George Galis Post – O privire in trecut… Romania

George Galis – o privire in trecut… Lagarul din Austria

George Galis…o privire in trecut…cum mi-am facut o biblioteca la virsta de 12 ani

George Galis interviu la Televiziunea Romana Internationala

Formatia Omega – Cintari ziditoare

Citeva cintari ale formatiei Omega, din care face parte familia unui bun prieten al fratelui Galis, Ion Curescu.

‘Ceru-ntreg te-asteapta’ solo Claudia Curescu

‘Iti multumesc Isuse’

‘Sfintenia Ta’

‘Riul vietii’ Solo – Adi Tise

Poezia ‘Dimineata’, autor Ion Curescu

Fratele Ion Curescu este un  prieten bun al familiei Galis; el este un om care-l iubeste pe Domnul Isus Hristos, si este un prieten adevarat.  Poezia aceasta este compusa de Ion Curescu, si apare in Volumul  I a cartii  sale  intitulate  –          PICURI DIN SUFLET.

Dimineata

Cind cerul isi deschide geana si apare linia dealului in zare,

Iar nori de neguri se retrag niciunde si din camara lui si soarele rasare,

Apare dimineata ca-ntr-o taina, cu ea parca se naste alta viata,

Cind dintre neguri mohorite ca-ntr-o haina, in suflet parca-mi da in soapta o povata.

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Vezi, suflete, cum se destrama neguri cind soarele zvicneste dupa dealuri?

La fel pacatul piere-atunci cind din poveri Isus iti face daruri.

De-abia atunci tu sti ce e povara, cind simti ca n-o mai ai in tine,

Atunci cunosti ce-i viata cea murdara, cind pacea lui Isus in tine vine.

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Atunci, de-abia atunci cunosti pacatul, cind vine ceasul desteptarii.

Pina atunci ai stat in bezna, n-ai stiut ce-i ziua-n geana zarii.

De-abia atunci cind soarele strapunge cu razele-ntunericul din lume,

Atunci de-abia zaresti mormanul pacatului descoperit in tine.

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Vezi, suflete, ce poate face Isus? Aduce pacatosul la viata

Din moarte-adusa prin Adamul vechi, ca soarele ce-aduce dimineata.

Ce dulce suna cintecul desteptarii!…Ca clinchetul ce-l duce clopotelul!

Il sorb precum tarina-absoarbe apa in clipele fierbinti ale-nserarii.

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Frumoase-s zorile ce-apar pe bolta cind dup-o noapte grea aduc lumina!

Vezi suflete? Asa e Isus cind curata din tine vechea tina.

Cind cerul isi deschide geana si tainic iti sopteste despre viata

Atunci sa stii s-asculti: E Isus, alunga intunericul si-aduce dimineata!

Formatia Omega – solo Flaviu Mitaru

Generatii spre salvare‘ Formatia Omega, solo Flaviu Mitar

‘Voi veni’ Formatia Omega, solo Flaviu Mitar

Pleaca-ti genunchii‘ Formatia Omega, solo Flaviu Mitar

How to Get a Camel through a Needle’s Eye by John Piper

Click here to read entire message and to listen to the audio sermon at DesiringGod.org

April 30, 2000  by John Piper 

Matthew 19:16-30

And someone came to Him and said, „Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17 And He said to him, „Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 Then he said to Him, „Which ones?” And Jesus said, „YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; 19 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 20 The young man said to Him, „All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” 21 Jesus said to him, „If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. 23 And Jesus said to His disciples, „Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 „Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, „Then who can be saved?” 26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, „With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said to Him, „Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” 28 And Jesus said to them, „Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 „And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. 30 „But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”

What Does „Salvation” Mean?

In Matthew 19:16-30 the issue is salvation. And that’s the issue for us. We want to pray toward 1500 people who are now lost being saved. So let’s notice, first, six different ways that salvation is described in this text.

1. Verse 16: „And someone came to Him and said, ‘Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?'” That’s the first description: „obtain [or have] eternal life.”

2. Verse 17b: Jesus says, „If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” The second way to express „salvation” is „enter into life.”

3. Verse 23: „Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.'” Third, you can describe salvation as „entering the kingdom of heaven.”

4. Verse 24: Again Jesus says, „It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The fourth way to say it is „enter the kingdom of God.” There is no substantial difference between „kingdom of heaven” (verse 23) and „kingdom of God” (verse 24).

5. Verse 25: „When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, ‘Then who can be saved?'” There is the familiar word „saved.” So now we know „being saved” means here having eternal life and entering the kingdom of God. The opposite would be eternal death and separation from God – a place and a condition which Jesus more than anyone else in the Bible calls „Hell,” a place of great torment.

6. Verse 29: Jesus says to Peter, „Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” Here the future orientation of the passage becomes clear. „Salvation” means „inheriting eternal life” in the age to come.

This is what the rich young man was after. And it is what we are after. And it is what we want others to have through our lives and ministries. That is the goal of the „harvesting” half of 2000 by 2000. We believe eternal life is at stake in how people respond to Jesus. We want them to be saved and have eternal life and enter the kingdom of God and not be condemned on the Day of Judgment.

So now what does Jesus tell us about this salvation?

Humanly Impossible

The most striking thing he tells us is that the conversion that leads to this salvation is humanly impossible. And this is all the more striking because the question he is answering when he says this could easily have been answered without bringing up the issue of the impossibility of conversion.

Let’s look at this in the text. This young man, who wants eternal life, claims in verse 20 to keep the whole law that Jesus had summed up with „Love your neighbor as yourself” in verse 19: „All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” I don’t think Jesus agrees with this man’s self-assessment – namely that he loves his neighbor as himself.

And so, to expose the man’s love of money and his dependence on money, Jesus says in verse 21, „If you wish to be complete [or perfect], go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” If you want to be what you need to be and inherit eternal life, 1) unshackle your heart from your possessions, 2) have a heart for the poor, 3) treasure God in heaven, and 4) follow me (see also John 10:26-27).

But verse 22 says the young man „went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.” Jesus responded to this departure in verses 23-24: „Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. (24) Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” One thing is crystal clear: a camel cannot go through the eye of a needle. It is impossible. And if you have ever heard anyone say that this is a reference to a gate in the wall around Jerusalem which was so small that a camel had to get down low and take the load off its back, there is no such gate and the context will not allow such an interpretation.

Jesus interprets his own meaning in his response to what the disciples ask next. They are astonished and ask in verse 25, „Then who can be saved?” Now at this point Jesus has the golden opportunity to answer with something like: „The poor can be saved.” Or: „Believers can be saved.” Or: „Those who follow me can be saved.” But he does not say any of those. He follows through with the meaning of what he had just said about the camel and the needle’s eye. He says in verse 26, „With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

What is Jesus referring to when he says, „This is impossible”? The rich young man had just been unwilling to leave his possessions, and care for the poor and treasure God and follow Jesus. Jesus had said, See how hard it is for a rich man to be converted into a follower of mine. It’s as hard as a camel going through a needle’s eye. But then the disciples broaden the issue to everybody: „Who then can be saved?” And Jesus in essence says, „The point I am making about the rich is true for everybody. This is not a problem with money. It’s a problem with the human heart.” So he makes the broad general statement: „With people this is impossible.” That is, conversion for everyone is humanly impossible. Who then can be saved? Answer: No one -unless God intervenes to do what is humanly impossible.

But Can’t a Person Just Decide?

This is what Jesus meant in John 6:65, „No one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” It’s what Paul meant in Romans 8:7 where he said, „The mind of the flesh. . . does not submit to the law of God, for indeed it cannot.” And 1 Corinthians 2:14, „A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” And Ephesians 2:5, „We were dead in our trespasses and sins.” It is impossible for a dead man to be converted – unless God does the humanly impossible.

Now there is a kind of theology that says, Yes, with man conversion is impossible apart from God’s grace, but God makes it possible for everyone by a universal work of grace which he gives to all people everywhere. So, this view says, God overcomes the deadness of our fallen nature and makes all men able to believe.* So it would be impossible without this grace, but with this grace it is possible. And God has given it to everyone. And now the decisive act of conversion is our work, apart from any added work on God’s part.

But that interpretation won’t work in this text. Here is a rich man who loves his riches so much that he chooses to have them rather than to help the poor or have treasure in heaven or follow Jesus. When Jesus explains this tragic choice, what does he say? Does he say: God’s universal grace had overcome the hardness and rebellion of the man’s heart and made it possible for him to leave his riches and love the poor and treasure heaven and trust Jesus, but the man still did not do it? Is that his explanation for the man’ s not leaving his riches and following Jesus? No. That is not his explanation. His explanation of the man’s unwillingness to leave his riches and follow Christ is: With humans it is impossible.

It’s irrelevant in this text to argue that God makes faith possible for all men, and that the reason some don’t believe is merely their own independent liberty. It’s irrelevant because the issue here is why this one particular man does not use his so-called „liberty” to leave his riches and follow Christ. And what is Jesus’ explanation that this particular man, in this moment, would not leave his riches and follow Jesus? His answer is: With humans it is impossible. In other words, even if there is a universal grace that enlightens every man that comes into the world, what Jesus is explaining here is one particular man’s refusal to leave money and follow Jesus, even with such a universal grace. And his explanation for this man, even with such universal grace, is: He did not follow me because „with humans it is impossible.”

Therefore what Jesus means when he says in verse 26, „With God all things are possible,” is that God can and does effectually enable people to leave their riches and follow Christ. He does grant repentance, as Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:25. He does grant that we come to Christ (John 6:65). He does work in us the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8). He does the humanly impossible to convert sinners and bring them to eternal life.

What Will We Do With This Impossibility?

Now we as individuals and as a church stand at a fork in the road at this point in the message. 1) We can elevate our human reasonings above Scripture and say, „Well, if conversion is impossible with man, then I’m not going to pray or evangelize the lost. Because my mind tells me, What’s the point?” Or 2) we can submit to this word of Jesus and to the whole counsel of God in the Bible and say, „Because all things are possible with God, including the conversion of the hardest sinner and the most spiritually callous person we know, therefore we will pray to this all-powerful God for such conversions, and we will speak the gospel of Christ with great expectation that this is the very means God will use to do what is humanly impossible.”

There is no doubt which road we should take. It is the road of confident, God-centered, courageous, loving evangelism and prayer. „All things are possible with God” was spoken not only over $9 million; it was spoken over your wayward son and your unbelieving dad and self-sufficient brother, your alcoholic neighbor and the secular people you work with, Muslim Somalis of Minneapolis and your Jewish friends and the kids you go to school with.

Who can be saved? Are you going to stop with the words, „With man this is impossible”? Or will you go on and rejoice over the words, „But all things are possible with God.” Think of the hardest unbeliever you know – and then say with Jesus, „All things are possible with God.” Nobody is too hard for God to save. Therefore let us ask him to do it, and let us boldly fill our mouths with the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation.

I call you to three specific ways we can be about this as a congregation in the next eight months:

1. Join Dan Holst and the other prayer leaders and me each month for First Sunday Sunrise Prayer from 6:30 to 8:00 am. This will start next Sunday at 6:30 AM and continue on the first Sundays of the month for the rest of the year with a view to praying that God would do the impossible, not only to complete the pledges but to complete 2000 by 2000.

2. Join the staff and me for the usual First Tuesday Fast at 12:30 this Tuesday. We skip lunch and worship and pray from 12:30 to 1:00. Only now, we will enlarge the focus of the first Tuesday fasts and include our prayer that God would do these two impossible things – finishing the pledges and finishing 2000 by 2000.

3. Pray earnestly and expectantly – each of us – that God would grant us each to lead one person to Christ this year. Here I give you permission to do the math. If we long to see 1500 people profess faith in Christ this year, how many people do 1500 people have to win? One each.

With God all things are possible. Let’s believe it and let’s make it the basis of our prayer and our giving and our evangelism. Amen.

NOTES *Explaining the position of Arminianism, and of John Wesley in particular, Millard Erickson says, „This prevenient grace also makes it possible for any person to accept the offer of salvation in Jesus Christ.” Christian Theology, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985), p. 914. To see Wesley’s own words see the sermon, „On Working Out Our Own Salvation” section iii, paragraph 4 at .

© Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

On Working Out our own Salvation. John Wesley – Sermon #85

ON WORKING OUT OUR OWN SALVATION

„Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Phil. 2:12-13.

1. Some great truths, as the being and attributes of God, and the difference between moral good and evil, were known, in some measure, to the heathen world. The traces of them are to be found in all nations; So that, in some sense, it may be said to every child of man, „He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; even to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” With this truth he has, in some measure, „enlightened every one that cometh into the world.” And hereby they that „have not the law,” that have no written law, „are a law unto themselves.” They show „the work of the law,” – the substance of it, though not the letter, – „written in their hearts,” by the same hand which wrote the commandments on the tables of stone; „Their conscience also bearing them witness,” whether they act suitably thereto or not.

2. But there are two grand heads of doctrine, which contain many truths of the most important nature, of which the most enlightened Heathens in the ancient world were totally ignorant; as are also the most intelligent Heathens that are now on the face of the earth; I mean those which relate to the eternal Son of God, and the Spirit of God: To the Son, giving himself to be „a propitiation for the sins of the world;” and to the Spirit of God, renewing men in that image of God wherein they were created. For after all the pains which ingenious and learned men have taken (that great man, the Chevalier Ramsay, in particular) to find some resemblance of these truths in the immense rubbish of heathen authors, the resemblance is so exceeding faint, as not to be discerned but by a very lively imagination. Beside that, even this resemblance, faint as it was, is only to be found in the discourses of a very few; and those were the most improved and deeply-thinking men, in their several generations; while the innumerable multitudes that surrounded them were little better for the knowledge of the philosophers, but remained as totally ignorant even of these capital truths as were the beasts that perish.

3. Certain it is, that these truths were never known to the vulgar, the bulk of mankind, to the generality of men in any nation, till they were brought to light by the gospel. Nevertheless a spark of knowledge glimmering here and there, the whole earth was covered with darkness, till the Sun of Righteousness arose and scattered the shades of night. Since this day-spring from on high has appeared, a great light hath shined unto those who, till then, sat in darkness and in the shadow of death. And thousands of them in every age have known, „that God so loved the world, as to give his only Son, to the end that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And being entrusted with the oracles of God, they have known that God hath also given us his Holy Spirit, who „worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

4. How remarkable are those words of the Apostle, which precede these! „Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God,” – the incommunicable nature of God from eternity – „counted it no act of robbery,” – (that is the precise meaning of the word,) no invasion of any other’s prerogative, but his own unquestionable right, – „to be equal with God.” The word implies both the fullness and the supreme height of the Godhead; to which are opposed the two words, he emptied and he humbled himself. He „emptied himself” of that divine fullness, veiled his fullness from the eyes of men and angels; „taking,” and by that very act emptying himself, „the form of a servant; being made in the likeness of man,” a real man, like other men. „And being found in fashion as a man,” – a common man, without any peculiar beauty or excellency, – „he humbled himself” to a still greater degree, „becoming obedient” to God, though equal with him, „even unto death; yea, the death of the cross:” The greatest instance both of humiliation and obedience. [Phil. 2:5-11]

Having proposed the example of Christ, the Apostle exhorts them to secure the salvation which Christ hath purchased for them: „Wherefore, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

In these comprehensive words we may observe,

I. That grand truth, which ought never to be out of our of remembrance, „It is God that worketh in us, both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.”

II. The improvement we ought to make of it: „Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

III. The connection between them: „It is God that worketh in you;” therefore „work out your own salvation.”

I. 1. First. We are to observe that great and important truth which ought never to be out of our remembrance: „It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” The meaning of these words may be made more plain by a small transposition of them: „It is God that of his good pleasure worketh in you both to will and to do.” This position of the words, connecting the phrase, of his good pleasure, with the word worketh, removes all imagination of merit from man, and gives God the whole glory of his own work. Otherwise, we might have had some room for boasting, as if it were our own desert, some goodness in us, or some good thing done by us, which first moved God to work. But this expression cuts off all such vain conceits, and clearly shows his motive to work lay wholly in himself-in his, own mere grace, in his unmerited mercy.

2. It is by this alone he is impelled to work in man both to will and to do. The expression is capable of two interpretations; both of which are unquestionably true. First, to will, may include the whole of inward, to do, the whole of outward, religion. And if it be thus understood, it implies, that it is God that worketh both inward and outward holiness. Secondly, ,to will, may imply every good desire; to do, whatever results therefrom. And then the sentence means, God breathes into us every good desire, and brings every good desire to good effect.

3. The original words, _~to ~thelein_ and _~to energein_, seem to favor the latter construction: _~to ~thelein_, which we render to will, plainly including every good desire, whether relating to our tempers, words, or actions; to inward or outward holiness. And _~to energein~~_, which we render to do, manifestly implies all that power from on high, all that energy which works in us every right disposition, and then furnishes us for every good word and work.

4. Nothing can so directly tend to hide pride from man as a deep, lasting conviction of this. For if we are thoroughly sensible that we have nothing which we have not received, how can we glory as if we had not received it? If we know and feel that the very first motion of good is from above, as well as the power which conducts it to the end; if it is God that not only infuses every good desire, but that accompanies and follows it, else it vanishes away; then it evidently follows, that „he who glorieth” must „glory in the Lord.”

II. 1. Proceed we now to the Second point: If God worketh in you, then work out your own salvation. The original word rendered, work out, implies the doing a thing thoroughly. Your own; for you yourselves must do this, or it will be left undone forever. Your own salvation: Salvation begins with what is usually termed (and very properly) preventing grace; including the first wish to please God, the first dawn of light concerning his will, and the first slight transient conviction of having sinned against him. All these imply some tendency toward life; some degree of salvation; the beginning of a deliverance from a blind, unfeeling heart, quite insensible of God and the things of God. Salvation is carried on by convincing grace, usually in Scripture termed repentance; which brings a larger measure of self-knowledge, and a farther deliverance from the heart of stone. Afterwards we experience the proper Christian salvation; whereby, „through grace,” we „are saved by faith;” consisting of those two grand branches, justification and sanctification. By justification we are saved from the guilt of sin, and restored to the favor of God; by sanctification we are saved from the power and root of sin, and restored to the image of God. All experience, as well as Scripture, shows this salvation to be both instantaneous and gradual. It begins the moment we are justified, in the holy, humble, gentle, patient love of God and man. It gradually increases from that moment, as „a grain of mustard-seed, which, at first, is the least of all seeds,” but afterwards puts forth large branches, and becomes a great tree; till, in another instant, the heart is cleansed, from all sin, and filled with pure love to God and man. But even that love increases more and more, till we „grow up in all things into him that is our Head;” till we attain „the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

2. But how are we to work out this salvation? The Apostle answers, „With fear and trembling.” There is another passage of St. Paul wherein the same expression occurs, which may give light to this: „Servants, obey your masters according to the flesh,” – according to the present state of things, although sensible that in a little time the servant will be free from his master, – „with fear and trembling.” This is a proverbial expression, which cannot be understood literally. For what master could bear, much less require, his servant to stand trembling and quaking before him? And the following words utterly exclude this meaning: „In singleness of heart;” with a single eye to the will and providence of God; „not with eye- service, as men-pleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;” doing whatever they do as the will of God, and, therefore, with their might. (Eph. 6:5, etc..) It is easy to see that these strong expressions of the Apostle clearly imply two things: First, that everything be done with the utmost earnestness of spirit, and with all care and caution: (Perhaps more directly referring to the former word, _meta phobou~~~~_, with fear:) Secondly, that it be done with the utmost diligence, speed, punctuality, and exactness; not improbably referring to the latter word, _,meta tromou_, with trembling.

3. How easily may we transfer this to the business of life, the working out our own salvation! With the same temper, and in the same manner, that Christian servants serve their masters that are upon earth, let other Christians labor to serve their Master that is in heaven: that is, First, with the utmost earnestness of spirit, with all possible care and caution; and, secondly, with the utmost diligence, speed, punctuality, and exactness.

4. But what are the steps which the Scripture directs us to take, in the working out of our own salvation? The Prophet Isaiah gives us a general answer, touching the first steps which we are to take: „Cease to do evil; learn to do well.” If ever you desire that God should work in you that faith whereof cometh both present and eternal salvation, by the grace already given, fly from all sin as from the face of a serpent; carefully avoid every evil word and work; yea, abstain from all appearance of evil. And „learn to do well:” Be zealous of good works, of works of piety, as well as works of mercy; family prayer, and crying to God in secret. Fast in secret, and „your Father which seeth in secret, he will reward you openly.” „Search the Scriptures:” Hear them in public, read them in private, and meditate therein. At every opportunity, be a partaker of the Lord’s Supper. „Do this in remembrance of him: and he will meet you at his own table. Let your conversation be with the children of God; and see that it „be in grace, seasoned with salt.” As ye have time, do good unto all men; to their souls and to their bodies. And herein „be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” It then only remains that ye deny yourselves and take up your cross daily. Deny yourselves every pleasure which does not prepare you for taking pleasure in God, and willingly embrace every means of drawing near to God, though it be a cross, though it be grievous to flesh and blood. Thus when you have redemption in the blood of Christ, you will „go on to perfection;” till „walking in the light as he is in the light,” you are enabled to testify, that „he is faithful and just,” not only to „forgive” your „sins,” but to „cleanse” you from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9]

III. 1. „But,” say some, „what connection is there between the former and the latter clause of this sentence? Is there not rather a flat opposition between the one and the other? If it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do, what need is there of our working? Does not his working thus supersede the necessity of our working at all? Nay, does it not render our working impracticable, as well as unnecessary? For if we allow that God does all, what is there left for us to do?”

2. Such is the reasoning of flesh and blood. And, at first hearing, it is exceeding plausible. But it is not solid; as will evidently appear, if we consider the matter more deeply. We shall then see there is no opposition between these, „God works; therefore, do we work;” but, on the contrary, the closest connection; and that in two respects. For, First, God works; therefore you can work. Secondly, God works, therefore you must work.

3. First. God worketh in you; therefore you can work: Otherwise it would be impossible. If he did not work it would be impossible for you to work out your own salvation. „With man this is impossible,” saith our Lord, „for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Yea, it is impossible for any man, for any that is born of a woman, unless God work in him. Seeing all men are by nature not only sick, but „dead in trespasses and sins,” it is not possible for them to do anything well till God raises them from the dead. It was impossible for Lazarus to come forth, till the Lord had given him life. And it is equally impossible for us to come out of our sins, yea, or to make the least motion toward it, till He who hath all power in heaven and earth calls our dead souls into life.

4. Yet this is no excuse for those who continue in sin, and lay the blame upon their Maker, by saying, „It is God only that must quicken us; for we cannot quicken our own souls.” For allowing that all the souls of men are dead in sin by nature, this excuses none, seeing there is no man that is in a state of mere nature; there is no man, unless he has quenched the Spirit, that is wholly void of the grace of God. No man living is entirely destitute of what is vulgarly called natural conscience. But this is not natural: It is more properly termed preventing grace. Every man has a greater or less measure of this, which waiteth not for the call of man. Every one has, sooner or later, good desires; although the generality of men stifle them before they can strike deep root, or produce any considerable fruit. Everyone has some measure of that light, some faint glimmering ray, which, sooner or later, more or less, enlightens every man that cometh into the world. And every one, unless he be one of the small number whose conscience is seared as with a hot iron, feels more or less uneasy when he acts contrary to the light of his own conscience. So that no man sins because he has not grace, but because he does not use the grace which he hath.

5. Therefore inasmuch as God works in you, you are now able to work out your own salvation. Since he worketh in you of his own good pleasure, without any merit of yours, both to will and to do, it is possible for you to fulfil all righteousness. It is possible for you to „love God, because he hath first loved us;” and to „walk in love,” after the pattern of our great Master. We know, indeed, that word of his to be absolutely true: „Without me ye can do nothing.” But on the other hand, we know, every believer can say „I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.”

6. Meantime let us remember that God has joined these together in the experience of every believer; and therefore we must take care, not to imagine they are ever to be put asunder. We must beware of that mock humility which teacheth us to say, in excuse for our wilful disobedience, „O, I can do nothing!” and stops there, without once naming the grace of God. Pray, think twice. Consider what you say. I hope you wrong yourself; for if it be really true that you can do nothing, then you have no faith. And if you have not faith, you are in a wretched condition: You are not in a state of salvation. Surely it is not so. You can do something, through Christ strengthening you. Stir up the spark of grace which is now in you, and he will give you more grace.

7. Secondly, God worketh in you; therefore you must work: You must be „workers together with him,” (they are the very words of the Apostle,) otherwise he will cease working. The general rule on which his gracious dispensations invariably proceed is this: „Unto him that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not,” – that does not improve the grace already given, – „shall be taken away what he assuredly hath.” (So the words ought to be rendered.) Even St. Augustine, who is generally supposed to favor the contrary doctrine, makes that just remark, _Qui fecit nos sine nobis, non salvabit nos sine nobis_:+ „He that made us without ourselves, will not save us without ourselves.” He will not save us unless we „save ourselves from this untoward generation;” unless we ourselves „fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life; „unless we „agonize to enter in at the strait gate,”deny ourselves, and take up our cross daily,” and labor by every possible means to „make our own calling and election sure.”

8. „Labor” then, brethren, „not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth to everlasting life.” Say with our blessed Lord, though in a somewhat different sense, „My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” In consideration that he still worketh in you, be never „weary of well-doing.” Go on, in virtue of the grace of God, preventing, accompanying, and following you, in „the work of faith, in the patience of hope, and in the labor of love.”Be ye steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” And „the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep,” (Jesus,) „make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you what is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever!”

 

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