NONE BELIEVE SAVE THOSE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE

NONE BELIEVE SAVE THOSE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE

A.W. Pink

“As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed” (Acts 13:48).

Every artifice of human ingenuity has been employed to blunt the sharp edge of this Scripture and to explain away the obvious meaning of these words, but it has been employed in vain, though nothing will ever be able to reconcile this and similar passages to the mind of the natural man. “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.”

Here we learn four things:

First, that believing is the consequence AND NOT THE CAUSE of God’s decree.

Second, that a LIMITED NUMBER only are “ordained to eternal life,” for if all men without exception were thus ordained by God, then the words “as many as are a meaningless qualification.

Third, that this “ordination” of God is not to mere external privileges but to “eternal life,” not to service but to SALVATION ITSELF.

Fourth, that ALL—”as many as,” NOT ONE LESS—who are thus ordained by God to eternal life WILL most certainly believe.

The comments of the beloved Spurgeon on the above passage are well worthy of our notice. Said he –

“Attempts have been made to prove that these words do not teach predestination, but these attempts so clearly do violence to language that I shall not waste time in answering them. I read: ‘As many as were ordained to eternal life believed’, and I shall not twist the text but shall glorify the grace of God by ascribing to that grace the faith of every man.
Is it not God who gives the disposition to believe? If men are disposed to have eternal life, does not He—in every case—dispose them?

Is it wrong for God to give grace? If it be right for Him to give it, is it wrong for Him to purpose to give it? Would you have Him give it by accident? If it is right for Him to purpose to give grace today, it was right for Him to purpose it before today—and, since He changes not—from eternity.”

[ Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Sovereignty of God’ ]

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THE LEADING OF THE LORD

THE LEADING OF THE LORD

A.W. Pink

“He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.” [Deut 32:10]

“He led him about.” The “finding” is not the end, but only the beginning of God’s dealings with His own. Having found him, He remains never more to leave him. Now that He has found His wandering child He teaches him to walk in the Narrow Way. There is a beautiful word on God “leading” in Hosea 11:3: “I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms. Just as a fond mother takes her little one, whose feet are yet too weak and untrained to walk alone, so the Lord takes His people by their arms and leads them in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Such is His promise: “He will keep the feet of His saints” (1 Sam. 2:9). There is a threefold “leading” of the Lord:

EVANGELICAL.—The Lord Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). But again He said, ‘No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him” John 6:44). Here then is how God leads: He leads the poor sinner to Christ. Have you, my reader, been brought to the Saviour? Is Christ your only hope? Are you trusting in the sufficiency of His precious blood? If so, what cause have you to praise God for having led you to His blessed Son!

DOCTRINAL.—The Lord Jesus declared, “When He the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all the truth” John 16:13). We are not capable of discovering or entering into the Truth of ourselves, therefore do we have to be guided into it. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14). It is He who makes us to lie down in the “green pastures of Scripture and who leads us beside the “still waters” of His promises. How thankful we ought to be for every ray of light which has been granted us from the lamp of God’s Word.

PROVIDENTIAL.—”Thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way wherein they should go” (Neh. 9:19). Just as Jehovah led Israel of old, so today He leads us step by step through this wilderness-world. What a mercy this is. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delighteth in his way” (Ps. 37:23). Yes, every detail of our lives is regulated by the Most High.

All my times are in Thy hand,
All events at Thy command,
All must come and last and end,
As doth please our Heavenly Friend.

STRUGGLE WITH SIN – A SIGN OF REGENERATION

STRUGGLE WITH SIN – A SIGN OF REGENERATION

A.W. Pink

He who is really honest with himself and has had his eyes opened in some degree to see the awful sinfulness of self, and who is becoming more and more acquainted with that sink of iniquity, that mass of corruption which still indwells him, often feels that sin more completely rules him now than ever it did before. When he longs to trust God with all his heart, unbelief seems to paralyze him. When he wishes to be completely surrendered to God’s blessed will, murmurings and rebellion surge within him. 

When he would spend an hour in meditating on the things of God, evil imaginations harass him. When he desires to be more humble, pride seeks to fill him. When he would pray, his mind wanders. The more he fights against these sins, the further off victory seems to be. To him it appears that sin is very much the master of him, and Satan tells him that his profession is vain. What shall we say to such a dear soul who is deeply exercised over this problem?

The very fact that you are conscious of these sins and are so much concerned over your failure to overcome them, is a HEALTHY SIGN. It is the blind who cannot see; it is the dead who feel not – true alike naturally and spiritually. Only they who have been quickened into newness of life are capable OF REAL SORROW FOR SIN. Moreover, such experiences as we have mentioned above evidence a spiritual growth: a growth in the knowledge of self. As the wise man tells us, ‘he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow’ (Eccl. 1:18). In God’s light we see light (Ps. 36:9). The more the Holy Spirit reveals to me the high claims of God’s holiness, the more I discover how far short I come of meeting them.

Let the midday sun shine into a darkened room, and dust and dirt which before were invisible are now plainly seen. So with the Christian: the more the light of God enters his heart, the more he discovers the spiritual filth which dwells there. Beloved brother, or sister, it is not that you are becoming more sinful, but that GOD IS NOW GIVING YOU A CLEARER AND FULLER SIGHT OF YOUR SINFULNESS. Praise Him for it, for the eyes of the vast majority of your fellows (religionists included) are blind, and cannot see what so distresses YOU!

ONLY BY DIVINE REVELATION CAN THE GOD OF THE SCRIPTURES BE KNOWN

ONLY BY DIVINE REVELATION CAN THE GOD OF THE SCRIPTURES BE KNOWN

A.W. Pink

“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth, and KNOWETH ME, THAT I AM THE LORD.” [Jeremiah 9:23,24]

In one on his letters to Erasmus, Luther said, “Your thoughts of God are too human.” Probably that renowned scholar resented such a rebuke, the more so, since it proceeded from a miner’s son; nevertheless, it was thoroughly deserved. We too, though having no standing among religious leaders of this degenerate age, prefer the same charge against the majority of the preachers of our day, and against those who, instead of searching the Scriptures for themselves, lazily accept the teaching of others.

The most dishonoring and degrading conceptions of the rule and reign of the Almighty are now held almost everywhere. To countless thousands, even among those professing to be Christians, the God of the Scriptures is quite unknown.

Of old, God complained to an apostate Israel, “Thou thoughtest that I was altogether as thyself” (Psalm 50:21). Such must now be His indictment against an apostate Christendom. Men imagine that the Most High is moved by sentiment rather than actuated by principle. They suppose that His omnipotency is such an idle fiction that Satan is thwarting His designs on every side. They think that if He has formed any plan or purpose at all, then it must be like theirs, constantly subject to change. They openly declare that whatever power He possesses must be restricted, lest He invade the citadel of man’s “free-will” and reduce him to a “machine.” They lower the all-efficacious Atonement, which has actually redeemed everyone for whom it was made, to a mere “remedy”, which sin-sick souls may use if they feel disposed to; and they enervate the invincible work of the Holy Spirit to an “offer” of the Gospel which sinners may accept or reject as they please.

The “god” of this twentieth century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The “god” who is now talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday School, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible conferences is the figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality.

The heathen outside of the pale of Christendom form “gods” out of wood and stone, while millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a “god” out of their own carnal mind. A “god” whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits nought but contempt.

Something more than a theoretical knowledge of God is needed by us. God is only TRULY KNOWN as we yield ourselves to Him, submit to His authority, and regulate all the details of our lives by His holy precepts and commandments. (Hosea 6:3; John 7:17; Daniel 11:32)

“Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee” (Job 22:21). A spiritual and saving knowledge of God is the greatest need of every human creature.

The foundation of all true knowledge of God must be a clear mental apprehension of His perfections as revealed in Holy Scripture. An unknown God can neither be trusted, served, nor worshipped.

“Yea doubtless, and I count ALL THINGS BUT LOSS for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ . . . THAT I MAY KNOW HIM, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death!” [Philippians 3:8-10]

An additional footnote –

Most who call themselves ‘Christians’ in our day neither know nor worship this Sovereign Almighty God of the Scriptures! What they do worship and contend for is a miserable IDOL!

“An anxious and pleading God, whose power is limited, and whose hands may be tied by the proud and stubborn sinner, who is less than dust of the balance, is no God, but a miserable idol!” (Herman Hoeksema; 1886-1965)

The God of the Scriptures is a Sovereign discriminating God, who is likened unto a ‘potter’ who has power over the clay to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor! A Sovereign who is answerable to NONE but Himself! A God who doeth according to HIS WILL in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and NONE can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest THOU? [Dan 4:35]A Sovereign who hath mercy on whom He will and hardens whom He will! [Rom 9:18] A Sovereign who knows the end from the beginning, and calleth those things that are not as though they were and makes His people willing in the day of His power! A Sovereign who hath created ALL THINGS for Himself, yea even the wicked for the day of evil, and causes the wrath of man to praise Him! [Prov 16:4; Psalm 76:10]

Few who claim to be Christians know THIS God! The God THEY believe in is a frustrated idol who keeps hoping and wishing and wringing his hands helplessly as MAN AND DEVIL RULE BY THEIR ‘FREE WILL’.

Now this God has told us plainly in His book that He hath mercy on whom He will and whom He will He hardeneth! [Rom 9:18] From amongst the children of Adam, He hath unconditionally chosen SOME to be saved from the wrath to come! [1Thes 1:10] And in order that He might be just and the justifier of these chosen ones (Rom 3:26), He sent His Son to atone on the Cross for their sins, and in time He doth irresistibly draw each and everyone for whom His Son atoned, making them ‘willing’ in the day of His power and saving them with an everlasting salvation! [Psalm 110:3]

This Almighty Sovereign God of the Bible cannot be known by ‘walking an aisle’, ‘saying a little prayer’, signing a ‘decision card’ or getting baptized when you are old enough etc, but only by REVELATION!

“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast HID THESE THINGS from the wise and prudent, and hast REVEALED THEM unto babes”. [Matt 11:25]

Again – “Unto YOU (His elect) it is GIVEN to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: [WHY?] That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them”. [Mark 4:11,12]

Michael Jeshurun

WHO ARE THE PEOPLE OF GOD?

WHO ARE THE PEOPLE OF GOD?

paraphrased from the writings of A.W. Pink

Sometimes in order to ascertain that which is, it is necessary to define that which is not. If there are those designated by Scripture as ‘His people’ then there must be many who are NOT ‘His people’. Who are these?

First, they are not all ‘His people’ who go by a ‘Christian’ name or have been confirmed as Christians by either being sprinkled in infancy or had a Christian upbringing.

Secondly, they are not all those who have been induced to “make a profession” through some high pressured “evangelist!” i.e. they are not all those who have ‘raised a hand’ at the end of a preacher’s emotional sermon, repeated the ‘sinner’s prayer’, walked an aisle or signed a ‘decision card’ or whatever!

Neither are they those who have been warned against what has just been described above, and fearful of being deluded by such religious hucksters are determined to “settle the matter” directly with God in the privacy of their own room or some secluded spot. These have been given to understand that God loves everybody, that Christ died for the whole human race, and that nothing is required of them but faith in the gospel. By ‘saving faith’ they suppose that a mere intellectual assent to, or acceptance of, such statements as are found in John 3:16 and Romans 10:13 is all that is intended. It matters not that John 2:23, 24 declares that “many believed in his name but Jesus did not commit himself unto them,” that “many believed on him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him lest they be put out of the synagogue, for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God,” which shows how much their “believing” was worth. Imagining that the natural man is CAPABLE of “receiving Christ as personal Saviour” they make the attempt, doubt not their success, go on their way rejoicing, and none can shake their assurance that they are now real Christians!

We are not saying that God does not have ‘His people’ in the classes mentioned above. But as a general rule the majority of these do not constitute ‘His people’ which the Bible speaks of. And the small minority whom God calls from this deluded lot, shall by and by be illuminated by God’s Spirit to see the error of their ways and give God ALL the glory for their salvation, and confess that salvation, (if it is genuine at all) is “NOT of him that willeth, NOR of him that runneth, BUT OF GOD that sheweth mercy!” [Rom 9:16]

But to return. WHO are those whom the Bible classifies as ‘His people’?

‘His people’ are those who are ‘Foreknown’ by God before the world began! “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” [Rom 8:28] When we read in Scripture of God “knowing” certain people, the word is used in the sense of KNOWING WITH APPROBATION AND LOVE.

Instead of imagining that these words ‘KNOW’ and ‘FOREKNOW’ signify no more than a simple cognition, the different passages in which they occur require to be carefully weighed. The word “foreknowledge” is not found in the Old Testament. But ‘know’ occurs there frequently. When that term is used in connection with God, it often signifies to regard with favour, denoting not mere cognition but an AFFECTION for the object in view. “I KNOW THEE by name” (Ex. 33:17). “Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I KNEW YOU” (Deut. 9:24). “Before I formed thee in the belly I KNEW THEE” (Jer. 1:5). “They have made princes and I KNEW IT NOT” (Hos. 8:4). “You only have I KNOWN of all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2). In these passages ‘knew’ signifies either loved or appointed.

In like manner, the word “know” is frequently used in the New Testament, in the same sense as in the Old Testament. “Then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU” (Matt. 7:23). “I am the good shepherd and KNOW MY SHEEP and am known of Mine” (John 10:14). “If any man love God, the same is KNOWN OF HIM” (1 Cor. 8:3). “The Lord KNOWETH them that are His” (2 Tim. 2:19).

Now the word “foreknowledge” as it is used in the New Testament is less ambiguous than in its simple form “to know.” If every passage in which it occurs is carefully studied, it will be discovered that it is a moot point (an irrelevant argument) whether it ever has reference to the mere perception of events which are yet to take place. The fact is that “foreknowledge” is never used in Scripture in connection with events or actions; instead, it always has reference to PERSONS. It is persons God is said to “foreknow,” not the ACTIONS of those persons.

Consider Romans 8;29,30. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image, of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called,” etc. Weigh well the pronoun that is used here. It is not WHAT He did foreknow, but WHOM He did. It is not the surrendering of their wills nor the believing of their hearts but the PERSONS THEMSELVES, which is here in view.

“God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew” (Rom. 11:2). Once more the plain reference is to PERSONS, AND TO PERSONS ONLY.

The last mention is in 1 Peter 1:2: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” Who are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father? The previous verse tells us: the reference is to the “strangers scattered” i.e. the Diaspora, the Dispersion, the believing Jews. Thus, here too the reference is to persons, and not to their foreseen acts.
Now in view of these passages (and there are no more) what scriptural ground is there for anyone saying God “foreknew” the ACTS of certain ones, viz., their “repenting and believing,” and that because of those acts He elected them unto salvation? The answer is, NONE whatever. Scripture never speaks of repentance and faith as being foreseen or foreknown by God. Truly, He did know from all eternity that certain ones would repent and believe, yet this is not what Scripture refers to as the object of God’s “foreknowledge.” The word uniformly refers to God’s foreknowing persons; then let us “hold fast the form of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13).

Secondly, ‘His people’ are those whom God the father gave to the Son to redeem them from the curse of the Law [Gal 3:13]. “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me; and they have kept Thy word.” [John 17:6]

These who belonged to the Father and are given to the son, the Bible calls them the Elect, the Sheep, the Chosen, the Called etc. And it is FOR THESE AND THESE ALONE whom Christ came for and suffered, died and rose again and for NO ONE ELSE!

“For the transgression of My people was He (Christ) stricken!” [Isaiah 53:8].
“I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life FOR THE SHEEP.” [John 10:11] (not the goats)
“As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life FOR THE SHEEP!”

And OTHER SHEEP I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and One Shepherd!” [John 10:15,16]

It would be pointless to say, “I lay down My life for the sheep” if He laid down His life for the whole world indiscriminately!

There IS a world of the Elect and a world of the Reprobate! A world of the godly and a world of the ungodly! A world of sheep and a world of goats!

When God says, that he so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son, it is the world of ‘His people’ that He has in view!

Come now, if our Lord suffered and died for the ‘whole world’ indiscriminately, then why would He say –

“I pray for THEM: I pray NOT FOR THE WORLD, but FOR THEM WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN ME; for they are Thine.” [John 17:9]

And further down when He extends the scope of the recipients of His High Priestly prayer, it is not for the WHOLE WORLD indiscriminately which He prays for, but His other sheep whom He foreknew – “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word!” [John 17:20]

‘His people’ whom the Bible so designates are those who are foreknown and loved by the Father, redeemed by the Son and regenerated and made alive by the Spirit! NOT every Tom, Dick and Harry . . . or Jane, Jill and Mary but a “a CHOSEN GENERATION, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a PECULIAR people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light!” [1Pet 2:9]

Dearly beloved, if you are a real Christian, you are so because GOD chose you in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), and chose not because He foresaw you would believe, but chose simply because it pleased Him to choose: chose you notwithstanding your natural unbelief. This being so, all the glory and praise belongs to Him ALONE. YOU have no ground for taking any credit to yourself. You have “believed through grace” (Acts 18:27), and that, because your very election was “of grace” (Rom. 11:5).

Hallelujah!

[Paraphrased and quoted from the writings of A.W. Pink]

BODILY THIRST AND SOUL THIRST

BODILY THIRST AND SOUL THIRST

by A.W. Pink

 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink”. [John 7:37]

Here is the Gospel in a single short sentence. Three words in it stand out and call for special emphasis—”thirst,” “come,” “drink.” The first tells of a recognized need. Thirst, like hunger, is something of which we are acutely conscious. It is a craving for that which is not in our actual possession. There is a soul thirst as well as a bodily. The pathetic thing is that so many thirst for that which cannot slake them. Their thirst is for the things of the world: pleasure, money, fame, ease, self-indulgence; and over all these Christ has written in imperishable letters, “Whosoever drinketh of this water SHALL THIRST AGAIN.” (Like Lord Byron)

But in our text Christ is referring to a thirst for something infinitely nobler and grander, even for Himself. He speaks of that intense longing for Himself which ONLY THE SPIRIT OF GOD CAN CREATE IN THE SOUL. If a poor sinner is convicted of his pollution and desires cleansing, if he is weighted down with the awful burden of conscious guilt and desires pardon, if he is fully aware of his weakness and impotency and longs for strength and deliverance, if he is filled with fears and distrust and craves for peace and rest,—then, says Christ, let him “come unto me.” Happy the one who so thirsts after Christ that he can say, “As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Ps. 42:1).

“Let him come unto me.” “Come” is one of the simplest words in the English language. It signifies our approach to an object or person. It expresses action, and implies that the will is operative. To come to Christ means, that you do with your heart and will what you would do with your feet were He standing in bodily form before you and saying, “Come unto me.” It is an act of faith. IT INTIMATES THAT YOU HAVE TURNED YOUR BACK UPON THE WORLD, AND HAVE ABANDONED ALL CONFIDENCE IN EVERYTHING ABOUT YOURSELF, AND NOW CAST YOURSELF EMPTY-HANDED, AT THE FEET OF INCARNATE GRACE AND TRUTH. But make sure that nothing whatever is substituted for Christ. It is not, come to the Lord’s table, or come to the waters of baptism, or come to the priest or minister, or come and join the church; but come to CHRIST HIMSELF, and to none other.

“And drink.” It is here that so many seem to fail. There are numbers who give evidence of an awakened conscience, of heart-exercise, of a conscious need of Christ; and there are numbers who appear to be seeking Him, and yet stop short at that. But Christ not only said, “Come unto me,” but He added, “and drink.” A river flowing through a country where people were dying of thirst, would avail them nothing unless THEY DRINK OF IT. The blood of the slain lamb availed the Israelite household nothing, unless the head of that household had applied it to the door. So Christ saves none who do not receive Him by faith. “Drinking” is here a figurative expression, and signifies making Christ your own. In all ages God’s saints have been those who saw their deep need, who came to the Lord, and appropriated the provision of grace.

“If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”

Let us not forget where these words were first uttered. THE SPEAKER WAS NOT IN A PENITENTIARY (PRISON OR JAIL), BUT IN THE TEMPLE. Christ was not addressing a company of profligates, but a RELIGIOUS CROWD who were observing a Divinely-instituted Feast! What an example for each of His servants! Brother preacher, take nothing for granted. Do not suppose that because those you address are respectable people and punctual in their religious exercises they are necessarily saved. Heed that word of your Master’s, and “preach the gospel to EVERY CREATURE,” cultured as well as illiterate, the respectable as well as the profligate, the religious man as well as the irreligious.

‘BELIEVING’ IN CHRIST THAT IS NOT A ‘BELIEVING UNTO SALVATION’!

‘BELIEVING’ IN CHRIST THAT IS NOT A ‘BELIEVING UNTO SALVATION’!

A.W. Pink

It is exceedingly solemn to discover that there is a “believing” in Christ by the natural man, which is NOT a believing unto salvation. Just as the Buddhists believe in Buddha, so in Christendom there are multitudes who believe in Christ. And this “believing” is something more than an intellectual one. 

Often there is much feeling connected with it—the emotions may be deeply stirred. Christ taught in the Parable of the Sower that there is a class of people who hear the Word and with joy receive it, yet have they no root in themselves (Matt 13:20,21). This is fearfully solemn, for it is still occurring daily. Scriptures also tell us that Herod heard John “gladly. ” Thus, the mere fact that the reader of these pages enjoys listening to some sound gospel preacher is no proof at all that he is a regenerated soul.

The Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees concerning John the Baptist, “Ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light,” yet the sequel shows clearly that no real work of grace had been wrought in them. And these things are recorded in Scripture as solemn warnings!

It is striking and solemn to mark the exact wording in the last two Scriptures referred to. Note the repeated personal pronoun in Mark 6:20: “For Herod feared John [not ‘God’!], knowing that he as a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” It was the personality of John which attracted Herod. How often is this the case today! People are charmed by the personality of the preacher: they are carried away by his style and won by his earnestness for souls. But if there is nothing more than this, there will one day be a rude awakening for them. That which is vital is a “love for the truth,” not for the one who presents it. It is this which distinguishes the true people of God from the “mixed multitude” who ever associate with them.

So in John 5:35 Christ said to the Pharisees concerning His forerunner: “Ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light,” not “in the light”! In like manner, there are many today who listen to one whom God enables to open up some of the mysteries and wonders of His Word and they rejoice “in his light” while in the dark themselves, never having personally received “an unction from the Holy One.”

Those who do “love the truth” (2 Thess 2:10) are they in whom a divine work of grace has been wrought. They have something more than a clear, intellectual understanding of the Scripture: it is the food of their souls, the joy of their hearts (Jer 15:16). They love the truth, and because they do so, they hate error and shun it as deadly poison. They are jealous for the glory of the Author of the Word, and will not sit under a minister whose teaching dishonors Him; they will not listen to preaching which exalts man into the place of supremacy, so that he is the decider of his own destiny.

“LORD, Thou wilt ordain peace for us: for Thou also hast wrought all our works in us” (Isa 26:12). Here is the heart and unqualified confession of the true people of God. Note the preposition: “Thou also hast wrought all our works in us.” This speaks of a divine work of grace wrought in the heart of the saint. Nor is this text alone. Weigh carefully the following: “It pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me” (Gal 1:15,16).

“Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph 3:20). “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it” (Phil 1:6). “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). “I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Heb 10: 16). “Now the God of peace…make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight” (Heb 13:20). Here are seven passages which speak of the inward workings of God’s grace; or in other words of experimental salvation.

“LORD, Thou wilt ordain peace for us: for Thou also hast wrought all our works in us” (Isa 26:12). Is there an echoing response in our heart to this, my reader? Is your repentance something deeper than the remorse and tears of the natural man? Does it have its root in a divine work of grace which the Holy Spirit hath wrought in your soul? Is your believing in Christ something more than an intellectual one? Is your relation to Him something more vital than what some act of yours has brought about, having been made one with Him by the power and operation of the Spirit? Is your love for Christ something more than a pious sentiment, like that of the Romanist who sings of the “gentle” and “sweet” Jesus?

Does your love for Him proceed from an altogether new nature, that God has created within you? Can you really say with the Psalmist: “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” Is your profession accompanied by true meekness and lowliness of heart? It is easy to call yourself names, and say, “I am an unworthy and unprofitable creature.” But do you realize yourself to be such? Do you feel yourself to be “less than the least of all saints?” Paul did! If you do not; if instead, you deem yourself superior to the rank and file of Christians, who bemoan their failures, confess their weakness, and cry, “O wretched man that I am!”—there is grave reason to conclude you are a stranger to God!

That which distinguishes genuine godliness from human religiousness is this: the one is external, the other internal. Christ complained of the Pharisees, “Ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess” (Matt 23:25). A carnal religion is all on the surface. It is at the heart God looks and with the heart God deals. Concerning His people He says: “I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Heb 10:16).

“Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us: for Thou also hast wrought all our works in us.” How humbling is this to the pride of man! It makes everything of God and nothing of the creature!

The tendency of human nature the world over, is to be self-sufficient and self-satisfied; to say with the Laodiceans, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Rev 3:17). But here is something to humble us, and empty us of pride. Since God has wrought all our works in us, then we have no ground for boasting. “What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (I Cor 4:7).

And who are the ones in whom God thus works? From the divine side; His favored, chosen, redeemed people. From the human side: those who, in themselves have no claim whatever on His notice; who are destitute of any merit; who have everything in them to provoke His holy wrath; those who are miserable failures in their lives, and utterly depraved and corrupt in their persons. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, and did for them and in them what they would not and could not do for themselves.

And what is it God “works” in His people?— ALL THEIR WORKS! 

First, He quickens them: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63). “Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth” (James 1:18).

Second, He bestows repentance: “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel” (Acts 5:31). “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim 2:25).

Third, He gives faith: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). “Ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God” (Col 2:12).

Fourth, He grants a spiritual understanding:’And we know the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true” (I John 5:20).

Fifth, He effectuates our service: “I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Cor 15:10).

Sixth, He secures our perseverance: “who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (I Pet 1:5).

Seventh, He produces our fruit: “From Me is thy fruit found” (Hosea 14:8). “The fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:22). Yes, He has wrought ALL OUR WORKS IN US!

Hallelujah!

LOOKING UNTO THE LORD

LOOKING UNTO THE LORD

A.W. Pink

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith!” [Heb12:2]

Looking unto the Lord is an attitude of the SOUL, an act of the WILL, and the exercise of FAITH — a turning away from all that is of the CREATURE, and relying solely upon the living God!

It is tersely — but graphically, expressed in these words: “But our eyes are upon Thee!” (2 Chronicles 20:12), and blessed is the one who can really so aver. THAT is the language of all God’s children, when they are in their right minds. At that time, they place no reliance upon SELF, have no confidence in the FLESH, and expect nothing good from the WORLD — but they put all their trust in the Lord. Their hearts are engaged with an almighty God, and, like Moses, they endure “as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb 11:27).

It is this which characterizes those who are members of the Household of Faith:
in their NEED — they look to God for their supplies;
in their STRAITS — they look to God for deliverance;
in their TROUBLE — they look to God for comfort;
in their WEAKNESS — they look to God for strength.

It is this which distinguishes them from unbelievers, who lean upon the “arm of FLESH” (2 Chronicles 32:8) and look to their FELLOWS for help. In proportion, as we maintain this attitude of dependence on and expectation from our heavenly Father . . .
our hearts will be kept in peace,
our souls made to rejoice, and
our every need will be supplied.

For the sake of young preachers, we will topicalize our subject.

1. THE LOOK OF SALVATION. “Look unto ME, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isa 45:22). Look not to the Law, the priest, nor to your baptism, nor church attendance. Look not to your sincerity and good intentions, nor to your prayers and good deeds; nor even to your convictions of sin. None but CHRIST can save you. This is very humbling to the proud creature: to have to look away from SELF — and be wholly indebted to Another. It is not a matter of WHAT WE ARE — how good or bad — but of what He is: namely, an all-sufficient Savior, freely offered in the Gospel to every hearer.

If you look unto Him, as the serpent-bitten Israelites looked upon the divinely appointed object (John 3:14) — with simple but confident faith — He will save you!

No QUALIFICATIONS are needed to entitle you to do so — the command of God and the invitation of the Gospel supply sufficient authorization. The VILER you feel yourself to be — the more suited to Christ’s cleansing blood. He is the great Physician — and can heal the foulest leper. Do you say, “But I am blind!” True — yet you are not bidden to “SEE,” but “LOOK” — and sight comes by looking!

2. THE LOOK OF ILLUMINATION. “They looked unto Him, and were enlightened: and their faces were not ashamed” (Psalm 34:5). FAITH’S LOOKING UNTO CHRIST is the grand means of blessing appointed by God: pardon and peace, light and liberty, are obtained thereby. Of old, Job said, “Lo, all these things works God oftentimes with man — to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living” (Job 33:29-30). He does so by the power of His Spirit working in us, faith upon Christ. God announced concerning His beloved Son, “I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles” (Isa 49:6). And in due time, the Sun of righteousness arose “with healing in His wings” (Mal 4:2), putting an end to the NIGHT OF DARKNESS for many a soul. By His Gospel, He declares, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness!” (John 12:46). Then look unto Him — and you too shall be divinely illumined: your faith shall not be confounded, nor your face covered with confusion.

3. THE LOOK OF SUPPLICATION. “But our eyes are upon Thee” (2 Chronicles 20:12). The setting of those words is very striking. A great army of the heathen had gathered together to do battle against Judah. When their king was informed, he “set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast” (verse 3). Then, in the hearing of the congregation, he addressed himself unto the God of their fathers, saying, “O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee!” (verse 12).

It was an EARNEST APPEAL unto the omnipotent One by those in the place of CONSCIOUS WEAKNESS AND HELPLESSNESS. It was likewise an expression of HUMBLE BUT CONFIDENT FAITH. It was also an expectation of help from the Almighty. Nor was this simple but affecting supplication in vain. Of course it was not! Jehovah made answer: “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours — but God’s” (verse 15). He caused the enemy to fall upon themselves, “and none escaped” (verse 24). There is the grand remedy for every strait. No matter how desperate the situation — nothing is too hard for the LORD! Turn unto Him the eyes of faith, of dependence, of reliance, of confident expectation — and you will not be disappointed.

4. THE LOOK OF TRANSFORMATION. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This “beholding” is not simply one of faith — but especially of holy ambition and resolve. As the believer contemplates the moral perfection and character of Christ as they are set forth in the Word — there is born within him a deep yearning to be conformed to His likeness and to “walk, even as He walked” (1 John 2:6). As that yearning persists and is accompanied by earnest prayer, the Holy Spirit works in him a deeper spirit of obedience, causing him to be increasingly regulated by Christ’s example and precepts, and thereby “changes” him, little by little, unto the same image. The Greek verb for “change” here is rendered “transformed” in Romans 12:2, and “transfigured” in Matthew 17:2. As the will is brought into subjection to Christ — we drink into His Spirit and become partakers of His holiness. This lifelong process will be completed when “we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2), “face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

5. THE LOOK OF INSPIRATION. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher [better, “LEADER AND CAPTAIN”] of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). In Hebrews 10:32, the apostle began to set before suffering, tried, and persecuted saints — a number of considerations calculated to nerve them for the conflict and stimulate unto the continued performance of duty. Throughout chapter 11, he showed how FAITH was what animated the Old Testament worthies. As a climax, he reminded them of the Savior, who supplied the perfect example of faith and fortitude under unparalleled suffering. When, then, you grow weary of running the race set before you — look unto your Leader and draw inspiration from Him — see Hebrews 12:3-4. Do as He did: look beyond the present sorrows to “the joy” awaiting you; see above the PAINFUL CROSS — an ETERNAL CROWN prepared for him who “endures to the end” (Mat 10:22). It is by so looking unto our great Exemplar, by devoutly contemplating His spirit of self-sacrifice and steadfastness, that we obtain strength to bear the hardships of the way.

6. THE LOOK OF EXPECTATION. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). That is a very different thing from having the mind engaged with signs of the times or charmed with the study of prophecy; or even being on the alert for the next appointed item on the divine program. It is concerned not so much with an EVENT — as with the advent of a PERSON.

The second coming of Christ is ridiculed by the infidel (2 Peter 3:2-4) and dreaded by the world (2 Thessalonians 1:8); but it is regarded by the saints with great delight, for then will be the perfecting of their salvation (Hebrews 9:26). Titus 2:13 describes a spiritual attitude of heart. It is an attitude of faith — and faith is not influenced by sensational items taken from the newspapers! It is an attitude of hope — joyous anticipation of our being rid of sin. It is an attitude of love, so that we cry, “Make haste, my beloved, and be like to a roe or to a young deer upon the mountains of spices” (Song 8:14).

Such looking . . .
weans the heart from the world (Heb 11:9-10),
produces patience in trials (Jam 5:6-8), and
purifies the heart (1 John 3:3).

Therein we may behold the practical side of our blessed hope. Such an expectation of the returning Savior works in us a careful attention to our conduct, that we may “not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28).

7. THE LOOK OF CONSUMMATION. “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness” (Psalm 17:15). THAT is the ultimate longing of every believer — to behold the King in His beauty and forever gaze upon His blessed features! Such too is HIS DESIRE — to have us with Him, beholding His glory (John 17:24) — nothing less will satisfy the eternal Lover of our souls.

In a real sense, believers discern something of the glory of Christ even now — but oh, how feebly and faintly! But hereafter, we shall look upon Him without hindrance or interruption. That will be the fruition of our hope — to have immediate communion with Him. That will fill us with joy, and make us overflow with praise. Oh, how altogether lovely will He appear, when we see Him no longer “through a glass, darkly [obscurely]” — but “face to face!” (1Cor 13:12)

Hallelujah!

THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY – A FOUNDATIONAL DOCTRINE

THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY – A FOUNDATIONAL DOCTRINE

A. W. Pink 

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” [2 Cor 13:14]

He who denies the personality and absolute deity of either the Father, the Son, or the Spirit cannot be a true Christian!

THE divine Trinity lies at the basis of all New Testament teaching…The “only true God” is revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and is known in and through Jesus Christ, the one Mediator. That the revelation of the triune God constitutes the doctrinal foundation of Christianity is easily capable of demonstration.

First, as pointed out above, the true God subsists in three co-essential and co-eternal persons, and therefore he who worships any but the triune God is merely rendering homage to a figment of his own imagination.

Second, no salvation is possible for any sinner save that of which the triune God is the Author. To regard the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior to the exclusion of the saving operations of both the Father and the Spirit is a serious mistake. The Father eternally purposed the salvation of His elect in Christ (Eph 1:3-6). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit entered into an everlasting covenant with each other for the Son to become incarnate in order to redeem sinners.

The salvation of the Church is ascribed to the Father: “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling…according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2Ti 1:9). The Father, then, was our Savior long before Christ died to become such, and thanksgiving is due Him for the same. Equally necessary are the operations of the Spirit to actually apply to the hearts of God’s elect the good of what Christ did for them. It is the Spirit Who convicts men of sin and Who imparts saving faith to them. Therefore is our salvation also ascribed to Him: “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2Th 2:13). A careful reading of Titus 3:4-6 shows the three persons together in this connection, for “God our Savior” is plainly the Father; “he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Ti 3:6).

Third, the doctrine of the Trinity is a foundational doctrine because it is by the distinctive operations of the Holy Three that our varied needs are supplied. Do we not need “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ”? Is not our most urgent experimental requirement to come to Him constantly and draw from the fullness of grace that is treasured up for us in Him? (Joh 1:16). If we would obtain “grace to help in time of need,” then we must go to that throne on which the Mediator sits. And do we not also need “the love of God,” that is, fresh manifestations of it, new apprehensions thereof? Are we not bidden to keep ourselves “in the love of God”? (Jude 21). And do we not equally need “the communion of the Holy Spirit”? What would become of us if He did not renew day by day in the inner man? (See 2Co 4:16; Eph 3:16). What would be our prayer-life if He no longer helped “our infirmities” and made “intercession for the saints according to the will of God”? (Rom 8:26-27).

The Holy Trinity: Like the virgin birth of Christ and the resurrection of our bodies, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is one of the mysteries of the faith. The first truth presented to faith is the Being of the true and living God, and this we know not from any discovery of reason but because He has revealed it in His Word. The next grand truth is that the one living and true God has made Himself known to us under the threefold relation of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and this we know on the same authority as the first…Whenever we attempt to discuss the revelation God has made of His three persons, we should do so with bowed heads and reverent hearts, for the ground we tread is ineffably holy. The subject is one of transcendent sacredness for it concerns the infinitely majestic and glorious One. For the whole of our knowledge on this subject, we are entirely shut up to what it has pleased God to reveal of Himself in His Oracles. Science, philosophy, experience, observation, or speculation cannot in this exalted sphere increase our knowledge one iota.

Trinity in Unity: The divine Trinity is a Trinity in unity: that is to say, there are not three Gods but three persons as coexisting by essential union in the divine essence as being the one true God. Those three persons are coequal and co-glorious so that one is not before or after the other, neither greater nor less than the other. It is in and by Their covenant offices [that] They are manifested to us, and it is our privilege and duty to believe and know how these three persons stand committed to us and are interested in us by the everlasting covenant; but we cannot understand the mystery of Their subsistence. Any teaching that does not equally honor all the persons of the Godhead, distinctively and unitedly, is of no value to the soul. As one has said, “There is not a vestige of Christianity where the truth of the Trinity is not known, and owned, and honored. Not a vestige of godliness in the heart of any child of Adam where the Father, Son, and Spirit do not officially dwell. There is not a clear view of one doctrine of God’s grace to be obtained unless the telescope, if I may so speak, the doctrine of the Trinity, is applied to the eye of faith and all viewed there”…

In this benediction, the apostle invokes the Trinity as the source of grace, love, and communion. Its unique features must not be overlooked: the order is unusual, and the names used informally. The Son is placed before the Father. The divine persons are not here spoken of as the Son, the Father, and the Spirit, but as the Lord Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit. The reason for this is because what we have in our text is not primarily a confession of faith (as is Mat 28:19), nor a doxology (as is Jude 24-25), but a benediction. A doxology is an ascription of praise; a benediction is a word of blessing—the one ascends from the heart of the saint to God, the other descends from God to the saint…

The Doctrine of the Trinity of Great Importance: The Christian benediction therefore intimates that the doctrine of the Trinity is one of great importance to the existence and progress of vital godliness: that it is not a subject of mere speculation, but one on which depends all the communications of grace and peace to the saints. It is a striking and solemn fact that those who reject the truth of the Trinity are seldom known to even profess having spiritual communion with God, but instead treat the same as a species of enthusiasm and fanaticism, as a perusal of the writings of Unitarians will show. The benediction, then, sums up the blessings of Christian privilege in the three great words of the gospel: grace, love, communion. Those three divine gifts are attributed to different persons in the Godhead. Each takes precedence in His own peculiar work, though we cannot trace the limits of such, and must be careful lest we conceive of God as three Gods rather than one. Each belongs to all. Grace is of God and of the Spirit as well as of the Son. Love is of the Son and Spirit as well as the Father. And our communion is with the Father and the Son as well as with the Spirit.

Grace — a Great Word of the Gospel: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Why distinctively ascribe grace to Him if it is of God and the Spirit as well? Because in the economy of redemption, all grace comes to us through Him. The word grace is the special token of Paul in every epistle: eight close with “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,” sometimes varying the formula to “with your spirit.” Grace is one of the outstanding words of the gospel…

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.” That is His designation as the God-man Mediator. It includes and indicates His divine nature: He is “the Lord,” yes, “the Lord of lords.” His human nature: He is “Jesus.” His office: He is “Christ,” the anointed One, the long-promised Messiah, the Mediator. It is the favor of His divine person clothed with our nature and made the Head of His people that the apostle invokes for all his believing brethren. “His grace be with you all.” That comes first in the benediction because it is our initial need. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2Co 8:9). There, it is His infinite condescension in submitting to such a mean condition for our sakes.

When He became incarnate, the only begotten of the Father was beheld by His own as “full of grace and truth,” and as the apostle added, “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (Joh 1:14, 16). Here, the meaning of grace passes from an attribute of the divine character to an active energy in the souls of the redeemed. At the throne of grace, we “find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16). The heart is “established with grace” (Heb 13:9), and by that grace we are enabled to “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb 12:28). It is in “the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2Ti 2:1) that we find our strength, and He assures us of its competency to support us under all afflictions and persecutions by the promise “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2Co 12:9). Therefore, we are exhorted to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Pe 3:18). Those passages all speak of the divine power in the soul as the operation of grace in connection with the Lord Jesus Christ as its Fountain.

The Love of God: “And the love of God.” There are two reasons why this comes second: because this is the order both in the economy of redemption and in Christian experience. First, it was the mediatorial grace or work of Christ that procured the love of God for His people, which turned away His wrath from them and reconciled Him to them. Hence, it is referred to not as “the love of the Father,” which never changed or diminished to His people, but as the love or goodwill of God considered as their Governor and Judge. Second, it is by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in saving us that we are brought to the knowledge and enjoyment of the love of God. The love of the Father is indeed the source and originating cause of redemption, but that is not the particular love of God that is here in view. The death of Christ as a satisfaction for our sins was necessary in order to bring us to God and into participation of His love. The manifestation of the love of God toward us in the pardon of our sins and the justification of our persons was conditioned on the atoning blood.

The Communion of the Holy Spirit: “And the communion of the Holy Spirit.” As the grand design of Christ’s work Godward was to appease His judicial wrath and procure for us His love and favor, so the grand effect saint-ward was the procuring of the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word may be rendered either “communion” or “communication.” By the communication of the Holy Spirit, we are regenerated, faith is given, holiness is wrought in us. Life, light, love, and liberty are the special benefits He bestows on us. Without the Spirit being communicated to us we could never enter, personally and experimentally, into the benefits of Christ’s mediation. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal 3:13-14). Thus, the communicating of the Spirit to His people was one of the chief objects of Christ’s death.

But the Greek also signifies the communion of the Holy Spirit, a word that means “partnership, companionship.” He shares with us the things of God. Grace tends to love, and love to communion. Hence, we see again that the order here is that of Christian experience. Only as grace is consciously received and the love of God is realized in the soul can there be any intelligent and real communion, through Christ to God the Father and through both to the abiding presence of the Comforter. This expression “the communion of the Holy Spirit” shows He is a person, for it is meaningless to talk of communion with an impersonal principle or influence. United as He is in this verse with “the Lord Jesus Christ and God,” it evidences Him to be a divine person. Further, it denotes He is an object of intercourse and converse, and hence we must be on our guard against grieving Him (Eph 4:30). The separate mention of each of the eternal Three teaches us that They are to be accorded equal honor, glory, and praise from us.

What is signified by “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all?” It cannot mean less than a consciousness of God’s presence. The apostle was not praying for the gifts of grace, love, and communion apart from the persons in whom alone they are to be found. He requested that the presence of the triune God might be realized in the souls of His people. The New Testament teaches that the divine Three are equally present in the heart of the believer. Speaking of the Spirit Christ said, “He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you,” and of Himself and the Father, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (Joh 14:17, 23). The Christian is indwelt by the triune God: the Lord Jesus dwells in him as the source of all grace, God the Father abides in him as the spring of all love, and the Holy Spirit communes with him and energizes him for all spiritual service.

 

THE ERROR OF TEACHING – “THAT WAS FOR THE JEWS, THIS WAS FOR THE GENTILES AND ONLY THIS SMALL PORTION IS FOR US CHRISTIANS!”

THE ERROR OF TEACHING – “THAT WAS FOR THE JEWS, THIS WAS FOR THE GENTILES AND ONLY THIS SMALL PORTION IS FOR US CHRISTIANS!”

A.W. Pink

Dispensationalism is a modern method of mishandling the Scriptures—for modern it certainly is, being quite unknown to Christendom till little more than a century ago, and only within recent years being adopted by those who are outside the narrow circle where it originated—is based upon 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Very little or nothing at all is said upon the first two clauses of that verse, but on the third one, which is explained as “correctly partitioning the Scriptures unto the different peoples to whom they belong.” These mutilators of the Word tell us that all of the Old Testament from Genesis 12 onwards belongs entirely to Israel after the flesh, and that none of its precepts (as such) are binding upon those who are members of the Church which is the Body of Christ, nor may any of the promises found therein be legitimately appropriated by them. And this, be it duly noted, without a single word to that effect by either the Lord or any of His Apostles, and despite the use which the Holy Spirit makes of the earliest Scriptures in every part of the New Testament.

So far from the Holy Spirit teaching Christians practically to look upon the Old Testament much as they would upon an obsolete almanac, He declares, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the (Old Testament) Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).

Not satisfied with their determined efforts to deprive us of the Old Testament, these would-be super-expositors dogmatically assert that the four Gospels are Jewish, and that the Epistles of James and Peter, John and Jude are designed for a “godly Jewish remnant” in a future “tribulation period,” that nothing but the Pauline Epistles contain “Church truth,” and thousands of gullible souls have accepted their ipse digit—those who decline so doing are regarded as untaught and superficial. Yet God Himself has not uttered a single word to that effect.

Certainly there is nothing whatever in 2 Timothy 2:15, to justify such a revolutionizing method of interpreting the Word: that verse has no more to do with the sectioning of Scripture between different “dispensations” than it has with distinguishing between stars of varying magnitude. If that verse be carefully compared with Matthew 7:6, John 16:12 and 1 Corinthians 3:2, its meaning is clear. The occupant of the pulpit is to give diligence in becoming equipped to give the different classes of his hearer “their portion of meat in due season” (Luke 12:42).

To rightly divide the Word of Truth is for him to minister it suitably unto the several cases and circumstances of his congregation: to sinners and saints, the indifferent and the inquiring, the babes and fathers, the tempted and afflicted, the backslidden and fallen.

While there be great variety in the teaching of the Word, there is an unmistakable unity underlying the whole. Though He employed many mouthpieces, the Holy Scriptures have but one Author; and while He “at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” and “hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son” (Heb. 1:1,2), yet He who spoke by them was and is One “with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jam. 1:17), who throughout all ages declares: “I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3:6).

Throughout there is perfect agreement between every part of the Word: it sets forth one system of doctrine (we never read of “the doctrines of God,” but always “the doctrine”: see Deut 32:2; Prov 4:2; Matt 7:28; John 7:17; Rom. 16:17, and contrast Mark 7:7; Col. 2:22; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 13:9) because it is one single and organic whole. That Word presents uniformly one way of salvation, one rule of faith. From Genesis to Revelation there is one immutable Moral Law, one glorious Gospel for perishing sinners. The Old Testament believers were saved with the same salvation, were indebted to the same Redeemer, were renewed by the same Spirit, and were partakers of the same heavenly inheritance as are New Testament believers.

The Bible consists of many parts, exquisitely correlated and vitally interdependent upon each other. God so controlled all the agents which He employed in the writing of it, and so coordinated their efforts, as to produce a single living Book. Within that organic unity there is indeed much variety, but no contrariety. Man’s body is but one, though it be made up of many members, diverse in size, character, and operation. The rainbow is but one, nevertheless it reflects distinctly the seven prismatic rays, yet they are harmoniously blended together.

So it is with the Bible: its unity appears in the perfect consistency throughout of its teachings. The oneness yet triunity of God, the deity and humanity of Christ united in one Person, the everlasting covenant which secures the salvation of all the election of grace, the highway of holiness and the only path which leads to heaven, are plainly revealed in Old and New Testament alike. The teaching of the prophets concerning the glorious character of God, the changeless requirements of His righteousness, the total depravity of human nature, and the way appointed for restoration therefrom, are identical with the Apostles’ teaching.

If the question be raised, Since the sacred Scriptures be a strict unit, then why has God Himself divided them into two Testaments? perhaps it will simplify the matter if we ask why God has appointed two principal bodies to illuminate the earth—the sun and the moon. Why, too, is the human frame duplex, having two legs and arms, two lungs and kidneys, etc.? Is not the answer the same in each case: to augment and supplement each other?

But, more directly, at least four reasons may be suggested.

First, to set forth more distinctly the two covenants which are the basis of God’s dealings with all mankind: the covenant of works and the covenant of grace—shadowed forth by the “old” from Sinai and the “new” or Christian one.

Second, to show more plainly the two separate companies which are united in that one Body which constitutes the Church of which Christ is the Head, namely redeemed Jews and redeemed Gentiles.

Third, to demonstrate more clearly the wondrous providence of God: using the Jews for so many centuries to be the custodians of the Old Testament, which condemns them for their rejection of Christ; and in employing the papists throughout the dark ages to preserve the New Testament, which denounces their idolatrous practices.

Fourth, that one might confirm the other: type by antitype, prophecy by fulfillment.

“The mutual relations of the two Testaments. These two main divisions resemble the dual structure of the human body, where the two eyes and ears, hands and feet, correspond to and complement one another. Not only is there a general, but a special, mutual fitness. They need therefore to be studied together, side by side, to be compared even in lesser details, for in nothing are they independent of each other; and the closer the inspection the minuter appears the adaptation, and the more intimate the association. . . .The two Testaments are like the two cherubim of the mercy seat, facing in opposite directions, yet facing each other and overshadowing with glory one mercy seat; or again, they are like the human body bound together by joints and bands and ligaments, with one brain and heart, one pair of lungs, one system of respiration, circulation, digestion, sensor and motor nerves, where division is destruction” (A. T. Pierson, from Knowing the Scriptures).

So WHAT does it mean to ‘RIGHTLY divide the Word’?

TO RIGHTLY DIVIDE THE WORD OF TRUTH is for the occupant of the pulpit to give diligence in becoming equipped to give the different classes of his hearers “their portion of meat in due season” (Luke 12:42).

TO RIGHTLY DIVIDE THE WORD is for the preacher to minister it suitably unto the several cases and circumstances of his congregation: to sinners and saints, the indifferent and the inquiring, the babes and fathers, the tempted and afflicted, the backslidden and fallen.

A word from C.H. Spurgeon

“No promise is of private interpretation. Whatever God has said to any one saint, He has said to all. When He opens a well for one, it is that ALL may drink. When He openeth a granary- door to give out food, there may be some one starving man who is the occasion of its being opened, but ALL hungry saints may come and feed too.

Whether He gave the word to Abraham or to Moses, matters not, O believer; He has given it to thee as one of the covenanted seed. There is not a high blessing too lofty for thee, nor a wide mercy too extensive for thee. Lift up now thine eyes to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, for all this is thine. Climb to Pisgah’s top, and view the utmost limit of the divine promise, for the land is all thine own. There is not a brook of living water of which thou mayst not drink. If the land floweth with milk and honey, eat the honey and drink the milk, for both are thine. Be thou bold to believe, for He hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”