JESUS – THE LORD OF ALL COMFORT

JESUS – THE LORD OF ALL COMFORT

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the GOD OF ALL COMFORT; Who comforteth us in ALL our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. [2Cor 1:3,4]

“I have long perceived the truth of what the apostle says in 2 Corinthians 1:4 – It is God’s way to take His people, AND ESPECIALLY HIS SERVANTS, through trying and painful experiences, in order that they may USE to His glory the consolation wherewith He has comforted them.

It is those who know most of the plague of their own heart, who are best fitted to speak a word in season to weary souls. It is out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, and it is he who has passed through the furnace who can best deal with those now in the fire.”

[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s – “Studies in Saving Faith”]

I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENETH ME. – [Phil 4:13]

I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENETH ME. – [Phil 4:13]

A.W. Pink 

“For by Thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall” [Psalm 18:29]

“Occurring as they do in the second half of this Psalm, we do not regard these words as referring to David’s escapes from his enemies, but to his VANQUISHING OF THEM. It was not that he was almost surrounded by hostile forces and then managed to find a loophole, or that he was driven into some stockade and then climbed over it; rather that he SUCCESSFULLY ATTACKED THEM.

Instead of picturing the difficulties from which David extricated himself, we consider this verse portrays his foes as occupying two different positions: in the open field, sheltering behind some battlement; and his prevailing over them in each case. The leading thought seems to be that the Christian warrior must expect to have a taste of EVERY FORM of fighting, for at times he is required to take the OFFENSIVE, as well as the DEFENSIVE. A “troop” of difficulties may impede his progress, a “wall” of opposition obstruct his success: but by divine enablement HE IS TO MASTER BOTH!”

Got any rivers you think are un-crossable?
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
God specializes in things thought impossible
And He can do what no other power can do. Hallelujah!

CONTENTMENT – THE PRODUCT OF A HEART RESTING IN GOD

CONTENTMENT – THE PRODUCT OF A HEART RESTING IN GOD

by A.W. Pink

Contentment…is the product of a heart resting in God. It is the soul’s enjoyment of that peace that passes all understanding. It is the outcome of my will being brought into subjection to the Divine will. It is the blessed assurance that God does all things well, and is, even now, making all things work together for my ultimate good. This experience has to be “learned” by “proving what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). Contentment is possible only as we cultivate and maintain that attitude of accepting everything that enters our lives as coming from the hand of Him who is too wise to err, and too loving to cause one of His children a needless tear…..Real contentment is possible only by being much in the presence of the Lord Jesus. This comes out clearly in the verses that follow our opening text; “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Phil. 4:12-13).

It is only by cultivating intimacy with that One who was never discontent that we shall be delivered from the sin of complaining. It is only by daily fellowship with Him who ever delighted in the Father’s will that we shall learn the secret of contentment. May both writer and reader so behold in the mirror of the Word the glory of the Lord that we shall be “changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).

GAINING THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSING YOUR OWN SOUL

GAINING THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSING YOUR OWN SOUL

A.W. Pink

The world appeals to every instinct of fallen man. It contains a thousand objects to charm him: they attract his attention, the attention creates a desire for and love of them, and insensibly yet surely they make deeper and deeper impressions on his heart. It has the same fatal influence on all classes. But attractive and appealing as its varied objects may be, all the pursuits and pleasures of the world are designed and adapted to promote the happiness of THIS LIFE ONLY therefore, “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the WHOLE WORLD, and lose his OWN SOUL?”

The Christian is taught by the Spirit, and through His presenting of Christ to the soul his thoughts are diverted from the world. Just as a little child will readily drop a dirty object when something more pleasing is offered to it, so the heart which is in communion with God will say, “I count ALL THINGS but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord… and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3:8).

We profit from the Word when we walk in separation from the world. “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Such a verse as this ought to search every one of us through and through, and make us tremble. How can I fraternize with or seek my pleasure in that which condemned the Son of God? If I do, that at once identifies me with His enemies.

Oh, my reader, MAKE NO MISTAKE UPON THIS POINT. It is written, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

Of old it was said of the people of God that they “shall dwell ALONE, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Num. 23:9). Surely the disparity of character and conduct, the desires and pursuits, which distinguish the regenerate from the unregenerate must separate the one from the other. We who profess to have our citizenship in another world, to be guided by another Spirit, to be directed by another rule, and to be journeying to another country, CANNOT go arm in arm with those who despise all such things! Then let everything in and about us exhibit the character of Christian pilgrims. May we indeed be “men wondered at” (Zech. 3:8) because “not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2).

We profit from the Word when we are elevated above the world.
First, above its customs and fashions. The worldling is a slave to the prevailing habits and styles of the day. Not so the one who is walking with God: his chief concern is to be “conformed to the image of his Son.”

Second, above its cares and sorrows: of old it was said of the saints that they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing that they had “in heaven a better and an enduring substance” (Heb. 10:34).

Third, above its temptations: what attraction has the glare and glitter of the world for those who are “delighting themselves in the Lord?” NONE whatever!

Fourth, above its opinions and approvals. Have you learned to be independent of and defy the world? If your whole heart is set upon pleasing God, you will be quite UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE FROWNS OF THE GODLESS.

Now, my reader, do you really wish to measure yourself by the contents written asbove? Then seek honest answers to the following questions.

First, WHAT are the objects before your mind in times of recreation? What do your thoughts most run upon? Second, what are the objects of your choice? When you have to decide how to spend an evening or the Sabbath afternoon, what do you select? Third, which occasions you the most sorrow, the loss of earthly things, or lack of communion with God? Which causes greater grief (or chagrin), the spoiling of your plans, or the coldness of your heart to Christ? Fourth, what is your favorite topic of conversation? Do you hanker after the news of the day, or to meet with those who talk of the “altogether lovely” One? Fifth, do your “good intentions” materialize, or are they nothing but empty dreams? Are you spending more or less time than formerly on your knees? Is the Word sweeter to your taste, or has your soul lost its relish for it?

[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Profiting from the Word’]

LAYING UP TRUE RICHES

LAYING UP TRUE RICHES

A.W. Pink

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also!” [Matt 6:19-21]

The vast majority of our fellows make it their supreme aim in life to acquire as much as possible of worldly wealth. With such an example on every side, and the trend of their own hearts in the same direction, the disciples of Christ are in greater danger from this sin than from most others. To nullify this evil tendency Christ here emphasizes the relative valuelessness of mundane things. “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle” (Prov. 23:5).

What true satisfaction can there be in the possession of things which are subject to decay and loss by violence. One of the strongest proofs of human depravity and of the diseased state of our minds is the extreme difficulty which most of us experience in the realizing of this fact in such a way that it really influences our actions.

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (v. 20). Having shown what we must NOT do in respect of treasures here on earth, and knowing his inclination to be such that man will needs have something for his treasure, Christ here makes known what treasure we MAY lay up for ourselves. But how shall we lay up treasure in heaven? For we cannot of ourselves come there. No man can save himself: THE BEGINNING, PROGRESS AND END OF OUR SALVATION IS WHOLLY OF GOD. Answer: as often in Scripture, the work of the efficient cause is here ascribed to the instrument (cf. 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Tim. 4:16).

TO MAKE US RICH WITH HEAVENLY TREASURE IS THE WORK OF GOD ALONE, yet because we are instrumental by His grace in the use of means to get this treasure, this command is given to us as though the work is solely ours, though God be alone the Author of it.

It is of the very first moment that we form a true estimate of what is necessary for true happiness-where it is to be found and how it is to be obtained-for the tenor of our thoughts, the direction of our affections, and the pursuit of our energies will largely be regulated thereby. Therefore does Christ here bid us, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” That we may the better understand and practice this command two points are to be carefully and reverently considered: what this treasure is, and how a man may lay it up for himself-matters of the greatest weight, for in the practice thereof lies our salvation. As to the real treasure, which neither time nor the creature can mar, it is the true and living God, the triune Jehovah who made and governs all things: in Him alone is all genuine good and happiness to be found.

This is clear from such scriptures as the Lord’s statement to Abraham, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Gen. 15:1); the words of Eliphaz to Job, “The Almighty shall be thy gold” (22:25, margin); and the declaration of David: “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance . . . I have a goodly heritage”-i.e. He is my treasure (Ps. 16:5, 6). Yet let it be said emphatically that it is God as He is revealed IN CHRIST who is our Treasure, for out of Christ He is “a consuming fire.” God incarnate is our true treasure, for in Him are hid “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3); our very life is “hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9). To what is the apostle there referring? Why, as the previous verse shows, to that which God has treasured up for His people in a crucified Christ: the Lord Jesus is the great Fountain and Storehouse of all true blessings communicated from God to the saints, and therefore do they exclaim, “Of His fullness [as out of a rich treasure] have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16). Wouldest thou have remission of sins and righteousness with God? Then Christ was “made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Wouldest thou have everlasting well-being? Then Christ Himself is “the true God, and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). Whatever thou needest – wisdom to direct, strength to energize, comfort to assuage grief, cleansing for defilement-all is to be found in the Saviour.

HOW may we lay up for ourselves in heaven the Divine and durable riches which are to be found in Christ? First, by faith’s appropriation: “as many as RECEIVED Him” (John 1:12)-so that I can say “my Beloved is mine, and I am His” (Song of Sol. 2:16). God in Christ becomes our everlasting portion when we surrender to and accept Him as He is offered to us in the Gospel. Second, by daily communion with Christ, drawing from His “unsearchable riches” (Eph. 3:8). “Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). And what was that “good part”? Why, to sit at His feet and drink in His word (v. 39).

Third, by emulating the example which Christ has left us. And what did that example consist of? Why, complete self-abnegation, living wholly in subjection to God-for which He was richly rewarded (see Phil. 2:5-11). Fourth, by acting as His stewards and using the goods He has entrusted to us by laying them out to His glory (see Luke 12:33; Heb. 6:10, etc.).

Almost all will say they hope for happiness from God in the next world, but what do they NOW make their chief good? What are they most taken up with, both in the pursuit and enjoyment? It is at this point each of us must examine and test himself. What things does my soul most favour and relish, the things of the world or of God (see Rom. 8:5)? Which seasons of time do I regard as lost or as most gainful, which are my days of richest income? Of the Sabbath the wicked ask, “When will it be gone”? But the healthy saint declares, “A day in Thy courts is better than a thousand” (Ps. 84:10) – because of the spiritual gains it brings in. What is dearest to my heart, what engages my most serious thoughts? This determines which I prize the more highly: earthly or heavenly treasures.

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 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!” [Phil 3:7,8]

THE WAY OF THE TRANSGRESSOR IS HARD!

THE WAY OF THE TRANSGRESSOR IS HARD!

A.W. Pink

God may suffer His people to indulge the lusts of the flesh and fall into grievous sin, but He will not allow them to remain content and happy in such a case; rather are they made to prove that “the way of transgressors is hard.” In Job 20 the Holy Spirit has painted a graphic picture of the wretchedness experienced by the evil-doer. “Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth: yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him. He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly. He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper’s tongue shall slay him . . . It shall go ill with him that is left in his tabernacle. The heaven shall reveal his iniquity” (vv. 12-16, 26, 27). Notably is this the case with backsliders, for God will not he mocked with impunity.

The coarse pleasures of sin cannot long content a child of God. It has been truly said that “Nobody buys a little passing pleasure in evil at so dear a rate, or keeps it so short a time, as a good man.” The conscience of the righteous soon reasserts itself, and makes its disconcerting voice heard. He may yet be far from true repentance, but he will soon experience keen remorse. Months may pass before he again enjoys communion with God, but self-disgust will quickly fill his soul. The saint has to pay a fearfully high price for enjoying “the pleasures of sin for a season.” Stolen waters may be sweet for a moment, but how quickly his “mouth is filled with gravel” (Prov. 20:17). Soon will the guilty one have to cry out, “He hath made my chain heavy . . . He hath made me desolate: He hath filled me with bitterness . . . Thou hast removed my soul far off from peace” (Lam. 3:7, 11, 15, 17).

Though the inspired historian has not described the wretchedness of David’s soul following his murder of Uriah, yet we may obtain a clear view of the same from the Psalms penned by him after his conviction and deep contrition. Those Psalms tell of a sullen closing of his mouth: “when I kept silence” (32:3). Though his heart must frequently have smitten him, yet he would not speak to God about his sin; and there was nothing else he could speak of. They tell of the inward perturbation and tumult that filled him: “My bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long” (32:3): groans of remorse were wrung from his yet unbroken heart. “For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me” (v. 4)— a sense of the divine holiness and power oppressed him, though it did not melt him.

Even a palace can afford no relief unto one who is filled with bitter remorse. A king may command his subjects, but he cannot quiet the voice of outraged conscience. No matter whether the sun of the morning was shining or the shades of even were falling, there was no escape for David. “Day and night” God’s heavy hand weighted him down: “my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (he declared in v. 4)— it was as though some heated iron was scorching him: all the dew and freshness of his life was dried up. Most probably he suffered acutely in both body and soul. Thus he dragged through a weary year—ashamed of his guilty dalliance, wretched in his self-accusation, afraid of God, and skulking in the recesses of his palace from the sight of the people.

David learned, what we all learn (and the holier a man is, the more speedily and sharply the lesson follows on the heels of his sin), that every transgression is a blunder, that we never get the satisfaction which we expect from any sin, or if we do, we get something with it which spoils it all. A nauseous drug is added to the exciting, intoxicating drink which temptation offers, and though its flavor is at first disguised by the pleasanter taste of sin, its bitterness is persistent though slow, and clings to the palate long after that has faded away utterly” (Alexander Maclaren). With equal clearness does this appear in Psalm 51: “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation” (v. 12) he cries, for spiritual comforts had entirely deserted him. “O Lord, open Thou my lips: and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise” (v. 15): the dust had settled upon the strings of his harp because the Spirit within was grieved.

How could it be otherwise? So long as David refused to humble himself beneath the mighty hand of God, seeking from Him a spirit of true repentance, and freely confessing his great wickedness, there could be no more peace for him, no more happy communion with God, no further growth in grace.

O my reader, we would earnestly press upon you the great importance of keeping short accounts with God. Let not guilt accumulate upon thy conscience: make it a point each night of spreading before Him the sins of the day, and seeking to be cleansed therefrom. Any great sin lying long upon the conscience, unrepented of, or not repented of as the matter requires, only furthers our indwelling corruptions: neglect causes the heart to be hardened. “My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness” (Ps. 38:5): it was his foolish neglect to make a timely application for the cure of the wounds that sin had made, which he there laments.

At the end of 2 Samuel 11 we read, “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord,” upon which Matthew Henry says. “One would think it should have followed that the Lord sent enemies to invade him, terrors to take hold on, and the messengers of death to arrest him. No, He sent a prophet to him”—”And the Lord sent Nathan unto David” (12:1). We are here to behold the exceeding riches of divine grace and mercy: such “riches” that legal and selfrighteous hearts have murmured at, as a making light of sin— so incapable is the natural man of discerning spiritual things: they are “foolishness” unto him. David had wandered far, but he was not lost. “Though the righteous fall,” yet it is written “he shall not be utterly cast down” (Ps. 37:24). O how tenderly God watches over His sheep! How faithfully He goes after and recovers them, when they have strayed! With what amazing goodness does He heal their backslidings, and continue to love them freely!

Praise the Lord!

BROTHERLY LOVE

BROTHERLY LOVE

A.W. Pink

“Let brotherly love continue” [Heb 13:1]

Brotherly love is that spiritual benevolence and affectionate solicitude which Christians have one toward another, desiring and seeking their highest interests. The varied characteristics of it are beautifully delineated in 1 Corinthians 13. In the opening verse of Hebrews 13 the apostle exhorts unto the maintenance of the same, “Let brotherly love continue.”

Negatively, that means, Let us be constantly on our guard against those things which are likely to interrupt its flow. Positively, it signifies, Let us be diligent in employing those means which are calculated to keep it in a healthy state. It is along these two lines that our responsibility here is to be discharged, and therefore it is of first importance that due heed be given thereto.

We therefore propose to point out some of the main hindrances and obstacles to the continuance of brotherly love, and then mention some of the aids and helps to the furtherance of the same. May the blessed Spirit direct the writer’s thoughts and give the reader to lay to heart whatever is of Himself.

The root hindrance to the exercise of brotherly love is self-love—to be so occupied with number one that the interests of others are lost sight of. In Proverbs 30:15 we read, “The horseleech hath two daughters crying Give, give.” This repulsive creature has two forks in her tongue, which she employs for gorging herself in the blood of her unhappy victim. Spiritually the “horseleech” represents self-love and her two daughters are self-righteousness, and self-pity. As the horseleech is never satisfied, often continuing to gorge itself until it bursts, so self-love is never contented, crying “Give, give.” All the blessings and mercies of God are perverted by making them to minister unto self.

Now the antidote for this evil spirit is for the heart to be engaged with the example which Christ has left us. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister unto others. He pleased not Himself, but ever “went about doing good.” He was tireless in relieving distress and seeking the welfare of all with whom He came into contact. Then “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). If brotherly love is to continue self must be denied.

Inseparably connected with self-love is pride, and the fostering of pride is fatal to the cultivation of brotherly affection. The majority, if not all, of the petty grievances among Christians, are to be traced back to this evil root. “Love suffereth long,” but pride is terribly impatient. “Love envieth not,” but pride is intensely jealous. “Love seeketh not her own,” but pride ever desires gratification. “Love seeketh not her own,” but pride demands constant attention from others.

“Love beareth all things,” but pride is resentful of the slightest injury. “Love endureth all things,” but pride is offended if a brother fails to greet him on the street. Pride must be mortified if brotherly love is to flourish. Therefore the first injunction of Christ to those who come unto Him for rest is, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.”

Another great enemy to brotherly love is a sectarian spirit, and this evil is far more widespread than many suppose. Our readers would be surprised if they knew how often a sample copy of this magazine is despised by those who have a reputation for being stalwarts in the Faith and as possessing a relish for spiritual things, yet because this paper is not issued by their denomination or “circle of fellowship” it is at once relegated to the waste-paper basket.

Alas, how frequently is a spirit of partisanship mistaken for brotherly love: so long as a person “believes our doctrines” and is willing to “join our church,” he is received with open arms. On the other hand, no matter how sound in the faith a man may be, nor how godly his walk, if he refuses to affiliate himself with some particular group of professing Christians, he is looked upon with suspicion and given the cold shoulder. But such things ought not to be: they betray a very low state of spirituality.

We are far from advocating the entering into familiar fellowship with everyone who claims to be a Christian—Scipture warns us to “lay hands suddenly on no man” (1 Tim. 5:22), for all is not gold that glitters; and perhaps there never was a day in which empty profession abounded so much as it does now. Yet there is a happy medium between being taken in by every impostor who comes along, and refusing to believe that there are any genuine saints left upon earth. Surely a tree may be known by its fruits.

When we meet with one in whom we can discern the image of Christ, whether that one be a member of our party or not, there should our affections be fixed. “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God” (Rom. 15:7): it is our bounden duty to love all whom Christ loves, It is utterly vain that we boast of our orthodoxy or of the “light” we have, if brotherly love be not shown by us to the feeblest member of Christ’s body who crosses our path.

There are many other things which are serious obstacles to the maintenance of brotherly love, yet we must not do more than barely mention them: the love of the world; failure to mortify the lusts of the flesh in our souls; being unduly wrapped up in the members of our own family, so that those related to us by the blood of Christ have not that place in our affections which they ought; ignorance of the directions in which it should be exercised and of the proper duties which it calls for; forgetfulness of the foundation of it, which is a mutual interest in the grace of God, that we are fellow-members of the Household of Faith; a readiness to listen to idle gossip, which in most instances, is a “giving place to the Devil,” who accuses the brethren day and night.

But there is one other serious hindrance to the continuance of brotherly love which we will notice in a little more detail, namely, impatience.

By impatience we mean a lack of forbearance. True brotherly love is a reflection of God’s love for us, and He loves His people not for their native attractiveness, but for Christ’s sake; and therefore does He love them in spite of their ugliness and vileness. God is “longsuffering to us-ward” (2 Pet. 3:9), bearing with our crookedness, pardoning our iniquities, healing our diseases, and His word to us is, “Be ye therefore followers (emulators) of God, as dear children, and walk in love” (Eph. 5:1, 2).

We are to love the saints for what we can see of Christ in them; yes, love them, and for that reason—in spite of all their ignorance, perverseness, ill-temper, obstinacy, fretfulness. It is the image of God in them not their wealth, amiability, social position—which is the magnet that attracts a renewed heart toward them.

“Forbearing one another in love” (Eph. 4:2). False love is glad of any specious excuse for throwing off the garb that sits so loosely and uncomfortably upon it. Ahitophel was glad of a pretext to forsake David, whom he hated in his heart, although with his mouth he continued to show much love. “Forbearing one another in love:” that love which a little silence or neglect can destroy never came from God, that love which a few blasts of malice from the lips of a new acquaintance will wither, is not worth possessing! Remember, dear brother, God suffers our love for one another to be tried and tested—-as He does our faith—or there would be no need for this exhortation “forbearing one another in love.”

The most spiritual Christian on earth is full of infirmities, and the best way of enduring them is to frequently and honestly remind yourself that you also are full of faults and failings.

 

GOD’S PEOPLE ARE NEVER ALONE

GOD’S PEOPLE ARE NEVER ALONE

A.W. Pink

“I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you” (John 14:18).

‘The marginal rendering here is to be preferred: “I will not leave you orphans.” It looks back to John 13:33 where the Lord had addressed them as “little children”. They were not to be like sheep without a shepherd, helpless believers in a hostile world, without a defender, forsaken orphans incapable of providing for themselves, left to the mercy of strangers. “I will come to you”: how precious is this! Before we go to His place to be with Him (John 14:2 ,3), He comes to be with us!

But what is meant by “I will come to you”? We believe that these words are to be understood in their widest latitude. He came to them corporeally, immediately after His resurrection. He came to them in spirit after His ascension. He will come to them in glory at His second advent. The present application of this promise to believers finds its fulfillment in the gift of the Holy Spirit indwelling us individually, present in the midst of the assembly collectively. And yet we must not limit the coming of Christ to His children to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity is altogether beyond the grasp of our finite minds. Yet the New Testament makes it clear that in the unity of the Godhead, the advent of the Holy Spirit was also Christ coming, invisibly, to be really present with His own. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). “Christ liveth in me,” said the apostle Paul (Galatians 2:20). “Christ among you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

How unspeakably blessed is this! Friends, relatives, yea, professing Christians may turn against us, but He has promised, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee!” [Isaiah 54:10]

Say “Praise the LORD!”

 

ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE

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’ ]

HE CANNOT BE A TRUE CHRISTIAN WHO DENIES THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY

HE CANNOT BE A TRUE CHRISTIAN WHO DENIES THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY

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.