I have a somewhat unusual biblical and theological library, because it is a blend of more recently published books, but also older/antique books and out-of-print books. Some of these later books were published so long ago that they are no longer under copyright restrictions, and available to access and read for free on the internet. I am glad I have print copies, however, as reading books on a screen does not work for me.
I’ve recently read 2 books by J.G. Bellett. John Gifford Bellett (1795-1864) was a premiere devotional writer in the “Brethren movement” of the 1800s. I fear that both Christianity and reading ability has changed considerably since that time, and what was then considered devotional writing would today be considered deep and challenging content by some folks. (Sigh)
One book I read by Bellett, and recommend to you, is: The Son of God. Search for it online, and you’ll find more than one place to access it free. But here is one site with multiple options: Bible Truth. You can also buy a print version, see here.
The Son of God simply interacts with Scripture, explaining and expounding it, drawing out truths about our Lord Jesus Christ. It is well done. Sadly, today, I find too many books seek to entertain with stories and illustrations. There is a place and time for such, but there is real power in simply letting the Scripture speak for itself – rather than trying to embellish it. We really miss out on so much when we must be entertained all the time!
Initially the book has a focus on the Trinity, the importance of getting it right about Jesus. While the author does not mention church history directly, it is clear to me that he had good familiarity with the early church, the various creeds and councils, as he mentions ways we can get it wrong about Jesus – and the peril with that. Here is one excerpt:
“Can I be satisfied with the unbelieving thought, that there are not Persons in the Godhead, and that Father, Son, and Spirit are only different lights in which the One Person is presented? The substance of the gospel would be destroyed by such a thought, and can I be satisfied with the unbelieving thought that these Persons are not related? The love of the gospel would be dimmed by such a thought.” – page 11 in my print book
I liked this (below) where Bellett is quoting someone else but it is not clear who he is quoting. For those of us who can over-think, be skeptical, and want to understand everything, we need this reminder. If we could understand everything about God, He would not be much of a God!
“God allows many things to remain mysteries, partly, I believe, that He may in this way test the obedience of our minds; for He requires obedience of mind from us, as much as He does obedience in action. This is a part of holiness, this subjection of the mind to God; and it is something which the Spirit alone can give. He alone is able to calm and humble those inward powers of mind which rise and venture to judge the things of God, refusing to receive what cannot be understood; a disobedience and pride which has no parallel, except in the disobedience and pride of Satan.” – pages 13-14
Bellett talks about how Jesus both descended in great humility to live a human life on earth, but then ascended back into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, and will one day return in power and glory and judgment. I liked this part summarizing these aspects of Christ:
“The Son of God serves in the lowest and in the highest; in poverty and in wealth; in honor and dishonor; as the Nazarene and as the Bethlehemite; in earth and in heaven; and in a world of millennial glories both earthly and heavenly. But all service from beginning to end, in all stages and changes in the great mystery, tell who He is. He could no more have been what He was on the cross, were He not there the One He was, than He could now be sitting on the Father’s throne were He not the same. Faith cares not where it sees Him nor where it follows Him: It has the one bright, ineffably blessed Object before it and resents the word that would presume to soil Him, even though ignorantly.” – page 141
I appreciated this too:
“In the eye of faith there is a ladder; heaven stands open before it, an ‘the Man Christ Jesus’ is seen there—the Mediator of the new covenant, the High-Priest, the Advocate with the Father, the One who sympathizes, the Forerunner also into those places of glory.” – page 119
In close, I liked this brief statement: “Heaven has always been what the earth needed” (page 178) – Amen!
Remember, that Christianity is not all about “going to heaven when you die” but that one day – when Christ returns – we get our bodies back, heaven will merge with earth, and we will live on a new heaven and earth for eternity. Maranatha!
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