BALANCE IN PREACHING
“A false balance is abomination to the LORD”! [Prov 11:1]
This principle applies in the study and preaching of the Bible too!
If any doctrine be preached exclusively it is distorted. There is a BALANCE to be preserved in our presentation of the truth; while no part of it is to be suppressed, no part of it is to be made unduly prominent. It is a great mistake to harp on one string only. Man’s responsibility must be enforced as well as God’s sovereignty insisted upon. If on the one hand the minister must not be intimidated by Arminians, on the other he must not be brow-beaten by hyper-Calvinists, who object to the calling upon the unconverted to repent and believe the gospel” [Mark 1:15]. [A.W. Pink]
A brother recently wrote – “No. Some Calvinists are not Calvinists or Christians at all but antinomians, saying that grace won’t be grace if we obeyed”.
Oh how true this is!
Antinomianism is a very real threat, or godly men had not written against it.
If he could, the Antinomian would tear the book of James out of the Bible, for in it are contained verses which clearly expose his hypocrisy!
“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had
offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was
faith made perfect?
2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
But there is a Scripture which aptly describes the Antinomian, it is in Titus 1:19 – “They profess that they know God; but IN WORKS THEY DENY HIM, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate”!
This is one reason a lot of ‘Calvinists’ don’t like A.W. Pink very much. For he maintained a proper balance in his preaching! Unlike many, he refused to harp on one string only!
It is indeed sad to see many preachers in our day who should know better being ONE-SIDED in their preaching? I speak with regards to the ‘PRECEPTIVE’ part of the Word of God. When was the last time you heard a preacher (especially those of the Reformed camp) preach a searching message on God’s precepts. Or how many ‘Sovereign Grace’ websites do you know that have even a single sermon or article on the precepts?
“They preach a lot on doctrine, often on experience, but life conduct receives the scantiest notice. It is not too much to say that they seem to be afraid of the very word “duty.” They preach soundly and beneficially on the obedience which Christ gave to God on behalf of His people, but they say next to nothing of that obedience which the Lord requires from those whom He has redeemed”! [A.W. Pink]
But what is one of the primary things which the “grace of God’ teaches the Christian? Why, this: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, TEACHING US that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world”! [Titus 2:11,12]. Those who contend earnestly for the truth of ‘Limited Atonement’ need to bear in mind that one of the reason that Christ atoned for them is this – “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, ZEALOUS OF GOOD WORKS”! [Titus 2:14]
Do ‘good works’ or ‘holy living’ add anything to our salvation or our favour with God? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But they give US the assurance that we are indeed who we claim to be! The Apostle constantly admonished his hearers to ‘examine themselves’ as to whether they were in the faith! [2Cor 13:5] And how does one do this, but by searching his heart as to whether he is following a course of sin or righteousness!
Sadly, very little is spoken in ‘Reformed circles’ concerning the Christian’s war with sin and self! And I am here referring here to the ‘Precepts’!
Please allow me to quote J.C. Philpot here – “It is almost become a tradition in some churches professing the doctrines of grace to disregard the precepts and pass them by in a kind of general silence. Consider this point, ye ministers, who Lord’s day after Lord’s day preach nothing but doctrine, doctrine, doctrine; and ask yourselves whether the same Holy Spirit who revealed the first three chapters of the epistle to the Ephesians did not also reveal the last three? Is not the whole epistle equally inspired, a part of that Scripture of which we read, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)?
To the same effect, he declared:
“To despise, then, the precept, to call it legal and burdensome, is to despise not man, but God, who hath given unto us His Holy Spirit in the inspired Scriptures for our faith and obedience…. Nothing more detects hypocrites, purges out loose professors, and fans away that chaff and dust which now so thickly covers our barn floors than an experimental handling of the precept. A DRY DOCTRINAL MINISTRY DISTURBS NO CONSCIENCES. The loosest professors may sit under it, nay, be highly delighted with it, for it gives them a hope, if not a dead confidence, that salvation being wholly of grace they shall be saved whatever be their walk of life. But the experimental handling of the precept cuts down all this and exposes their hypocrisy and deception”
May the Lord deliver us from Antinomianism and a ‘False Balance’ in our preaching and reading of God’s Holy Word!