THE LORD JESUS IS ON THE OUTSIDE OF EVERYTHING CORPORATE

THE LORD JESUS IS ON THE OUTSIDE OF EVERYTHING CORPORATE

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]

“COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, SAITH THE LORD! [2 Corinthians 6:17].

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’

SPIRITUAL FRUIT – THE EVIDENCE OF SALVATION (2020)

SPIRITUAL FRUIT – THE EVIDENCE OF SALVATION (2020)

A.W. Pink

One cannot be raised from the dead without there being a consequent walking in newness of life. One cannot be the subject of a miracle of grace being wrought in the heart without a noticeable change being apparent to all who know him.

WHERE A SUPERNATURAL ROOT HAS BEEN IMPLANTED, SUPERNATURAL FRUIT MUST ISSUE THEREFROM.

Not that sinless perfection is attained in the life, nor that the evil principle, the flesh, is eradicated from our beings, or even purified. Nevertheless, there is now a yearning after perfection, there is a spirit resisting the flesh, there is a striving against sin. And more, there is a growing in grace, and a PRESSING FORWARD along the “narrow way” which leads to heaven.

One serious error so widely propagated today in “orthodox” circles, and which is responsible for so many souls being deceived, is the seemingly Christ-honoring doctrine that it is “His blood which ALONE saves any sinner.” Ah, Satan is very clever; he knows exactly what bait to use for every place in which he fishes. Many a company would indignantly resent a preacher’s telling them that getting baptized and eating the Lord’s supper were God’s appointed means for saving the soul; yet most of these same people will readily accept the lie that it is only by the blood of Christ we can be saved. That is true Godwards, but it is not true manwards. The work of the Spirit in us is EQUALLY essential as the work of Christ for us. Let the reader carefully ponder the whole of Titus 3:5.

SALVATION IS TWOFOLD: IT IS BOTH LEGAL AND EXPERIMENTAL, AND CONSISTS OF JUSTIFICATION AND SANCTIFICATION.

Moreover, I owe my salvation not only to the Son but to all three persons in the Godhead. Alas, how little is this realized today, and how little is it preached. First and primarily I owe my salvation to God the Father, who ordained and planned it, and who chose me unto salvation (2 Thess. 2:13). In Titus 2:4, it is the Father who is denominated “God our Saviour.” Secondly and meritoriously I owe my salvation to the obedience and sacrifice of God the Son Incarnate, who performed as my Sponsor everything which the law required, and satisfied all its demands upon me. Thirdly and efficaciously I owe my salvation to the regenerating, sanctifying and preserving operations of the Spirit: note that His work is made just as prominent in Luke 15:8-10, as is the Shepherd’s in Luke 15:4-7! As Titus 3:5, so plainly affirms, God “saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit”; and IT IS THE PRESENCE OF HIS “FRUIT” IN MY HEART AND LIFE WHICH FURNISHES THE IMMEDIATE EVIDENCE OF MY SALVATION.”

Another characteristic of saving faith is that it “worketh by love” (Gal. 5:6). It is not inactive, but energetic. That faith which is “of the operation of God” (Col. 2:12) is a mighty principle of power, diffusing spiritual energy to all the faculties of the soul and enlisting them in the service of God. Faith is a principle of life, by which the Christian lives unto God; a principle of motion, by which he walks to heaven along the highway of holiness; a principle of strength, by which he opposes the flesh, the world, and the Devil. “Faith in the heart of a Christian is like the salt that was thrown into the corrupt fountain, that made the naughty waters good and the barren land fruitful. Hence it is that there followeth an alteration of life and conversation, and so bringeth forth fruit accordingly: ‘A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good fruit’; which treasure is faith” (John Bunyan in Christian Behaviour).

Where a saving faith is rooted in the heart it grows up and spreads itself in all the branches of obedience, and is filled with the fruits of righteousness. It makes its possessor act for God, and thereby evidences that it is a living thing and not merely a lifeless theory. Even a newborn infant, though it cannot walk and work as a grown man, breathes and cries, moves and sucks, and thereby shows it is alive. So with the one who has been born again; there is a breathing unto God, a crying after Him, a moving toward Him, a clinging to Him. But the infant does not long remain a babe; there is growth, increasing strength, enlarged activity. Nor does the Christian remain stationary: he goes “from strength to strength” (Psalm 84:7).

But observe carefully, faith not only “worketh” but it “worketh by LOVE.” It is at this point that the “works” of the Christian differ from those of the mere religionist. “The papist works that he may merit heaven. The Pharisee works that he may be applauded, that he may be seen of men, that he may have a good esteem with them. The slave works lest he should be beaten, lest he should be damned. The formalist works that he may stop the mouth of conscience, that will be accusing him, if he does nothing. The ordinary professor works because it is a shame to do nothing where so much is professed. But the true believer works because he loves. This is the principal, if not the only, motive that sets him a-work. If there were no other motive within or without him, yet would he be working for God, acting for Christ, because he loves Him; it is like fire in his bones” (David Clarkson).

SAVING FAITH IS EVER ACCOMPANIED BY AN OBEDIENT WALK.

“Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3, 4). Make no mistake upon this point: infinite as are the merits of Christ’s sacrifice, mighty as is the potency of His priestly intercession, yet they avail not for any who continue in the path of disobedience. He acknowledges none to be His disciples save them who do homage to Him as their Lord. “Too many professors pacify themselves with the idea that they possess imputed righteousness, while they are indifferent to the sanctifying work of the Spirit. They refuse to put on the garment of obedience, they reject the white linen which is the righteousness of the saints.

They thus reveal their self-will, their enmity to God, and their non-submission to His Son. Such men may talk what they will about justification by faith, and salvation by grace, but they are rebels at heart; they have not on the wedding-dress any more than the self-righteous, whom they so eagerly condemn. The fact is, if we wish for the blessings of grace, we must in our hearts submit to the rules of grace without picking and choosing”
(C. H. Spurgeon on “The Wedding Garment”).

Once more: saving faith is PRECIOUS, for, like gold, it will endure trial (1 Peter 1:7). A genuine Christian fears no test; he is willing, yea, wishes, to be tried by God Himself. He cries, “Examine me, 0 Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart” (Psalm 26:2). Therefore he is willing for his faith to be tried by others, for he shuns not the touchstone of Holy Writ. He frequently tries for himself, for where so much is at stake he must be SURE. He is anxious to know the worst as well as the best. That preaching pleases him best which is most searching and discriminating. He is loath to be deluded with vain hopes. He would not be flattered into a high conceit of his spiritual state without grounds. When challenged, he complies with the apostle’s advice in 2 Corinthians 13:5.

Herein does the real Christian differ from the formalist. The presumptuous professor is filled with pride, and, having a high opinion of himself, is quite sure that he has been saved by Christ. He disdains any searching tests, and considers self-examination to be highly injurious and destructive of faith. That preaching pleases him best which keeps at a respectable distance, which comes not near his conscience, which makes no scrutiny of his heart. To preach to him of the finished work of Christ and the eternal security of all who believe in Him strengthens his false peace and feeds his carnal confidence. Should a real servant of God seek to convince him that his hope is a delusion, and his confidence presumptuous, he would regard him as an enemy, as Satan seeking to fill him with doubts. There is more hope of a murderer being saved than of his being disillusioned.

Another characteristic of saving faith is that it gives the heart victory over all the vanities and vexations of things below. “For whatsoever is born of God OVERCOMETH THE WORLD: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). Observe that this is not an ideal after which the Christian strives, but an actuality of present experience. In this the saint is conformed to His Head: “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

CHRIST OVERCAME IT FOR HIS PEOPLE, AND NOW HE OVERCOMES IT IN THEM.

He opens their eyes to see the hollowness and worthlessness of the best which this world has to offer, and weans their hearts from it by satisfying them with spiritual things. So little does the world attract the genuine child of God that he longs for the time to come when God shall take him out of it.

Alas, that so very few of those now bearing the name of Christ have any real experimental acquaintance with these things. Alas, that so many are deceived by a faith which is not a saving one. “He only is a Christian who lives for Christ. Many persons think they can be Christians on easier terms than these. They think it is enough to trust in Christ while they do not live for Him. But the Bible teaches us that if we are partakers of Christ’s death we are also partakers of His life. If we have any such appreciation of His love in dying for us as to lead us to confide in the merits of His death, WE SHALL BE constrained to consecrate our lives to His service. And this is the only evidence of the genuineness of our faith” (Charles Hodge on 2 Corinthians 5:15).

Reader, are the things mentioned above actualized in your own experience? If they are not, how worthless and wicked is your profession! “It is therefore exceedingly absurd for any to pretend that they have a good heart while they live a wicked life, or do not bring forth the fruit of universal holiness in their practice. Men that live in the ways of sin, and yet flatter themselves that they shall go to heaven, expecting to be received hereafter as holy persons, without a holy practice, act as though they expected to make a fool of their Judge. Which is implied in what the apostle says (speaking of men’s doing good works and living a holy life, thereby exhibiting evidence of their title to everlasting life), ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap’ (Gal. 6:7). As much as to say, Do not deceive yourselves with an expectation of reaping life everlasting hereafter, if you do not sow to the Spirit here; it is in vain to think that God will be made a fool of by you”
(Johathan Edwards in Religious Affections).

GOD INSTRUCTS HIS CHOSEN ONES

GOD INSTRUCTS HIS CHOSEN ONES

A.W. Pink

Right views of God’s truth are not an intellectual attainment, but a blessing bestowed on us by God. It is written, “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27). No matter how legibly a letter may be written, if the recipient is blind he cannot read it. So we are told, “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). And spiritual discernment is imparted only by the Holy Spirit.

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

“He instructed him.” So He does us. It was to instruct us that God, in His great mercy, gave us THE SCRIPTURES. He has not left us to grope our way in darkness, but has provided us with a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. Nor are we left to our own unaided powers in the study of the Word. We are supplied with an infallible Instructor. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, “Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things … the anointing ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you” (1 John 2:20, 27).

“He instructed him.” How patiently God bears with our dullness! How graciously He repeats “line upon line and precept upon precept” (Is. 28:10)! Yet slow as we are, He perseveres with us, for He has promised to perfect that which concerns us (Ps. 138:8). Has He “instructed” you, my reader? Has He taught you the total depravity of man and the utter inability of the sinner to deliver himself? Has He taught you the humbling truth “Ye must be born again”, and that regeneration is SOLELY THE WORK OF GOD, MAN HAVING NO PART OR HAND IN IT (Jn. 1:13)? Has He revealed to YOU the infinite value and sufficiency of the atoning sacrifice of Christ whose blood cleanses “FROM ALL SIN“? Then what cause you have to be thankful for such Divine instruction.

THE REASON I’M STILL AROUND IS BECAUSE OF GOD’S IMMUTABILITY. AND IT’S THE REASON YOU’RE STILL AROUND AS WELL

THE REASON I’M STILL AROUND IS BECAUSE OF GOD’S IMMUTABILITY. AND IT’S THE REASON YOU’RE STILL AROUND AS WELL

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! 

IS JESUS YOUR LORD?

IS JESUS YOUR LORD?

Arthur W. Pink

We do not ask: Is Christ your “Savior”?— but is He, really and truly, your Lord? If He is not your Lord, then He is most certainly not your “Savior.” Those who have not received Christ Jesus as their “Lord” and yet suppose Him to be their “Savior,” are deluded, and their hope rests on a foundation of sand.

Multitudes are deceived on this vital point, and therefore, if the reader values his or her soul, we implore you to give a most careful reading to this little tract. When we ask, is Christ your Lord? we do not inquire, Do you believe in the Godhead of Jesus of Nazareth? The demons do that (Mat 8:28-29) and yet perish notwithstanding! You may be firmly convinced of the Deity of Christ, and yet be in your sins. You may speak of Him with the utmost reverence, accord Him, His divine titles in your and yet be unsaved. You may abominate those who traduce His person and deny His divinity, and yet have no spiritual love for Him at all.

When we ask, Is Christ your Lord, we mean, does He in very deed occupy the throne of your heart, and does He actually rule over your life? “We have turned everyone to his own way” (Isa 53:6) describes the course which we all follow by nature. Before conversion every soul lives to please self. Of old it was written, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” and why? “In those days there was no King in Israel” (Jdg 21:25). Ah! that is the point we desire to make clear to the reader. Until Christ becomes your King (1Ti 1:17; Rev 15:3), until you bow to His scepter, until His will becomes the rule of your life, self dominates, and thus Christ is disowned.

When the Holy Spirit begins His work of grace in a soul, He first convicts of sin. He shows me the real and awful nature of sin. He makes me realize that it is a species of insurrection, a defying of God’s authority, a setting of my will against His. He shows me that in going my “own way” (Isa 53:6), in pleasing myself, I have been fighting against God. As my eyes are opened to see what a lifelong rebel I have been, how indifferent to God’s honor, how unconcerned about His will—I am filled with anguish and horror, and made to marvel that the thrice Holy One has not long since cast me into Hell. Reader, have you ever gone through this experience? If not, there is very grave reason to fear that you are yet spiritually dead!

Conversion, true conversion, saving conversion, is a turning from sin to God in Christ. It is a throwing down of the weapons of my warfare against Him, a ceasing to despise and ignore His authority. New Testament conversion is described thus: “Ye turned to God from idols to serve [to be in subjection to, to obey] the living and true the God” (1Th 1:9). An “idol” is any object to which we give what is due alone unto God supreme place in our affections, the molding influence of our hearts, the dominating power of our lives. Conversion is a right about face, the heart and will repudiating sin, self, and the world. Genuine conversion is always evidenced by “Lord what wilt Thou W have me to do?” (Act 9:6); it is an unreserved surrendering of ourselves to His holy will. Have you yielded yourself to Him? (Rom 6:13)

There are many people who would like to be saved from Hell, but who do not want to be saved from self-will, from having their own way, from a life of (some form of) worldliness. But God will not save them on their terms. To be saved, we must submit to His terms: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord [having revolted from Him in Adam], and He will have mercy upon him” (Isa 55:7). Said Christ, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath [all that is opposed to Me], he cannot be My disciple” (Luk 14:33). Men must be turned [by God] “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,” before they can “receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified” (Act 26:18).

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him” (Col 2:6). That is an exhortation to Christians, and its force is—Continue as you began. But how had they “begun”? By receiving “Christ Jesus the Lord,” by surrendering to Him, by subjecting themselves to His will, by ceasing to please themselves. His authority was now owned. His commands now became their rule of life. His love constrained them to a glad and unreserved obedience. They “gave their own selves to the Lord” (2Co 8:5). Have you, my dear reader, done this? Have you? Do the details of your life evidence it? Can those with whom you come into contact see that you are no more living to please self (2Co 5:15)?

Oh my reader, make no mistake upon this point: a conversion which the Holy Spirit produces is a very radical thing. It is a miracle of grace. It is the enthroning of Christ in the life. And such conversions are rare indeed. Multitudes of people have just sufficient “religion” to make them miserable. They refuse to forsake every known sin, and there is no true peace for any soul until he does. They have never “received Christ Jesus the Lord” (Col 2:6). Had they done so, “the joy of the LORD” would be their strength (Neh 8:10). But the language of their hearts and lives (not their “lips”) is, “we will not have this man to reign over us” (Luk 19:14). Is that your case?

The great miracle of grace consists in changing a lawless rebel into a loving and loyal subject. It is a “renewing” of the heart, so that the favored subject of it has come to loathe what he loved, and the things he once found irksome are now winsome (2Co 5:17). He delights “in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom 7:22). He discovers that Christ’s “commandments are not grievous” (1 Jo 5:3), and that “in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psa 19:11). Is this your experience? It would be if you received Christ Jesus THE LORD!

But to receive Christ Jesus the Lord is altogether beyond unaided human power. That is the last which the unrenewed heart wants to do. There must be a supernatural change of heart before there is even the desire for Christ to occupy its throne. And that change, none but God can work (1 Co 12:3). Therefore, “Seek ye the LORD while He may be found” (Isa 55:6). Search for Him with all your heart (Jer 29:13).

Reader, you may have been a professing Christian for years past, and you may have been quite sincere in your profession. But if God has condescended to use this tract to show you that you have never really and truly “received Christ Jesus the Lord,” if now in your own soul and conscience you realize that SELF has ruled you hitherto, will you not now get down on your knees and confess to God. Confess to Him your self-will, your rebellion against Him, and beg Him to so work in you that, without further delay, you may be enabled to yield yourself completely to His will and become His subject, His servant, His loving slave, in deed and in truth?

Christ will not save any who have not submitted to Him as King!

The of way salvation is falsely defined. In most instances the modern “evangelist” assures his congregation that all any sinner has to do in order to escape hell and make sure of heaven is to “receive Christ as his personal Savior.” But such teaching is utterly misleading. No one can receive Christ as his Savior while he rejects Him as Lord! It is true, the preacher adds, that the one who accepts Christ should also surrender to Him as Lord, but he at once spoils it by asserting that though the convert fails to do so, nevertheless heaven is sure to him.

That is one of the devil’s lies! Only those who are spiritually blind would declare that Christ will save any who despise His authority and refuse His yoke: why, my reader, that would not be grace, but a disgrace–charging Christ with placing a premium on lawlessness!

It is in His office of Lord that Christ maintains God’s honor, subserves His government, enforces His Law; and if the reader will turn to those passages (Luke 1:46-47; Acts 5:31; 2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 3:1) where the two titles occur, he will find that the order is always “Lord and Savior,” and not “Savior and Lord.” Therefore, those who have not bowed to Christ’s sceptre and enthroned Him in their hearts and lives, and yet imagine they are trusting in Him as their Savior are deceived, and unless God disillusions them, they will go down to the everlasting burnings with a lie in their right hand (Isa. 44:20). Christ is “the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:9), but the attitude of those who submit not to His Lordship is–“We will not have this Man to rule over us” (Luke 19:14). Pause then, my reader and honestly face the question: Am I subject to His will? Am I sincerely endeavoring to keep His commandments?

“Lord and Savior”

In every passage of the New Testament where these two titles occur together, it is “Lord and Savior,” and never “Savior and Lord.” The mother of Jesus averred, “My soul does magnify the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46, 47). Unless Jehovah had first become her “Lord,” most certainly He would not have been her “Savior.” No spiritual mind that seriously ponders the matter can have any difficulty in perceiving this. How could the thrice holy God save one who scorned His authority, despised His honor, and flouted His revealed will? It is indeed infinite grace that God is ready to be reconciled to us when we throw down the weapons of our rebellion against Him, but it would be an act of unrighteousness, a putting a premium upon lawlessness, were He to pardon any sinner before he was first reconciled to His offended Maker.

In 2 Peter 1:10 the saints of God are bidden to make their “calling and election sure” (and this, by adding to their faith the other graces enumerated in verses 5 to 7), and are assured that if they do so they shall never fail, for so an entrance shall be ministered unto them abundantly “into the everlasting kingdom of our (1) Lord and (2) Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11): that is, an abundant entrance should be given them now into His kingdom of grace, and hereafter into His kingdom of glory. But what we would particularly note is the order in which Christ’s titles are here mentioned: it is not “our Savior and Lord” as the corrupt preaching and teaching of this degenerate day presents it; but instead, “Lord and Savior,” for He becomes the Savior of none until the heart and will unreservedly receive Him as Lord.

The same principal is clearly illustrated in passages where other titles of Christ occur. Take the opening verse of the New Testament, where He is presented as “Jesus Christ (1) the son of David, (2) the son of Abraham.” Waiving now the “dispensational” signification of these titles, let us view them from the doctrinal and practical viewpoint, which should ever be our first consideration. “Son of David” brings in the throne; it emphasizes His authority; it demands allegiance to His scepter. And “son of David” comes before “son of Abraham!”

In 2 Peter 3:18 God’s people are exhorted to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Here again God’s order is the very opposite of man’s. Nor is this merely a technical detail, concerning which a mistake is of little moment. No, the subject of which we are now treating is basic, vital, fundamental, and error at this point is fatal. As we have said before, those who have not submitted unto Christ as Lord, but are trusting in Him as “Savior” are deceived, and unless God graciously disillusions them, will go down to their everlasting burnings with a lie in their right hand (Isaiah 44:20).

GOD’S FAITHFULNESS MY ONLY HOPE FOR THE YEAR AHEAD

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.”

THE LORD’S LEADING

THE LORD’S LEADING

A.W. Pink

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE WORD OF GOD IS FULL OF ELECTION AND PREDESTINATION

THE WORD OF GOD IS FULL OF ELECTION AND PREDESTINATION

A.W. Pink

There is not a single book in the Word of God where election is not either expressly stated, strikingly illustrated, or clearly implied. Genesis is full of it: the difference which the Lord made between Nahor and Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, and His loving Jacob and hating Esau are cases to the point. In Exodus we behold the distinction made by God between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. In Leviticus the atonement and all the sacrifices were for the people of God, nor were they bidden to go and “offer” them to the surrounding heathen. In Numbers Jehovah used a Balaam to herald the fact that Israel were “the people” who “shall dwell alone, and shall not be numbered among the nations” (23:9); and therefore was he constrained to cry “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, 0 Israel” (24:5). In Deuteronomy it is recorded “The Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance” (32:9).

In Joshua we behold the discriminating mercy of the Lord bestowed upon Rahab the harlot, while the whole of her city was doomed to destruction. In Judges the sovereignty of God appears in the unlikely instruments selected, by which He wrought victory for Israel: Deborah, Gideon, Samson. In Ruth we have Orpah kissing her mother-in-law and returning to her gods, whereas Ruth cleaves to her and obtained inheritance in Israel—who made them to differ? In 1 Samuel David is chosen for the throne, preferred to his older brethren. In 2 Samuel we learn of the everlasting covenant “ordered in all things, and sure” (23:5). In 1 Kings Elijah becomes a blessing to a single widow selected from many; while in 2 Kings Naaman alone, of all the lepers, was cleansed. In 1 Chronicles it is written “Ye children of Jacob, His chosen ones” (16:13); while in 2 Chronicles we are made to marvel at the grace of God bestowing repentance upon Manasseh.

And so we might go on. The Psalms, Prophets, Gospels and Epistles are so full of this doctrine that he may run that readeth it. [Hab 2:2]

IT TAKES A RADICAL CHRISTIAN TO SAY NO TO PAGAN CHRISTMAS (2019)

IT TAKES A RADICAL CHRISTIAN TO SAY NO TO PAGAN CHRISTMAS (2019)

A.W. Pink

“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ!” [Galatians 1:10]”

And WHO is it that celebrates “Christmas?” The whole “civilized world.” Millions who make no profession of faith in the blood of the Lamb, who “despise and reject Him,” and millions more who while claiming to be His followers yet in works deny Him, join in merrymaking under the pretense of honoring the birth of the Lord Jesus. Putting it on it’s lowest ground, we would ask, is it fitting that His friends should unite with His enemies in a worldly round of fleshly gratification? Does any true born again soul really think that He whom the world cast out is either pleased or glorified by such participation in the world’s joys? Verily, the customs of the people are VAIN; and it is written, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil (Ex. 23:2).

Some will argue for the “keeping of Christmas” on the ground of “giving the kiddies a good time.” But why do this under the cloak of honoring the Savior’s birth? Why is it necessary to drag in His holy name in connection with what takes place at that season of carnal jollification? Is this taking the little one with you OUT of Egypt (Ex. 10:9-10) a type of the world, or is it not plainly a mingling with the present day Egyptians in their “pleasures of sin for a season?” (Heb. 11:25) Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). Scripture does command God’s people to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4), but where does it stipulate that it is our duty to give the little one a “good time?” Do we ever give the children “a good time” when we engage in anything upon which we cannot fittingly ask THE LORD’S blessing?

There are those who DO abstain from some of the grosser carnalities of the “festive season,” yet are they nevertheless in cruel bondage to the prevailing custom of “Christmas” namely that of exchanging “gifts.” We say “exchanging” for that is what it really amounts to in many cases. A list is kept, either on paper or in memory, of those from whom gifts were received last year, and that for the purpose of returning the compliment this year. Nor is this all: great care has been taken that the “gift” made to the friend is worth as much in dollars and cents as the one they expect to receive from him or her. Thus, with many who can ill afford it, a considerable sum has to be set aside each year with which to purchase things simply to send them out in RETURN for others which are likely to be received. Thus a burden has been bound on them which not a few find hard to bear.

But what are we to do? If we fail to send out “gifts” our friends will think hard of us, probably deem us stingy and miserly. The honest course is to go to the trouble of notifying them – by letter if at a distance – that from now on you do not propose to send out any more “Christmas gifts” as such. Give your reasons. State plainly that you have been brought to see that “Christmas merrymaking” is entirely a thing OF THE WORLD, devoid of any Scriptural warrant; that it is a Romish institution, and now that you see this, you dare no longer have any fellowship with it (Eph. 5:11); that you are the Lord’s “free man” (1 Cor. 7:22), and therefore you refuse to be in bondage to a costly custom imposed by the world.

What about sending out “Christmas cards” with a text of Scripture on them? That also is an abomination in the sight of God. Why? Because His Word expressly forbids all unholy mixtures; Deut. 22:10-11 typified this. What do we mean by an “unholy mixture?” This: the linking together of the pure Word of God with the Romish “Christ-MASS.” By all means send cards (preferably at some other time of the year) to your ungodly friends, and Christians too, with a verse of Scripture, but NOT with “Christmas” on it. What would you think of a printed program of a vaudeville having Isa. 53:5 at the foot of it? Why, that it was altogether OUT OF PLACE, highly incongruous. But in the sight of God the circus and the theater are far less obnoxious than the “Christmas celebration” of Romish and Protestant “churches.” Why? Because the latter are done under the cover of the holy name of Christ; the former are not.

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto perfect day” (Prov. 4:18). Where there is a heart that really desires to please the Lord, He graciously grants increasing knowledge of His will. If He is pleased to use these lines in opening the eyes of some of His dear people to recognize what is a growing evil, and to show them that they have been dishonoring Christ by linking the name of the Man of Sorrows (and such He WAS, when on earth) with a “MERRY Christmas,” then join with the writer in a repentant confessing of this sin to God, seeking His grace for complete deliverance from it, and praise Him for the light which He has granted you concerning it.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). How solemn and searching! The Lord Jesus declared that “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36). If every “idle word” is going to be taken note of, then most assuredly will be every wasted energy, every wasted dollar, every wasted hour! Should we still be on earth when the closing days of this year arrive, let writer and reader earnestly seek grace to live and act with the judgment seat of Christ before us. HIS “well done” will be ample compensation for the sneers and taunts which we may now receive from Christless souls.

Does any Christian reader imagine for a moment that when he or she shall stand before their holy Lord, that they will regret having lived “too strictly” on earth? Is there the slightest danger of His reproving any of His own because they were “too extreme” in “abstaining from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11)? We may gain the good will and good works of worldly religionists today by our compromising on “little (?) points,” but shall we receive His smile and approval on that day? Oh to be more concerned about what HE thinks, and less concerned about what perishing mortals think.

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil (Ex. 23:2). Ah, it is an easy thing to float with the tide of popular opinion; but it takes much grace, diligently sought from God, to swim against it. Yet that is what the heir of heaven is called on to do: to “Be not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2), to deny self, take up the cross, and follow a rejected Christ. How sorely does both writer and reader need to heed that word of the savior, “Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Rev. 3:11). Oh that each of us may be able to truthfully say, “I have refrained my feet from EVERY evil way, that I might keep THY WORD” (Psa. 119:101).

Our final word is to the pastors. To you the Word of the Lord is, Be THOU AN EXAMPLE of believers in word, in deportment, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1 Tim. 4:12). Is it not true that the most corrupt “churches” you know of, where almost every fundamental of the faith is denied, will have their “Christmas celebrations?” Will you imitate them? Are you consistent to protest against unscriptural methods of “raising money,” and then to sanction unscriptural “Christmas services?” Seek grace to firmly but lovingly set God’s truth on this subject before your people, and announce that you can have no part in following Pagan, Romish, and worldly customs.

 

THE BORN-AGAIN MAN IN ROMANS SEVEN

THE BORN-AGAIN MAN IN ROMANS SEVEN

A.W. Pink

The controversy which has raged over Romans 7 is largely the fruitage of the Perfectionism of Wesley and his followers. That brethren, whom we have cause to respect, should have adopted this error in a modified form, only shows how widespread today is the spirit of Laodiceanism. To talk of “getting out of Romans 7 into Romans 8” is excuseless folly. Romans 7 and both apply with undiminished force and pertinence to every believer on earth today. The second half of Romans 7 describes the conflict of the two natures in the child of God: it simply sets forth in detail what is summarized in Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:14, 15, 18, 19, 21 are now true of every believer on earth. Every Christian falls far, far short of the standard set before him—we mean God’s standard, not that of the so-called “victorious life” teachers.

If any Christian reader is ready to say that Romans 7:19 does not describe his life, we say in all kindness, that he is sadly deceived. We do not mean by this that every Christian breaks the laws of men, or that he is an overt transgressor of the laws of God. But we do mean that his life is far, far below the level of the life our Savior lived here on earth. We do mean that there is much of “the flesh” still evident in every Christian—not the least in those who make such loud boastings of their spiritual attainments. We do mean that every Christian has urgent need to daily pray for the forgiveness of his daily sins (Luke 11:4), for “in many things we all stumble” (Jas. 3:2, R. V.).

In what follows we shall confine ourselves to the last two verses of Romans 7, in which we read, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with flesh the law of sin” (vv.24, 25).

This is the language of a regenerate soul, and it sums up the contents of the verses immediately preceding. The unregenerate man is wretched indeed, but he is a stranger to the “wretchedness” here expressed, for he knows nothing of the experience which evokes this wail. The whole context is devoted to a description of the conflict between the two natures in the child of God. “I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (v. 22), is true of none but born-again persons. But the one thus “delighting” discovers “another law in his members.” This reference must not be limited to his physical members, but is to be understood as including all the various parts of his carnal personality. This “other law” is also at work in the memory, the imagination, the will, the heart, etc.

This “other law,” says the apostle, warred against the law of his mind (the new nature), and not only so, it brought him “into captivity to the law of sin.” (v. 23) To what extent he was brought into “captivity” is not defined. But brought into captivity he was, as is every believer. The wandering of the mind when reading God’s Word, the issuing from the heart (Mark 7:21) of evil thoughts when we are engaged in prayer, the horrid images which sometimes come before us in the sleep-state— to name no others—are so many examples of being “brought into captivity to the law of sin.” “If the evil principle of our nature prevails in exciting one evil thought, it has taken us captive. So far it has conquered, and so far are we defeated, and made a prisoner” (Robert Haldane).

It is the consciousness of this warring within him and this being brought into captivity to sin, which causes the believer to exclaim, “O wretched man that I am!” This is a cry brought about by a deep realization of indwelling sin. It is the confession of one who knows that in his natural man there dwelleth no good thing. It is the mournful plaint of one who has discovered something of the horrible sink of iniquity which is in his own heart. It is the groan of a divinely-enlightened man who now hates himself—his natural self—and longs for deliverance.

This moan, “O wretched man that I am,” expresses the normal experience of the Christian, and any Christian who does not so moan is in an abnormal and unhealthy state spiritually. The man who does not utter this cry daily is either so out of communion with Christ, or so ignorant of the teaching of Scripture, or so deceived about his actual condition, that he knows not the corruptions of his own heart and the abject failure of his own life.

The one who bows to the solemn and searching teaching of God’s Word, the one who there learns the awful wreckage which sin has wrought in the human constitution, the one who sees the exalted standard of holiness which God has set before us, cannot fail to discover what a vile wretch he is. If he is given to behold how far short he falls of attaining to God’s standard; if, in the light of the divine sanctuary, he discovers how little he resembles the Christ of God; then will he find this language most suited to express his godly sorrow.

If God reveals to him the coldness of his love, the pride of his heart, the wanderings of his mind, the evil that defiles his godliest acts, he will cry, “O wretched man that I am.” If he is conscious of his ingratitude, of how little he appreciates God’s daily mercies; if he marks the absence of that deep and genuine fervor which ought ever to characterize his praise and worship of that One who is “glorious in holiness;” if he recognizes that sinful spirit of rebellion, which so often causes him to murmur or at least chafe against the dispensations of God in his daily life; if he attempts to tabulate not only the sins of commission but the sins of omission, of which he is daily guilty, he will indeed cry, “O wretched man that I am.”

Nor is it only the “backslidden” Christian, now convicted, who will mourn thus. The one who is truly in communion with Christ, will also emit this groan, and emit it daily and hourly. Yea, the closer he draws to Christ, the more will he discover the corruptions of his old nature, and the more earnestly will he long to be delivered from it. It is not until the sunlight floods a room that the grime and dust are fully revealed. So, it is only as we really come into the presence of Him who is the light, that we are made aware of the filth and wickedness which indwell us, and which defile every part of our being. And such a discovery will make each of us cry, “O wretched man that I am!”