Saturday, May 19, 2012

In the Pink

If you’re at all shaky on the whole idea of the sovereignty of God, let Arthur W. Pink set you straight.

A.W. Pink

ἐν αὐτῷ ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἐκληρώθημεν προορισθέντες κατὰ πρόθεσιν τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ· εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ τοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ.
Ephesians 1:11-12

I didn’t really start to understand the Bible until about two years ago when I became convinced of three fundamental (and increasingly unpopular) doctrinal truths related to God’s sovereignty: God has predestinated those who will believe in Jesus; these Believers are God’s Chosen Elect; and God does NOT love everybody.

Upon first hearing a reasonable and compelling explanation of these three truths,1 I was only partially convinced they were true, but after deciding to read the New Testament over the next few days as though they were true, I never looked back. From that moment on, everything I read in the Bible just made way more sense.

Anyway, the only reason I mention that is because ever since then I’ve been something of a heresy-hunter; and there’s been no shortage of game. Even though these truths were historically very strongly held in most non-Presbyterian denominations, almost no one preaches them today (and those, like the Calvinists, that do, don't teach them correctly). So it’s always a pleasant surprise to come across a Christian preacher who does. It’s a particular pleasure when he can present them artfully in a few choice sentences. Of course, because of the aforementioned lack of mainline subscribers to these truths, most of these “eloquent Sovereignists” are dead and buried. One such man is Arthur W. Pink.

I found the following Pink quote, A Great Deception, posted on the Providence Baptist Ministries website.
One of the most popular beliefs of the day is that God loves everybody, and the very fact that it is so popular with all classes ought to be enough to arouse the suspicions of those who are subject to the Word of Truth. God's love towards all His creatures is the favorite tenet of Universalists, Unitarians, Theosophists, Christian Scientists, Spiritualists, Russellites, etc. . . . So widely has this dogma been proclaimed, and so comforting it is to the heart which is at enmity with God, we have little hope of convincing many of their error.

To tell the Christ-rejecter that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins. The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children's bread and to cast it to the dogs.
As for Predestination and Election, Pink refers to them while discussing 2 Thessalonians 2:13, in a short excerpt entitled Chosen to Salvation:
There are three things here which deserve special attention. First, the fact that we are expressly told that God's elect are "chosen to salvation". Language could not be more explicit. How summarily do these words dispose of the sophistries and equivocations of all who would make election refer to nothing but external privileges or rank in service! It is to "salvation" itself that God has chosen us.
It should be noted here that both the OT Hebrew word בָּחִיר (bachiyr) and the NT Greek word ἐκλεκτός (eklektos) were alternately translated “the chosen” and “the elect” in English Bibles; meaning that the Chosen and the Elect are the same people. Pink continues:
Second, we are warned here that election unto salvation does not disregard the use of appropriate means: salvation is reached through "sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth". It is not true that because God has chosen a certain one to salvation that he will be saved willy-nilly, whether he believes or not: nowhere do the Scriptures so represent it. The same God who "chose unto salvation", decreed that His purpose should be realized through the work of the spirit and belief of the truth.
Or, as the Apostle Paul put it in Romans 8:29, we are predestined to become like Christ.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
In Ephesians 1:5, Paul tells us that we believers—the Elect—were predestinated to become younger siblings of Christ, members of the family of God.
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.
In this, Paul echoes the words of John 1:3:
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name.
All of which, as Pink reminds us, is “cause for fervent praise”!
Third, that God has chosen us unto salvation is a profound cause for fervent praise. Note how strongly the apostle expresses this - "we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation", etc. Instead of shrinking back in horror from the doctrine of predestination, the believer, when he sees this blessed truth as it is unfolded in the Word, discovers a ground for gratitude and thanksgiving such as nothing else affords, save the unspeakable gift of the Redeemer Himself.

1. It was Jim Brown, the pastor of Grace and Truth Ministries, who opened my eyes to the truth of Predestination, Election & the Sovereignty of God. You can watch one of Jim's 90 minute sermons on these doctrines here on YouTube.

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