A.W. Pink

And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. [1Kings 17:4]

Ah, it was a brook and not a river—a brook which might dry up any moment. It is rare that God places His servants, or even His people, in the midst of luxury and abundance: to be surfeited with the things of this world only too often means the drawing away of the affections from the giver Himself. “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” It is our hearts God requires, and often this is put to the proof. The way in which temporal losses are borne generally makes manifest the difference between the real Christian and the worldling. The latter is utterly cast down by financial reverses, and frequently commits suicide. Why? Because his all has gone and there is nothing left to live for. In contrast, the genuine believer may be severely shaken and for a time deeply depressed, but he will recover his poise and say, “God is still my portion and I shall not want.”

Instead of a river, God often gives us a brook, which may be running today and dried up tomorrow. Why? To teach us not to rest in our blessings, but in the blesser Himself. Yet is it not at this very point that we so often fail— our hearts being far more occupied with the gifts than with the giver. Is not this just the reason why the Lord will not trust us with a river? —because it would unconsciously take His place in our hearts.” Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation” (Deut. 32:15). And the same evil tendency exists within us. We sometimes feel that we are being hardly dealt with because God gives us a brook rather than a river, but his is because we are so little acquainted with our own hearts. God loves His own too well to place dangerous knives in the hands of infants.

And how was the prophet to subsist in such a place? Where was his food to come from? Ah, God will see to that: He will provide for his maintenance: “And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook” (v. 4). Whatever may be the case with Ahab and his idolators, Elijah shall not perish. In the very worst of times God will show Himself strong on the behalf of his own. Whoever starves they shall be fed: “Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure” (Isa. 33:16). Yet how absurd it sounds to common sense to bid a man tarry indefinitely by a brook! Yes, but it was God who had given this order, and the divine commands are not to be argued about but obeyed. Thereby Elijah was bidden to trust God contrary to sight, to reason, to all outward appearances, to rest in the Lord Himself and wait patiently for Him.

“I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there” (v. 4). Observe the word we have placed in italics. The prophet might have preferred many another hiding-place, but to Cherith he must go if he was to receive the Divine supplies: as long as he tarried there, God was pledged to provide for him. How important, then, is the question, Am I in the place which God has (by His Word or providence) assigned me? If so, He will assuredly supply my every need. But if like the younger son I turn my back upon Him and journey into the far country, then like that prodigal I shall certainly suffer want. How many a servant of God has laboured in some lowly or difficult sphere with the dew of the Spirit on his soul and the blessing of Heaven on his ministry, when there came an invitation from some other field which seemed to offer a wider scope (and a larger salary!), and as he yielded to the temptation, the Spirit was grieved and his usefulness in God’s kingdom was at an end.

The same principle applies with equal force to the rank and file of God’s people: they must be “in the way” (Gen. 24:27), of God’s appointing if they are to receive Divine supplies. “Thy will be done” precedes “Give us this day our daily bread.” But how many professing Christians have we personally known who resided in a town whither God sent one of His own qualified servants, who fed them with “the finest of the wheat,” and their souls prospered. Then came a tempting business offer from some distant place, which would improve their position in the world. The offer was accepted, their tent was removed, only to enter a spiritual wilderness where there was no edifying ministry available. In consequence their souls were starved, their testimony for Christ ruined, and a period of fruitless backsliding ensued. As Israel had to follow the cloud of old in order to obtain supplies of manna, so must we be in the place of God’s ordering if our souls are to be watered and our spiritual lives prospered.

Let us next view the instruments selected by God to minister unto the bodily needs of His servant. “I have commanded the ravens to feed thee.” Various lines of thought are hereby suggested. First, see here both the high sovereignty and the absolute supremacy of God; His sovereignty in the choice made, His supremacy in His power to made it good. He is a law unto Himself: “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep place” (Ps. 135:6). He prohibited His people from eating ravens, classifying them among the unclean, yea, to be “an abomination” to them (Lev. 11:15; Deut. 14:14). Yet He Himself made use of them to carry food unto His servant. How different are God’s ways from ours! He employed Pharaoh’s own daughter to succour the infant Moses, and a Balaam to utter one of His most remarkable prophecies. He used the jawbone of an ass in the hand of Samson to slay the Philistines, and a sling and stone to vanquish their champion.

“I have commanded the ravens to feed thee.” O what a God is ours! The fowls of the air and the fishes of the sea, the wild beasts of the field, yea, the very winds and waves obey Him. Yes, “Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power . . . Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls—yes, and the ravens too! —because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people” (Isa. 43: 16-20). Thus the Lord caused birds of prey, which lived on carrion, to feed the prophet.

But let us also admire here the wisdom as well as the power of God. Elijah’s fare was provided for partly in a natural and partly in a supernatural way. There was water in the brook, so he could easily go and fetch it. God will work no miracles to spare a man trouble, or that he should be listless and lazy, making no effort to procure his own sustenance. But there was no food in the desert: how is he to get that? God will furnish this in a miraculous manner: “I have commanded the ravens to feed thee.” Had human beings been used to take him food, they might have divulged his hiding-place. Had a dog or some domestic animal gone each morning and evening, people might have seen this regular journeying to and fro, carrying food, and so been curious, and investigated the same. But birds flying with flesh into the desert would arouse no suspicion: it would be concluded they were taking it to their young. See then how careful God is of His people, how judicious in the arrangements He makes for them. He knows what would endanger their safety and provides accordingly.

“Hide thyself by the brook Cherith . . . I have commanded the ravens to fee thee there.” Go immediately, without entertaining any doubts, without any hesitation. However contrary to their natural instincts, these birds of prey shall obey the Divine behest. Nor need this appear in the least unlikely. God Himself created them, gave them their peculiar instinct, and He knows how to direct and control the same. He has power to suspend or check it, according to His good pleasure. Nature is exactly what God made it, and entirely dependent upon Him for its continuance. He upholds all things by the word of His power. In Him and by Him the birds and beasts, as well as man, love, move and have their being; and therefore He can, whenever He thinks fit, either suspend or alter the law which He has imposed upon any of His creatures. “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?”(Acts 26:8).

There in his lowly retreat the prophet was called upon to sojourn many days, yet not without a precious promise guaranteeing his sustenance: the supply of needed provision was Divinely assured him. The Lord would take care of His servant while hid from public view, and would daily feed him by His miracle-working power. Nevertheless, it was real testing of Elijah’s faith. Whoever heard of such instruments being employed—birds of prey bringing food in a time of famine! Could the ravens be depended upon? Was it not far likely that they would devour the food themselves than bring it to the prophet? Ah, his trust was not to be in the birds, but in the sure word of Him that cannot lie: “I have commanded the ravens.” It was the Creator and not the creature, the Lord Himself and not the instruments, Elijah’s heart was to be fixed upon. How blessed to be lifted above “circumstances” and in the inerrant promise of God have a sure proof of His care.

[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Life of Elijah’]



A.W. Pink

God can only be known by means of a supernatural revelation of Himself. Apart from the Scriptures, even a theoretical acquaintance with Him is impossible. It still holds true that “the world by wisdom knew not God” (1 Cor. 1:21). Where the Scriptures are ignored, God is “the unknown God” (Acts 17:23). But something more than the Scriptures is required before the soul can know God, know him in a real, personal, vital way.

This seems to be recognized by few today. The prevailing practice assumes that a knowledge of God can be obtained through studying the Word, in the same way as a knowledge of chemistry may be secured by mastering its textbooks. An intellectual knowledge of God maybe; not so a spiritual one. A supernatural God can only be known supernaturally (i.e. known in a manner above that which mere nature can acquire), by a supernatural revelation of Himself to the heart. “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). The one who has been favoured with this supernatural experience has learned that only “in Thy light shall we see light” (Psa. 36:9).

God can only be known through a supernatural facultyChrist made this clear when He said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). The unregenerate have no spiritual knowledge of God. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). Water, of itself, never rises above its own level. So the natural man is incapable of perceiving that which transcends mere nature. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God” (John 17:3). Eternal life must be imparted before the “true God” can be known. Plainly is this affirmed in 1 John 5:20, “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true.” Yes, an “understanding,” a spiritual understanding, by new creation, must be given before God can be known in a spiritual way.

If God has revealed Himself to you dear reader, He has given you a sight of yourself, for in His light we “see light.” A most humbling, painful, and never-to-be-forgotten experience this is. When God was revealed to Abraham, he said, “I am but dust and ashes” (Gen. 18:27). When He was revealed to Isaiah, the prophet said, “Woe is me for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5). When God revealed Him-self to Job, he said, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6)—note, not merely I abhor my wicked ways, but my vile self. Is this your experience, my reader? Have you discovered your depravity and lost condition? Have you found there is not a single good thing in you? Have you seen yourself to be fit for and deserving only of hell? Have you, truly? Then that is good evidence, yea, it is proof positive that the Lord God has “found” you.



A.W. Pink

This expression “the Book of Life” has its roots in Isaiah 4:3, wherein God refers to His chosen remnant as “every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem,” and it is THIS which explains the meaning of all the later references thereto. God’s eternal act of election is spoken of as writing the names of His chosen ones in the Book of Life, and the following things are suggested by this figure. First, the exact knowledge which God has of all the elect, His particular remembrance of them, His love for and delight in them.

Second, that His eternal election is one of particular persons whose names are definitely recorded by Him. Third, to show they are absolutely safe and secure, for God having written their names in the Book of Life, they shall never be blotted out (Rev. 3:5). When the seventy returned from their missionary journey, elated because the very demons were subject to them, Christ said, “But rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20 and cf. Phil. 4:3; Heb. 12:23), which shows that God’s election to eternal life is of particular persons—by name—and therefore is sure and immutable.

Let us now particularly observe that this election – register is designated “the Lamb’s Book of Life,” and this for at least two reasons. First, because the Lamb’s name heads it, His being the first one written therein, for He must have the preeminence; after which follows the enrollment of the particular names of all His people – note how His name is the first one recorded in the New Testament: Matthew 1:1!

Second, because Christ, is the root and His elect are branches, so that they receive their life from Him as they are in Him and supported by Him. It is written “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4). Christ is our life because He is the very “Prince of life” (Acts 3:15). Thus, the divine register of election in which are enrolled all the names of Christ’s members, is aptly termed “the Lamb’s Book of Life,” for they are entirely dependent upon Him for life.

But it is in connection with the first reason that we would offer a further remark. It is called the Lamb’s Book of Life because His is the first name in it. This is no arbitrary assertion of ours, but one that is clearly warranted by the Bible, “Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me)” (Heb. 10:7). The speaker here is the Lord Jesus and, as is so often the case (such is the fullness of His words), there is a double reference in it: first to the archives of God’s eternal counsels, the scroll of His decrees; second, to the Holy Scriptures, which are a partial transcript of them. In keeping with this twofold reference is the double meaning of the word “volume.” In Psalm 40:7 “volume” is unquestionably the signification of the Hebrew word there used; but in Hebrews 10:7 the Greek word most certainly ought to be rendered “head”—kephale occurs seventy-six times in the New Testament, and it is always rendered “head” except here. Thus, properly translated, Hebrews 10:7 reads “at the head of the book it is written of Me.”

Here, then is the proof of our assertion. The Book of Life – the Divine register of election – is termed the Lamb’s Book of Life” because His name is the first one written therein, and He who had Himself scanned that roll said, as He entered this world, “at the head of the book it is written of Me.” A further reference to this Book was made by Christ in “In Thy book all My members were written” (Ps. 139:16). The Psalmist was referring to his natural body, first as formed in the womb (v. 15), and then as being the subject of the divine decrees (v. 16). But the deeper reference is to Christ, speaking, as the antitypical David, of the members of His mystical body. “The substance of the Church, whereof it was to be formed, was under the eyes of God, as proposed in the decree of election” (John Owen).

Should an exercised reader be asking, How may I now be assured that MY NAME is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? We answer, very briefly.

FIRST, by God’s having taught you to see and brought you to feel your inward corruption, your personal vileness, your awful guilt, your dire need of the sacrifice of the Lamb.

SECOND, by causing you to make Christ of first importance in your thoughts and estimation, perceiving that He alone can save you.

THIRD, by bringing you to believe in Him, rest your whole soul upon Him, desiring to be found in Him, not having your own righteousness, but His.

FOURTH, by making Him infinitely precious to you, so that HE is all your desire.

FIFTH, by working in you a determination to please and glorify Him.



A.W. Pink

“But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD DOTH PUT A DIFFERENCE between the Egyptians and Israel (Ex 11:7).

Marvelous example was this of the ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY OF DIVINE GRACE! As we shall yet see, the Israelites, equally with the Egyptians, fully merited the wrath of God. It was not because of any virtue or excellence in them that the Hebrews were spared. They, too, had sinned and come short of the glory of God. It was simply according to His own good pleasure that God made this difference:

“For He saith to Moses I will have mercy ON WHOM I WILL have mercy, and I will have compassion ON WHOM I WILL have compassion” [Romans 9:15].

And this was no isolated instance. It was characteristic of the ways of God in every age. It is the same today. Some are in Christ; many are out of Christ: SOVEREIGN GRACE alone has made the difference. There can be only one answer to the apostle’s question” who maketh thee to differ from another?” [1 Corinthians 4:7] — it is GOD. It is not because OUR hearts (by nature) are more tender, more responsive to the Holy Spirit, than the hearts of unbelievers; it is not that OUR wills are more pliable and less stubborn. Nor is it because of any superior mental acumen which enabled us to see our need of a Savior.


Then let us see to it that we give God all the glory for it!
“But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue”!

Striking proof was this that every creature is beneath the direct control of the great Creator! It was nighttime when the Angel of death executed God’s sentence. Moreover, “thick darkness” shrouded the land. On every side was the weeping and howling of the Egyptians, as they discovered that their firstborn had been smitten down. Moreover, there was the movement of the Israelites, as by their hundreds of thousands they proceeded to leave the land of bondage. There was, then, every reason why the “dogs” should bark and howl, yea, why they should rush upon the Hebrews.

But not a single dog moved his tongue! An invisible Hand locked their jaws. Just as Babylon’s lions were rendered harmless by God, when Daniel was cast into their den, so Egypt’s dogs were stricken dumb when Jehovah’s people set out for the promised land. What comfort and assurance is there here for the believer to-day. Not so much as a fly can settle upon you without the Creator’s bidding, any more than the demons could enter the herd of swine until Christ gave them permission.



A.W. Pink

The cause of ‘Election’ or ‘Predestination’ is not in the creature elected, but in God’s own Sovereign Will! God purposed in Himself to elect a certain people, not because of anything good in them or from them, either actual or foreseen, but solely out of His own mere pleasure. As to why He chose the ones He did, we do not know, and can only say, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.”

The plain truth of Romans 8:29 is that God, before the foundation of the world, singled out certain sinners and appointed them unto salvation (2 Thess. 2:13). This is clear from the concluding words of the verse: “Predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son,” etc. God did not predestinate those whom He foreknew were “conformed,” but, on the contrary, those whom He “foreknew” (i.e., loved and elected) He predestinated to be conformed. Their conformity to Christ is not the cause, but the effect of God’s foreknowledge and predestination.

God did not elect any sinner because He foresaw that he would believe, for the simple but sufficient reason that no sinner ever does believe until God gives him faith; just as no man sees until God gives him sight. Sight is God’s gift, seeing is the consequence of my using His gift. So faith is God’s gift (Eph. 1:8,9), believing is the consequence of my using His gift. If it were true that God had elected certain ones to be saved because in due time they would believe, then that would make believing a meritorious act, and in that event the saved sinner would have ground for “boasting,” which Scripture emphatically denies: Ephesians 2:9.

Surely God’s Word is plain enough in teaching that believing is not a meritorious act. It affirms that Christians are a people “who have believed through grace” (Acts 18:27). If then, they have believed “through grace,” there is absolutely nothing meritorious about “believing,” and if nothing meritorious, it could not be the ground or cause which moved God to choose them. No; God’s choice proceeds not from anything in us, or anything from us, but solely from His own sovereign pleasure. Once more, in Romans 11:5, we read of “a remnant according to the election of grace.” There it is, plain enough; election itself is of grace, and grace is unmerited favour something for which we had no claim upon God whatsoever.

It thus appears that it is highly important for us to have clear and scriptural views of the “foreknowledge” of God. Erroneous conceptions about it lead inevitably to thoughts most dishonoring to Him. The popular idea of Divine foreknowledge is altogether inadequate. God not only knew the end from the beginning, but He planned, fixed, predestinated everything from the beginning. And, as cause stands to effect, so God’s purpose is the ground of His prescience. If then the reader be a real Christian, he is so because God chose him 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 alone to Him.

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).

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



A.W. Pink

“Except a man be born-again he CANNOT SEE the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

The most fearful and fatal delusion now so prevalent in most sections of so-called “evangelical” Christendom is that a saving belief in Christ lies within the power of the natural man, that by performing what is naively termed “a simple act of faith,” he becomes a new creature. That is to make the sinner the BEGINNER of his own salvation!

HE takes “the first step,” and God does the rest; HE believes, and then God renews him—which is a blatant denial of the imperative NECESSITY of the work of the Holy Spirit. The fact is, if there is one time more than another when a man is absolutely dependent upon the Spirit’s power, it is at the BEGINNING, for the most formidable difficulty lies THERE.

To savingly believe in Christ is a supernatural act and is the DIRECT PRODUCT of a supernatural work of grace in the soul. Fallen and depraved man has no more power to come to Christ evangelically than he has merit of his own to entitle him to God’s favour. He is as completely dependent on the Spirit’s gracious operation within him as he is upon Christ’s worthiness without him. Fallen man is spiritually DEAD (Eph. 2:1), and a dead soul cannot “co-operate,” any more than a physical corpse can with an undertaker.

“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are SPIRITUALLY discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).

The “things Of the Spirit” signify contents of the Word of Truth, for they were penned under His immediate inspiration. The “natural man” is man in his fallen and unrenewed state while the sinner remains unregenerate, he “receiveth not” either the Divine Law or the Gospel. That requires a word of explication: the natural man can, and often does, receive the things of the Spirit in THE LETTER of them as so many propositions or statements, but he cannot apprehend them as does one who has been made the subject of a miracle of grace. They are “foolishness”—absurd, unattractive, distasteful to him. Yea, he “CANNOT KNOW THEM“— he is disqualified to perceive their verity and value; “because they are SPIRITUALLY discerned,” and spiritual discernment he has none. The sinner has to be transformed from a natural into a SPIRITUAL man before he has any spiritual perception.

“Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Only in God’s light can we see light (Ps. 3 6:9), and in order to do that, we must be brought out of that darkness in which sin has enveloped the soul.

The natural man, by reading and hearing, is competent to receive the things of God in their grammatical sense and to acquire an accurate mental notion of them, but is quite incapable of receiving a spiritual image of them in his understanding, of taking them into his affections, of cordially accepting them with his will. They are neither discerned by him in their Divine majesty and glory, delighted in by him, nor obeyed. The things of the Spirit are not only addressed to the intellect as true, but to the conscience as obligatory, to the affections as good and lovely, to the will to be yielded unto.

The unregenerate are entirely unable to recognize by an inward experience their surpassing weight and worth. They may indeed receive the Truth of God into their brains, but they never receive “the LOVE of the Truth” (2 Thess. 2:10) in their affections. The natural man is insensible alike to the authority and the excellence of the things of the Spirit of God, because his whole inward state is antagonistic to them. There must be congeniality between the perceiver and the thing perceived: only the pure in heart can see God. We not only need the Spirit objectively to reveal unto us the things of God, but He must make us subjectively spiritual men before we can receive them into our hearts.

As the eye is fashioned to take in sights, and the ear, sounds—as the faculties of the mind are fitted to think, reason, and retain concepts, so God must make the heart of fallen man SUITABLE UNTO spiritual things ere he can receive them. There must be a correspondence between the object apprehended and the subject apprehending, as there is between the qualities of matter and the senses of the body which cognize them. As I cannot truly appreciate in oratorio—no matter how acute my hearing—unless I have a musical ear and refined taste, neither can I delight in spiritual things until I BE MADE SPIRITUAL.

Between God and fallen man there is no living relation, no agreement. The “beauty of holiness” CANNOT be perceived by one who is in love with and blinded by sin. There is no harmony between the sinner’s spirit and the Holy Spirit. No matter how simply and clearly the things of God be set before the natural man, nor how logically and accurately he may reason about them, he cannot receive them in their actuality and spirituality, for he has no SPIRITUAL sight to discern their wisdom and goodness, no taste to relish their loveliness and sweetness, no capacity to take in their desirability and glory.

“The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:5). Though “the Light of the world” stood before them, they saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. Something more than an external revelation of Him is necessary, even such as that described in: “For God who [in the beginning] commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). The unregenerate have their “understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18), and they have no more ability or power of their own to dispel the same than had the deep to dissipate the darkness which abode upon it (Gen. 1:2).

In the darkness of a heart which, in its native condition, is a chamber of spiritual death, God shines with a light that is none other than Himself. The One who is light irradiates the benighted soul, and in His light it now sees the fullness of truth and grace shining in the face of Jesus Christ. By sovereign fiat and miraculous power the soul is now enabled to discern the glory of the Divine perfections manifested in and through the Redeemer.

For several generations past there has been a woeful ignoring of what has been pointed out above. There has been little recognition of the fact, and still less acknowledgment of it, that all which the Father has purposed and contrived, all that the Son has done and suffered for the redemption of His people, is unavailable and ineffective to their souls until the HOLY SPIRIT APPLIES the same. The inestimable blessings of the Father’s love, through the Son’s mediation, are only brought home to the souls of the elect by the testimony, power and operations of the Spirit. But during the last century, the majority of “evangelists” displayed a zeal which was not according to knowledge.

In their efforts to show the SIMPLICITY of “the way of salvation,” they ignored the DIFFICULTIES of salvation (Luke 18:24; 1 Pet. 4:18); and in their pressing the responsibility of men to believe, repudiated the fact that none can do so savingly until the Spirit imparts faith. One of His titles is “the Spirit of faith” (2 Cor. 4:13), because He is the Author and Communicator of it. Faith is “the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8): not offered for MAN ‘S ACCEPTANCE, but actually BESTOWED: “the faith of the operation [not of man’s will, but] of God” (Col. 2: 12)—”who BY HIM do believe in God” (1 Pet. 1:21).

The work of the Spirit in the heart is as indispensable as was the work of Christ on the Cross. The necessity for the Spirit’s inward and effective operations are from the darkness, depravity and spiritual emptiness of fallen human nature. He alone can discover to us our dire need of Christ, convict us of our lost and ruined condition, create within us a hatred and horror of sin, bring us to consent to Christ’s sceptre, and make us willing in the day of His power to take Christ’s yoke upon us. By nature we are totally averse to holiness, and from birth have been accustomed to doing evil only.

It is impossible for us to take into the arms of our affection a holy Christ until the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus first takes hold of us. Moreover, there is a transcendency in spiritual things which far exceeds the highest flight of natural reason. Nature stands in need of grace in order for the heart to be rightly DISPOSED to receive the things of God, and no human culture or education can effect that. A Gospel which comes to us from Heaven can only be savingly known by an inward revelation from Heaven. The Gospel is a revelation of Divine grace, such as had never entered the heart of man to conceive, still less is it capable of comprehending it—their Author must apply it to the heart.



A.W. Pink

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power!” [Psalm 110:3]

We must first distinguish carefully between God’s ‘Effectual call’ which is received by the Elect and that which comes to ALL who are under the sound of the Word: the one is PARTICULAR, the other GENERAL. Whosoever comes under the sound of the Word, yea, all who have it in their hands in its written form, are called by God to forsake their sins and seek His mercy in Christ.

This general call comes to the elect and non-elect alike: but alas, it is refused by all of them. It is described in such passages as, “Unto you, 0 men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man” (Prov. 8:4), “many [are] called, but few chosen” (Matt. 20:16). Their rejection of the same is depicted thus: “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded” (Prov. 1:24), “They all with one consent began to make excuse” (Luke 14:18). But it is with the special and particular call, of which the elect alone are the subjects, that we are now concerned.

Second, then, this calling of the elect is an INDIVIDUAL AND INWARD ONE, falling not upon the outward ear, but penetrating to their very hearts. It is the Word of God’s power, reaching them in their natural state of spiritual death and quickening them into newness of life. It is the Good Shepherd seeking and saving His lost sheep and restoring them to His Father: as it is written, “He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him; for they know His voice” (John 10:3, 4). From the legal side of things the salvation of God’s elect became an accomplished fact when Christ died and rose again, but not until the Spirit of God’s Son is sent into their hearts— “whereby they cry Abba, Father”—is it made good in their actual experience. It is by the Spirit alone that we are given a saving knowledge of the Truth, being led by Him into a right apprehension thereof: The Spirit so shines upon our understanding that we are enabled to take in the spiritual knowledge of God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Third, then, it is an EFFECTUAL call, being accomplished by the supernatural operations of the Spirit. It holds equally good of the new creation as of the old that, “He [God] spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:9). It is in such passages as “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power” (Ps. 110:3), this effectual call is referred to—their natural unwillingness to surrender themselves completely to the Lord’s claims is sweetly melted down by the communication of an overwhelming sense of God’s grace and love to them. Again; “All Thy children shall be taught of the Lord” (Isa. 54:13), so taught that He “hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true” (1 John 5:20). Once more, this effectual call is God’s making good the promises of the new covenant: “I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people” (Heb. 8:10).

Theologians have wisely designated this the “effectual call” so as to distinguish it from the GENERAL AND OUTWARD ONE which comes to all who hear the gospel.

THIS EFFECTUAL CALL IS NOT AN INVITATION, but is the actual bestowment of life and light!

It is the immediate fruit of God’s wondrous and infinite love to our persons when we are altogether unlovely, yea, the subjects of nothing but what renders us repulsive and hateful (see Ezek. 16:4-8!). It is then that the Holy Spirit is given to the elect—given to make good in them what Christ wrought out for them. Let it be clearly recognized and thankfully owned that the gift of the Spirit to us is as great and grand a gift as the gift of Christ for us. By the Spirit’s inhabiting us we are sanctified and sealed unto the day of redemption. By the Spirit’s indwelling of us we become the temples of the living God, His dwelling-place on earth.

It is not sufficiently recognized that all covenant mercies are in the hand of the blessed Holy Spirit, whose office and work it is to bring home the elect (by effectual calling) to Christ, and to make known and apply to their souls the salvation which the Lord Jesus has fulfilled and wrought out for them. He comes from Heaven in consequence of Christ’s atonement and ascension, and proclaims salvation from the Lord for wretched sinners. He enters their hearts of sin and woe and makes known the salvation of God.

He puts them by believing on the person and work of Christ into possession of the things that accompany salvation, and then He becomes a Comforter to them. Such do not pray for the Spirit to come and regenerate them, for they have already received Him as a life-giving and sanctifying Spirit. What they must now do is pray for grace to receive Him as the Spirit of adoption, that He may witness with their spirit that they are the children of God.

Now this effectual call is a necessary and proper consequence and effect of God’s eternal election, for NONE are the recipients of this supernatural vocation but HIS CHOSEN ONES! Wherever predestination unto everlasting glory goes before concerning any person, then effectual calling unto faith and holiness infallibly follows. “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13).

The elect are chosen unto salvation by the free and sovereign grace of God; but how is that salvation actually obtained? How are His favored ones brought into the personal possession of it? Through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, and not otherwise. God’s decree of election is an ordination unto everlasting life and glory, and it is evident by holiness being effectually wrought in its objects by the regenerating and sanctifying operations of the Spirit. It is thereby that the Spirit communicates what Christ purchased for them.

“And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles” (Rom. 9:23, 24). In the verses immediately preceding the apostle had treated of the unspeakably solemn subject of how God shows His wrath and makes known His power in connection with the non-elect, but here he takes up the blessed theme of how God discovers the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy. This is by the effectual call which is received individually by His people.

That call is what serves to make manifest God’s everlasting grace toward us: as Romans 8:28 expresses it we are “the called according to His purpose”; in other words, the Spirit is given to us in order to the accomplishment of God’s decree, or to put it in another way, through his effectual call the believer may look upward to the eternal love of God unto him, much as he might through a chink in his wall peer through to the shining of the sun in the heavens.



A.W. Pink

“I am thoroughly convinced that one of the chief hindrances today to many of the Lord’s people enjoying their inheritance is that they are in their WRONG PLACE, they are where Christ is not: he is on the outside of EVERYTHING CORPORATE.

To be where he is not is to miss the place of blessing, is to have our peace disturbed, and is to be corrupted by those who are not walking with Him. I am more firmly convinced today than I was 14 months ago that our place is on the ‘outside of the camp’. That is the place of reproach, loneliness, and of testing; but as it is the place where CHRIST is, it is, necessarily, the place of blessing, peace and joy”.
[A.W. Pink in his letter to the Colemans. Quoted from ‘The Life of Arthur W. Pink’ – Iain H. Murray]


And what will follow when this Divine command is obeyed? Why, then we shall prove the truth of those words of Christ: “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world HATETH you (John 15:19). WHICH “world” is specifically in view here? Let the previous verse answer: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”

WHAT “world” hated Christ and hounded Him to death? The RELIGIOUS world, those who pretended to be most zealous for God’s glory. So it is now. Let the Christian turn his back upon a Christ—dishonoring Christendom, and his fiercest foes and most relentless and unscrupulous enemies will be those who claim to be Christians themselves!

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you… for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad” (Matthew 5:11,12).

Ah, my brother, it is a healthy sign, a sure mark that you are profiting from the Word, when the religious world hates you. BUT IF, ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU STILL HAVE A “GOOD STANDING” IN THE “CHURCHES” OR “ASSEMBLIES” THERE IS GRAVE REASON TO FEAR THAT YOU LOVE THE PRAISE OF MEN MORE THAN THAT OF GOD! [Profiting from the Word]

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, AND TOUCH NOT the unclean thing.” [2Cor6:14,17]

O my Christian reader, seek grace to obtain the uncompromising spirit of Moses. When urged to worship God in “Egypt” (i. e. the white-washed “churches” OF THE WORLD), say it is impossible, for “what communion hath light with darkness!” when pressed to leave your children in a worldly Sunday School, to be instructed by those who have not the fear of God upon them, refuse, when invited to at least retain your membership in the HOLY SPIRIT-DESERTED “CHURCHES” and contribute of your means to their upkeep, decline to do so.

That going forth to meet the Lord is to be understood as expressing both external and internal action. Externally, it signifies separation from the world, especially its pleasures, for Christ will not be met with while we waste our time engaging in them. “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers… come out from among them” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17) must be heeded if we would “meet the Bridegroom.” More particularly, their going forth denoted a turning of their backs upon the apostate ECCLESIASTICAL SYSTEM: Christ had informed His disciples that he had abandoned a Judaism which had rejected Him (Matthew 23:37, 38), so if they would meet with Him, they too must “go forth unto Him outside the camp” (Hebrews 13:15). THE SAME IS TRUE NOW. [Practical Christianity]

[Writing to Lowell Green, September 2, 1934]
My earnest advice is for you to have little or NOTHING TO DO with the people of the religious world today. They CANNOT help you spiritually, and where they help not they are bound to HINDER! Be much in prayer and on your guard against a holier-than -thou attitude. if we are not very watchful, separation soon leads to self- righteousness. On the other hand, association with empty professors soon corrupts and paralyzes true spirituality.

Prayer, reading and meditation will do far more for your soul – with God’s blessing on the same – than attending meetings and being active in ‘Christian service’



compiled from the works of A.W. Pink

The very expression “the Grace of God” implies and denotes that the sinner’s condition is desperate to the last degree, and that God may justly leave him to perish; yea, it is a wonder of wonders that he is not already in hell.

“I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed!” [Mal. 3:6]

God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. Therefore God is compared to a rock (Deut 32:4, etc.) which remains immovable, when the entire ocean surrounding it is continually in a fluctuating state; even so, though all creatures are subject to change, God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change. He is everlastingly “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas. 1:17).

God has neither evolved, grown, nor improved. All that He is today, He has ever been, and ever will be. “I am the Lord, I change not” [Mal. 3:6] is His own unqualified affirmation. He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse. Altogether unaffected by anything outside Himself, improvement or deterioration is impossible. He is perpetually the same. He only can say, “I am that I am” [Ex. 3:14]. He is altogether uninfluenced by the flight of time. There is no wrinkle upon the brow of eternity. Therefore His power can never diminish nor His glory ever fade.

God is immutable in His counsel. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29). It must be so, for “He is in one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth” (Job 23:13). Change and decay in all around we see, may He who changeth not abide with thee. God’s purpose never alters. One of two things causes a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of power to execute them. But as God is both omniscient and omnipotent there is never any need for Him to revise His decrees. No. “The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (Ps. 33:11). Therefore do we read of “the immutability of His counsel” (Heb. 6:17).

Herein is solid comfort. Human nature cannot be relied upon; but God can! However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow, if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him? But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will stable, His Word is sure!

Nothing is more absurd than to imagine that anyone beloved of
God can eternally perish! God’s love for His Elect is immutable, irrevocable, and indestructible. His love is not like man’s. God’s love does not change, ever, under any circumstances or conditions. Having loved His own from eternity, He will never stop loving them in time. There is nothing we can do to destroy, or even lessen, the love of God for us [John 13:1]. “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee!” is His own unfailing Word! [Jer 31:3]

Here then is a rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: “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” (Isa. 54:10).

Praise the Lord! 



by A.W. Pink

UNFAITHFULNESS is one of the most outstanding sins of these evil days. In the business world, a man’s word is, with exceedingly rare exceptions, no longer his bond. In the social world, marital infidelity abounds on every hand, the sacred bonds of wedlock being broken with as little regard as the discarding of an old garment. In the ecclesiastical realm, thousands who have solemnly covenanted to preach the truth make no scruple to attack and deny it. Nor can reader or writer claim complete immunity from this fearful sin: in how many ways have we been unfaithful to Christ, and to the light and privileges which God has entrusted to us! How refreshing, then, how unspeakably blessed, to lift our eyes above this scene of ruin, and behold One who is faithful, faithful in all things, faithful at all times.

“Know therefore that the Lord Thy God, He is God, THE FAITHFUL God” (Deut 7:9). This quality is essential to His being, without it He would not be God. For God to be unfaithful would be to act contrary to His nature, which were impossible: “if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (II Tim 2:13). Faithfulness is one of the glorious perfections of His being. He is as it were clothed with it: “O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto Thee? or to Thy faithfulness ROUND ABOUT Thee?” (Psa 89:8). So too when God became incarnate it was said, “Righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins” (Isa 11:5).

What a word is that in Psalms 36:5, “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness unto the clouds.” Far above all finite comprehension is the unchanging faithfulness of God. Everything about God is great, vast, incomparable. He never forgets, never fails, never falters, never forfeits His word. To every declaration of promise or prophecy the Lord has exactly adhered, every engagement of covenant or threatening He will make good, for “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Num 23:19). Therefore does the believer exclaim, “His compassions fail not, they are new every morning: GREAT is Thy faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23).

Scripture abounds in illustrations of God’s faithfulness. More than four thousand years ago He said, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen 8:22). Every year that comes furnishes a fresh witness to God’s fulfillment of this promise. In Genesis 15 we find that Jehovah declared unto Abraham, “Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them… But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again” (vv.13-16). Centuries ran their weary course. Abraham’s descendants groaned amid the brick-kilns of Egypt. Had God forgotten His promise? No, indeed. Read Exodus 12:41, “And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Through Isaiah the Lord declared, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (7:14). Again centuries past, but “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman” (Gal 4:4).

God is true. His Word of Promise is sure. In all His relations with His people God is faithful. He may be safely relied upon. No one ever yet really trusted Him in vain. We find this precious truth expressed almost everywhere in the Scriptures, for His people need to know that faithfulness is an essential part of the Divine character. This is the basis of our confidence in Him. But it is one thing to accept the faithfulness of God as a Divine truth, it is quite another to ACT UPON IT. God has given us many “exceeding great and precious promises,” but are we really counting on His fulfillment of them? Are we actually EXPECTING Him to do for us all that He has said? Are we resting with implicit assurance on these words, “He is FAITHFUL that promised” (Heb 10:23)?

There are seasons in the lives of all when it is not easy, no not even for Christians, to believe that God IS faithful. Our faith is sorely tried, our eyes bedimmed with tears, and we can no longer trace the outworkings of His love. Our ears are distracted with the noises of the world, harassed by the atheistic whisperings of Satan, and we can no longer hear the sweet accents of His still small voice. Cherished plans have been thwarted, friends on whom we relied have failed us, a professed brother or sister in Christ has betrayed us. We are staggered. We sought to be faithful to God, and now a dark cloud hides Him from us. We find it difficult, yea, impossible, for carnal reason to harmonize His frowning providence with His gracious promises. Ah, faltering soul, severely tried fellow pilgrim, seek grace to heed Isaiah 50:10, “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and STAY UPON HIS GOD.”

When you are tempted to doubt the faithfulness of God, cry out, “Get thee hence, Satan.” Though you cannot now harmonize God’s mysterious dealings with the avowals of His love, wait on Him for more light. In His own good time He will make it plain to you. “What I do thou knowest not NOW but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7). The sequel will yet demonstrate that God has neither forsaken nor deceived His child. ‘And therefore will the Lord WAIT that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgement: blessed are all they THAT WAIT FOR HIM” (Isa 30:18).

 “Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace,
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread,
Are rich with mercy, and shall break
In blessing o’er your head.”

“Thy testimonies which Thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful” (Psa 119:138). God has not only told us the best, but He has not withheld the worst. He has faithfully described the ruin which the Fall has effected. He has faithfully diagnosed the terrible state which sin has produced. He has faithfully made known his inveterate hatred of evil, and that He must punish the same. He has faithfully warned us that He is “a consuming fire” (Heb 12:29). Not only does His Word abound in illustrations of His fidelity in fulfilling His promises, but it also records numerous examples of His faithfulness in making good His threatenings. Every stage of Israel’s history exemplifies that solemn fact. So it was with individuals: Pharaoh, Korah, Achan and a host of others are so many proofs. And thus it will be with YOU, my reader: unless you have fled or do flee to Christ for refuge, the everlasting burning of the Lake of Fire will be your sure and certain portion. God IS faithful.

God is faithful IN PRESERVING His people. “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son” (I Cor 1:9). In the previous verse promise was made that God would confirm unto the end His own people. The Apostle’s confidence in the absolute security of believers was founded not on the strength of their resolutions or ability to persevere, but on the veracity of Him that cannot lie. Since God has promised to His Son a certain people for His inheritance, to deliver them from sin and condemnation, and to make them participants of eternal life in glory, it is certain that He will not allow any of them to perish.

God is faithful in DISCIPLINING His people. He is faithful in what He withholds, no less than in what He gives. He is faithful in sending sorrow as well as in giving joy. The faithfulness of God is a truth to be confessed by us not only when we are at ease, but also when we are smarting under the sharpest rebuke. Nor must this confession be merely of our mouths, but of our hearts, too. When God smites us with the rod of chastisement, it is FAITHFULNESS which wields it. To acknowledge this means that we humble ourselves before Him, own that we fully deserve His correction, and instead of murmuring, we thank Him for it. God never afflicts without a reason. “For THIS CAUSE many are weak and sickly among you” (I Cor 11:30), says Paul, illustrating this principle. When His rod falls upon us let us say with Daniel, “O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee, but unto us confusion of faces” (9:7).

“I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou IN FAITHFIULNESS hast afflicted me” (Psa 119:75). Trouble and affliction are not only consistent with God’s love pledged in the everlasting covenant, but they are parts of the administration of the same. God is not only faithful notwithstanding afflictions, but faithful in sending them. “Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail” (Psa 89:32-33). Chastening is not only reconcilable with God’s lovingkindness, but it is the effect and expression of it. It would much quiet the minds of God’s people if they would remember that His covenant love binds Him to lay on them seasonable correction. Afflictions are necessary for us: “In their affliction they will seek Me early” (Hosea 5:15).

God is faithful in GLORIFYING His people. “Faithful is He which calleth you, who also will do” (I Thess 5:24). The immediate reference here is to the saints being “preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” God deals with us not on the ground of our merits (for we have none), but for His own great name’s sake. God is constant to Himself and to His own purpose of grace: “whom He called… them He also glorified” (Rom 8:30). God gives a full demonstration of the constancy of His everlasting goodness toward His elect by effectually calling them out of darkness into His marvelous light, and this should fully assure them of the certain continuance of it. ‘The foundation of God STANDETH SURE” (II Tim 2:19). Paul was resting on the faithfulness of God when he said, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (II Tim 1:12).

The apprehension of this blessed truth will PRESERVE US FROM WORRY. To be full of care, to view our situation with dark forebodings, to anticipate the morrow with sad anxiety, is to reflect poorly upon the faithfulness of God. He who has cared for His child through all the years will not forsake him in old age. He who has heard your prayers in the past will not refuse to supply your need in the present emergency. Rest on Job 5:19, “He SHALL deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.”

The apprehension of this blessed truth will CHECK OUR MURMURINGSThe Lord knows what is best for each one of us, and one effect of resting on this truth will be the silencing of our petulant complainings. God is greatly honored when, under trial and chastening, we have good thoughts of Him, vindicate His wisdom and justice, and recognize His love in His very rebukes.

The apprehension of this blessed truth will beget increasing CONFIDENCE IN GOD“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (I Pet 4:19). When we trustfully resign ourselves, and all our affairs into God’s hands, fully persuaded of His love and faithfulness, the sooner shall we be satisfied with His providences and realize that “He doeth ALL things well.”