GO FORWARD! A MESSAGE FOR THE NEW YEAR 2023

GO FORWARD! A MESSAGE FOR THE NEW YEAR 2023

by A.W. Pink [January, 1947]

Though the writer has passed the sixtieth milestone of life and completed a quarter of a century’s hard but happy work on this magazine—yet he feels that “GO FORWARD!” [Exodus 14:15] is the Lord’s pressing word unto him at this time. If he should have acquired any laurels, he certainly does not wish to rest upon them; nor does he—while health and strength are granted—intend to moderate his own studies or relax in his efforts.

It has long been his desire to WEAR out—rather than RUST out; or, to express it in Scripture language, to “very gladly spend and be spent” [2 Corinthians 12:15] in endeavoring to serve the Lord and minister to His beloved people. Nor could he warrantably look for any measure of realizing that desire, if he slackened; rather should he seek to “Go forward” with increased earnestness and diligence, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” [Ephesians 5:16]. The more evil the days—the grander the opportunity for proving the sufficiency of God’s grace, and the greater the privilege in serving His children.

GO FORWARD!” Is not this a TIMELY WORD for each of us as we enter a new year? Is not this a suitable motto for us to keep in mind as we journey through [if God permits] 1947? We need to clearly realize there is no such thing as remaining STATIONARY in the spiritual life: if we do not progress—we inevitably retrograde. How that solemn fact should search our hearts! Christian friend, your history this year will be either one of going forward—or backsliding. This New Year will mark either an increased fruitfulness in your soul and life—to the glory of Him whose name you bear; or increased leanness and barrenness—to His reproach! It will witness either a growing in grace—or a decline in your spirituality. It will record either an increased love for the Word, use of the Throne of Grace, strictness of walk and closer communion with Christ—or a growing coldness and a following of Him afar off.

O Christian reader, before reading any further, will you not now close your eyes and lift up your heart in earnest prayer for yourself and for all your brethren and sisters in Christ?

GO FORWARD!” The HISTORIC OCCASION on which those words were uttered is noteworthy, and a brief consideration of the same the better enables us to make application of them unto ourselves. The situation confronting Israel was a hopeless one, so far as they were concerned; and had not the Lord intervened, they had undoubtedly perished. After their exodus from Egypt, Pharaoh at the head of a great military force pursued and overtook them. With impassable obstacles on either side, the Red Sea in front, and the enemy in the rear—that company of ex-slaves with their wives and children were in a truly desperate plight, and death was all they expected [Exodus 14:10, 12]. Then it was that Moses said, “Do not be afraid. Stand still—and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today—you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” [Exodus 14:13-14].

Those words, “stand still—and you will see the deliverance of the Lord,” have been grossly carnalized and grievously wrested by those who foster a FATALISTIC INERTIA. “Stand still” obviously has the force here of “be not dismayed, do not panic, keep calm,” as the “you need only to be still” shows. Then followed, “and you will see the deliverance of the Lord,” which signified, Lift up your hearts and eyes in the exercise of faith. But faith must have a foundation to rest upon, even the Word of Him who cannot lie; and hence, the sure promise was given, “which the LORD will bring you today…The Lord shall fight for you.” Previously, they had “lifted up their eyes” and beheld Egyptians [Exodus 14:10]; and in consequence, were sore afraid. But there was something else and some One else for faith to “see”—namely, the promised salvation or deliverance of Jehovah, which was not yet visible to outward sight! If their faith were steadfastly occupied with that, their trembling hearts would be stilled, and strength obtained for the performance of duty or the discharge of their responsibility.

Then came the Divine order to Moses, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they GO FORWARD” [Exodus 14:15]. That was a challenge to faith. To carnal reason, compliance appeared suicidal. To “Go forward” meant walking into the Red Sea—which, at that time, presented an unbroken mass of water. Ah—but they had been promised Divine deliverance. Yes—but God required them to lay hold of that promise and act on it. And they did: “By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land” [Hebrews 11:29]. If “by faith,” then certainly not “by sight”—the two things being opposed the one to the other [2 Corinthians 5:7]. Not until they stepped out with confidence in God’s Word—did He appear for them and begin to open the waters; and as they continued onward—He continued to open a way for them. It is in response to the actings of faith, that God works, for He never sets a premium on unbelief. Here—then, is the first signification of this word for us: “Go forward” with your heart resting on the sure promises of God—and with the eyes of faith steadfastly fixed upon Him.

“Go forward!” Second, this was a call to obedience—namely, the obedience of “faith” [Romans 1:5].

There was a COMMAND annexed to the promise—to prove them and show whether or not they had received the promise sincerely. There are certain grand benefits which God gives to His people without imposing any condition—such as the providing of a Redeemer who took our nature, fulfilled the Law, satisfied God’s provoked justice on our behalf, and merited grace sufficient for our salvation. But having laid this glorious foundation, God treats with us as MORAL AGENTS, propounds to us a covenant which requires our cordial consent or agreement. Repentance and faith are required of us—in order to the forgiveness of our sins. All through the Christian life, our concurrence is necessary. God requires from us FAITH in each of His promises—and OBEDIENCE to the commands annexed to them. Obedience is the path He has appointed, and in which His blessing is to be found. We must follow the course He has prescribed, if we would have Him show Himself strong on our behalf. If we honor His precepts, He will honor us. “Go forward,” then, in complete subjection to His revealed will, and walking according to His Word.

“Go forward!” Third, this was a command to advance. It was so to Israel; it is so unto us. Onward Christian soldiers! Steadfastly persevere along the path of duty, walking in that narrow way which the Divine precepts have marked out for us. No matter what is your condition and circumstances, what obstacles may confront you, what RED SEA OF DIFFICULTY OR DANGER is before you, “Go forward” is your marching orders.

Raise no objections. “The slothful man says: There is a lion outside, I shall be slain in the streets!” [Proverbs 22:13], let no such idle excuse issue from your lips. Rather say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” [Philippians 4:13]. When your heart fails, when your soul is well-near overwhelmed by the problem or task facing you, do not panic, but lift up the EYES OF FAITH unto the Lord, realize He it is who bids you advance. Go forward depending on His promise—and you will not be confounded.

Christ’s oft-repeated “follow me” is but another form of “Go forward.” So too is every exhortation for us to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord” [2 Peter 3:18]. We are ever in need of such a word of exhortation, for we are prone to relax and take things easy—the more so as old age creeps upon us. Rest not satisfied with your present knowledge and apprehension of the Truth—but seek for a deeper and fuller one. Be not content with your present spiritual attainments, for “there remains yet very much land to be possessed!” [Joshua 13:1].

The manna you gathered yesterday—will not suffice for today. “Be not weary in well doing” [2 Thessalonians 3:13]. “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back—is fit for the kingdom of God” [Luke 9:62]. Let the prayerful resolve of each of us be: “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!” [Philippians 3:13-14]. Beg God to write this word in your heart!

IT TAKES A RADICAL CHRISTIAN TO SAY NO TO PAGAN CHRISTMAS

IT TAKES A RADICAL CHRISTIAN TO SAY NO TO PAGAN CHRISTMAS

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.

WHAT DOES THE PASSING OF ANOTHER YEAR MEAN? THIS – THAT OUR SALVATION IS NEARER THAN WHEN WE FIRST BELIEVED

WHAT DOES THE PASSING OF ANOTHER YEAR MEAN? THIS – THAT OUR SALVATION IS NEARER THAN WHEN WE FIRST BELIEVED

In the N. T. the salvation of God is presented under three tenses: past, present and future. As a work “begun” (Phil. 1:6), but not completed in a moment of time. “Who hath saved us” (2 Tim. 1:9), “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12), “now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom. 13:11).

These verses do not refer to THREE DIFFERENT SALVATIONS, but to THREE DISTINCT PHASES and stages of salvation: salvation as an accomplished fact, as a present process, and as a future prospect. First, God saves from the PLEASURE OF SIN, causing the heart to loathe what it formerly loved. That which is displeasing to God is made bitter to the soul, and sin becomes its greatest grief and burden. Next, faith is communicated by the Spirit and the penitent sinner is enabled to believe the Gospel, and thereby he is saved from THE PENALTY OF SIN. Then it is he enters upon the Christian life, wherein he is called upon to “fight the good fight of faith”, for there are enemies both within and without which seek to bring about his destruction.

For that “fight” God has provided adequate armor (Eph. 6:11), which the Christian is bidden to take unto himself. For that fight he is furnished with effective weapons, but these he must make good use of. For that fight spiritual strength is available (2 Tim. 2:1), yet it has to be diligently and trustfully sought. It is in this fight, a lifelong process, a conflict in which no furloughs are granted, the Christian is being saved from the power of sin. In it he receives many wounds, but he betakes himself to the great Physician for healing. In it he is often cast down, but by grace he is enabled to rise again. Finally, he shall be saved from THE PRESENCE OF SIN, for at death the believer is forever rid of his evil nature.

Now it is that third aspect of salvation which concerns us in this present series of articles, namely, the believer’s perseverance: his perseverance in the fight of faith. The doctrine which is to be before us relates to the Christian’s being saved from the power of indwelling sin during the interval which elapses between his being saved from its penalty and the moment when he will be saved from its presence.

Between his being saved from Hell and his actual entrance into Heaven HE NEEDS SAVING FROM HIMSELF, saving from this evil world in which he is still left, saving from the devil who as a roaring lion goes about seeking whom he may devour. The journey from Egypt to Canaan lies not for the most part through green pastures and by the still waters but across an ARID DESERT WITH ALL ITS TRIALS AND TESTINGS, and FEW who left that House of Bondage reached the Land of milk and honey: the great majority fell in the wilderness through their unbelief—types of numerous professors who begin well but fail to endure unto the end.

There are multitudes in Christendom to-day deluded with the idea that a mere HISTORICAL FAITH IN THE GOSPEL ensures their reaching Heaven: who verily suppose they have “received Christ as their personal Savior” simply because they believe that He died on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all those who repudiate their own righteousness and trust in Him. They imagine that if under the influence of religious emotion and the pressing appeals of an evangelist, and assured that “John 3:16 means what it says”, they were persuaded to “become Christians”, that therefore all is now well with them: that having obtained a ticket for Glory they may, like passengers on a train, relax and go to sleep, confident that in due time they shall arrive at their desired destination.

By such deceptions Satan chloroforms myriads into Hell. So WIDESPREAD is this deadly delusion that one who undertakes to expose its sophistry is certain to be regarded by many as a heretic.

[A.W. Pink in his Introduction to ‘Eternal Security]

THE LORD’S PEOPLE MADE WILLING

THE LORD’S PEOPLE MADE WILLING

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.

THE ELECT ARE NOT ‘MADE’ CHILDREN BY THE NEW BIRTH, BUT ARE GOD’S CHILDREN LONG BEFORE CHRIST DIED FOR THEM.

THE ELECT ARE NOT ‘MADE’ CHILDREN BY THE NEW BIRTH, BUT ARE GOD’S CHILDREN LONG BEFORE CHRIST DIED FOR THEM.

A.W. Pink

Believers have “received the Spirit of adoption, whereby they cry, Abba, Father”: they have received that unspeakable Gift which attests and makes known to them their adoption by God. Before the foundation of the world God predestined them “unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself’ (Eph. 1:5). But more-the elect were not only predestined UNTO the adoption of children-to actually and openly enjoy this inestimable favor in time-but this blessing was itself provided and bestowed upon them in the Everlasting Covenant of grace, in which they not only had promise of this relationship, but were given in that Covenant to Christ under that very character. Therefore does the Lord Jesus say, “Behold I and the children which God hath given Me” (Heb. 2:13).

It is to be carefully noted that God’s elect are spoken of as “children” PREVIOUS to the Holy Spirit’s being sent into their hearts: “Because ye ARE sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts” (Gal. 4:6). They are not, then, made children by the new birth. They were “children” before Christ died for them: “he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one THE CHILDREN of God that were scattered abroad” (John 11:51, 52). They were not, then, made children by what Christ did for them. Yea, they were “children” before the Lord Jesus became incarnate: “Forasmuch then as THE CHILDREN are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same” (Heb. 2:14). Thus it is a great mistake to confound adoption and regeneration: they are two distinct things; the latter being both the effect and evidence of the former. Adoption was by an act of God’s will in eternity-regeneration is by the work of His grace in time.

Had there been no adoption, there would be no regeneration: yet the former is not complete without the latter. By adoption the elect were put into THE RELATION of children; by regeneration they are given a NATURE suited to that relation. So high is the honor of being taken into the family of God, and so wondrous is the privilege of having God for our Father, that some extraordinary benefit is needed by us to assure our hearts of the same. This we have when we receive the Spirit of adoption. For God to give us His Spirit is far more than if He had given us all the world, for the latter would be something outside Himself, whereas the former is Himself! The death of Christ on the Cross was a demonstration of God’s love for His people, yet that was done without them; but in connection with what we are now considering, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:5).

Wondrous and blessed fact that, God manifests His love to the members of His Church in precisely the same way that He evidenced His love unto its Head when He became incarnate, namely, by the transcendent gift of His Spirit. The Spirit came upon Jesus Christ as the proof of God’s love to Him and also as the visible demonstration of His Sonship. The Spirit of God descended like a dove and abode upon Him, and then the Father’s voice was heard saying, “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”- compare John 3:34, 35. In fulfillment of Christ’s prayer, “I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be IN THEM” (John 17:26) the Spirit is given to His redeemed, to signify the sameness of the Father’s love unto His Son and unto His sons. Thus, the inhabitation of the Spirit in the Christian is both the surest sign of God’s fatherly love and the proof of His adoption.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE

 A.W. Pink

 “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure”! [2Pet 1:10]

This exhortation, then, is addressed to LIVING SAINTS AND NOT TO DEAD SINNERS. To teach that the unregenerate can do anything at all toward securing their calling and election, is not only colossal ignorance, but it gives the lie of God’s Word. When they are delivering a divine message, the FIRST DUTY of God’s ministers is to draw very definitely the line of demarcation between the Church and the world: it is failure at this point which causes so many children of the Devil to claim relationship with the people of God.

Attention to the context will almost always make it clear to whom a passage pertains: whether to the children of men in general or to the children of God in particular. The simplest and most effectual way of making this plain to their hearers, is for them to carefully delineate the characters (the identifying marks) of the one and of the other—note how the apostle followed this very course in the first four verses of the epistle.

To discover that God’s purpose of grace is restricted to an elect people, is alarming to one who has imagined that He loves all mankind alike. To be made to seriously wonder if I am one of those whom God chose in Christ before the foundation of the world, raises a question which it is not easy to answer satisfactorily; and to be made to diligently inquire into my actual state, to solemnly examine myself before God, is a task which no hypocrite will prosecute; yet is it one which the regenerate will not shrink from, but on the contrary will pursue it with earnest zeal and fervent prayers to God for help therein.

It is not (as some foolishly suppose) that the one who is now so seriously concerned about his spiritual condition and eternal destiny is in such alarm because he doubts God’s Word. Far from it: it is just because he believes God’s Word that he doubts himself, doubts the validity of his Christian profession. It is because he believes the Scriptures when they declare the Lord’s flock is a “very little one” (Greek, Luke 12:32), he is fearful that he belongs not to it. It is because he believes God when He says, “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness” (Prov. 30:12), and that finding so much filth in his own soul, he trembles lest that be true of him. It is because he believes God when He says “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9), that he is deeply exercised lest he be fatally deluded. Ah, my reader, the more firmly we believe God’s Word, the more cause have we to doubt ourselves.

To obtain assurance that they have received a supernatural call from God, which has brought them from death unto life, is a matter of paramount concern to those who really value their souls. Those to whom God has imparted an honest heart abhor hypocrisy, refuse to take anything for granted, and greatly fear lest they impose upon themselves by passing a more favorable verdict than is warranted. Others may laugh at their concern and mock at their fears, but this moves them not. TOO MUCH IS AT STAKE FOR SUCH A MATTER TO BE LIGHTLY AND HURRIEDLY DISMISSED. They know full well that it is one which must be settled in the presence of God, and if they are deceived, they beg Him to make them aware of it. It is God who has wounded them, and He alone can heal; it is God who has disturbed their carnal complacency, and none but He can bestow real spiritual rest.

There is a class of professing Christians who entertain no doubts whatever about their salvation, who are fond of saying, “as well look to an iceberg for heat or into a grave to find the tokens of life, as search within ourselves for proofs of the new birth”. But is it not akin to blasphemy to suggest that God the Spirit can take up His residence in a person and yet for there to be no definite evidences of His presence.

It is not the making of our calling and election sure GODWARDS, but MANWARDS. Nor is it something future which is here in view: it is the present enjoyment to ourselves of our calling and election, and of evidencing the same to our brethren. By heeding the exhortation of verses 5-7 I am to prove my calling and election, and demonstrate the same to the Church. A man may tell me he believes in election and is sure that he has been called of God, but unless I can see in his character and conduct the spiritual graces of verses 5-7 then I have to say of him (as Paul did of the Galatians) “I stand in doubt of you.” Here, then, is the meaning: make steadfast in your own conscience your calling and election, and make good to others your profession, by walking as a child of God.

HOW may a real believer ascertain that he is one of God’s elect?

Why, the very fact he is a genuine Christian evidences it, for a believing into Christ is the sure consequence of God’s having ordained him to eternal life (Acts. 13:48). But to be more specific. How may I know my election?

FIRST, by the Word of God, having come in Divine power to the soul, so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness renounced.

SECOND, by the Spirit’s having convicted me to my woeful, guilty, and lost condition.

THIRD, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case, and by a divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope.

FOURTH, by the marks of the new nature within me: a love for God, an appetite for spiritual things, a longing for holiness, a seeking after conformity to Christ.

FIFTH, by the resistance which the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it.

SIXTH, by sedulously avoiding everything which is condemned by God’s Word, and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression thereof. Failure at this point will most surely and quickly bring a dark cloud over our assurance, causing the Spirit to withhold His witness.

SEVENTH, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces, and using all legitimate means to this end. Thus, knowledge of election is cumulative.

[Taken from A.W. Pink’s ‘The Doctrine of Election’]

GOD OF ALL COMFORT

GOD OF ALL COMFORT

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

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

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

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

GOD’S PEOPLE ARE NEVER ALONE

GOD’S PEOPLE ARE NEVER ALONE

A.W. Pink

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

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

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

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

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

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

Say “Praise the LORD!”

 

YOU CAN ONLY GET RID OF ELECTION BY GETTING RID OF THE BIBLE

YOU CAN ONLY GET RID OF ELECTION BY GETTING RID OF THE BIBLE

A.W. Pink

It is a solemn thing for a man to be spoken to by God, the God of heaven and earth. Each word coming from His lips should be listened to and received with profoundest reverence. “The Lord has spoken” is enough for us. There is no ‘room for question or cavil where His voice is heard. Each word in the Bible is to be dealt with as a sacred thing, a vessel of the sanctuary, not to be lightly handled or profanely mutilated, but to be received just as it stands. There may be passages difficult to reconcile, doctrines which apparently conflict with each other. But let us beware of smoothing down, of hammering in pieces, one class of passages, in order to bring about a reconciliation. Let us be content to take them as they are. We shall gain nothing by explaining them away. 

God has spoken them. God has placed them there. They cannot really be at variance with each other. The day is coming when we shall fully understand their harmony. Let us wait till then, and meanwhile tremble at the thought of misinterpreting or distorting so much as one jot or tittle. Most assuredly we shall not bring about the agreement in any such way. We are only widening the breach, and opening but new difficulties.
If I am asked, how can you preach a free gospel, and yet believe in election? I answer, I ‘believe in both, and preach both, be- cause I find both in the Bible. I have no authority for preaching an unconditional gospel but what I find in the Bible; and I have the same authority for preaching an unconditional personal election. God has told me that both are true; and woe be to me if I profanely attempt to mutilate either the one or the other. If one man refuses to take the simple meaning of “election”, another may refuse to take the simple meaning of “gospel”. And were I called upon to say which is the worse, the more profane of the two, I should say the former. I should, indeed, tremble at the thought of denying either election or the gospel; but I confess that I think the denial of the latter a less direct, and less daring insult to the sovereign majesty of Jehovah. It would be a shutting out of His grace, closing up of all the manifestations of His character which have come to us since Adam sinned; and it would be drawing a dark cloud over our eternal prospects,—but it would not be taking the reins of government out of His hands,— it would not be the usurpation of His throne,—it would not be giving the right hand of fellowship to atheism.But there is no need of any such comparison. Perhaps it was wrong to make it. I have done so, however, in order that you may be led to see that election belongs to the highest and most sacred order of truths – that it is not a doctrine to be concealed and muffled as if we were either ashamed or afraid of it, but to be firmly held, and faithfully preached, whether men will hear or forebear. Mere philosophy might tell men that, if there be a God, He must be absolutely sovereign in all things. Mere philosophy might expose the shallowness and selfishness of those who trample on God’s free will, in order to establish man’s — even if theology and Scripture were silent on the matter.

Why do I preach a free gospel? Is it because reason has revealed it? Is it because I find it suits me best? No, It is because God has declared it; that is my sole authority. Why do I believe in election? Just because God has made it known. I may find that reason confirms this. I may see that there can be no really free gospel without election; but still my ground for believing it is because I find it most plainly revealed.

YOU CAN ONLY GET RID OF ELECTION BY GETTING RID OF THE BIBLE!

And hence you will find, among others who deny election and the work of Christ for His church, a great dislike at those passages of Scripture which allude to these topics. They pass them by, they turn away from them, they are angry if another even quotes them, though without a comment. Now I ask, would they do and feel thus, if they believed that these passages really contain the meaning which they put upon them? If these passages are quite in harmony with their views, why do they shrink from quoting them, or hearing them quoted? Is not this the plainest of all proofs, that they feel that theirs is not the honest interpretation? Does it not show that they themselves are secretly persuaded that these passages do teach unconditional election, and the absolute sovereignty of Jehovah? They feel that thev have twisted them from their plain sense, and that the mere reading of them is enough to expose their distortions. They feel that they have not dealt fairly with the Word of God, and that their one-sided dealings cannot bear the light of day.

Let us learn to ‘ ‘tremble at the Word”. Let us take it plainly and honestly in its simple sense. Let us not be afraid of its apparent contradictions. Let us not think ourselves capable of reconciling and harmonizing all its declarations. We see here but through a glass darkly. The day of light and harmony is coming. All shall then be plain. God will solve our difficulties. Meanwhile, let us reverence every jot and tittle of His holy Word. Let us trust our own hearts and reasonings less, and God’s Word more. Let us not be so anxiously asking, how can this be? how can we rec- oncile God’s sovereignty with man’s responsibility? how can we harmonize the Spirit’s free agency with man’s free agency? Let us leave difficulties in the hands of God; and let us beware of making those difficulties greater by our miserable attempts to reach at things too high for us, or our miserable efforts to pervert and mutilate’ the Word of the God who cannot lie.

I do not mean, by any of these remarks, to imply that there is not the most perfect harmony between all the different doctrines taught us in the Bible. Nor do I mean to say that this harmony is incapable of being discerned here. I believe, on the one hand, that all is harmony in the truths of God, and that that harmony is discernible and demonstrable even now. But still there is an apparent jar. To a certain extent we can reconcile every one of the supposed discordances. Yet there are difficulties connected with them which no theory can solve, and which will remain difficulties till the great day. To attempt to reconcile or remove these by denying the plain and natural sense of Scripture is sinful and pernicious. It accomplishes nothing. It only takes away one difficulty to replace it with a greater.

There are doubtless other causes of the evil over which we mourn; but these are the three chief roots of bitterness. To these may be traced more of the manifold errors of our day than many may be willing to al- low. Till these are removed, I have little hope that the instability of the times will die out, or cease to operate for the injury and subversion of the truth. Till the soul gets rest—not the name, but the reality— and till the conscience is awake and sensitive, and till the Word of God is reverenced and honestly interpreted, I see small prospect of an end of these changes, if, indeed, we may venture to hope that such can be until the Lord shall come. Yet be not amazed. Jehovah changes not; neither does His Word. It abideth forever!

THE TWO ‘CALLS’ OF GOD – GENERAL AND PARTICULAR

THE TWO ‘CALLS’ OF GOD – GENERAL AND PARTICULAR

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.