A W Pink – The Law and the Saint (Part 3)

READ Part 1 here

READ Part 2 here

Arthur and Vera pink July 20, 1928 (via amazon.com)

The Positive Side
   What is the relation of the Law (the Ten Commandments) to Christians?
   In our previous chapter we pointed out how that three radically
   different answers have been returned to this question. The first, that
   sinners become saints by obeying the Law. This is Legalism pure and
   simple. It is heresy of the most dangerous kind. All who really believe
   and act on it as the ground of their acceptance by God, will perish
   eternally. Second, others say that the Law is not binding on Christians
   because it has been abolished. This is, we are fully assured, a serious
   error. It arises from a mistaken interpretation of certain passages in
   the Epistles. The inevitable tendency of such an error is toward
   Antinomianism, the "turning of the grace of God into lasciviousness"
   (Jude 4). Third, others affirm, and the writer is among the number,
   that the Ten Commandments are an expression of the unchanging character
   and will of God: that they are a moral standard of conduct which we
   disregard at our peril: that they are, and will ever be, binding upon
   every Christian.

   In our last chapter we sought to prepare the way for the present one.
   There, we dealt with the negative side; here, we shall treat of the
   positive. In the former, we sought to give the true meaning of the
   principal passages in the New Testament appealed to by those who deny
   that the Ten Commandments are now binding on Christians. In the present
   chapter, we shall endeavor to expound some of the many passages in the
   New Testament which affirm that the Ten Commandments are now binding on
   Christians. We, therefore, invite the reader's most diligent and
   prayerful attention to the scriptures cited and our comments upon them.

   1. "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am
   not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till
   heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from
   the Law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of
   these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called
   the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach
   them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.
   5:17-19). It might appear to the disciples of Christ that their Master
   intended to set aside Moses and the Prophets, and introduce an entirely
   new standard of morality. It was true indeed that He would expose the
   error of depending on the work of the Law for acceptance with God (as
   Moses and the prophets had done before Him); but it was no part of His
   design to set aside the Law itself. He was about to correct various
   corruptions, which obtained among the Jews, hence He is careful to
   preface what He has to say by cautioning them not to misconstrue His
   designs. So far from having any intention of repudiating Moses, He most
   emphatically asserts: first, that He had not come to destroy the Law;
   second, that He had come to "fulfill" it; third, that the Law is of
   perpetual obligation; fourth, that whoso breaks one of the least of the
   Law's commandments and teaches other so to do, shall suffer loss;
   fifth, that he who kept the Law and taught men to respect and obey it
   should be rewarded.

   "I am not come to destroy the Law"--the Prophets simply expounded the
   Law, and rebuked Israel for their failure to keep it, and forwarned
   them of the consequences of continued disobedience. "I am not come to
   destroy the Law." Nothing could be more explicit. The word "destroy"
   here means "to dissolve or overthrow". When, then, our Lord said that
   He had not come to destroy the Law He gave us to understand that it was
   not the purpose of His mission to repeal or annul the Ten Commandments:
   that he had not come to free men from their obligations to them. And if
   He did not "destroy" the Law, then no one had destroyed it; and if no
   one has destroyed it, then the Law still stands with all its Divine
   authority; and if the Law still abides as the unchanging expression of
   God's character and will, then every human creature is under lasting
   obligation to obey it; and if every human creature, then the Christian!

   Second, the Son of God went on to say "I am not come to destroy, but to
   fulfill". The word "fulfill" here means "to fill up, to complete".
   Christ "fulfilled" the Law in three ways: first, by rendering personal
   obedience to its precepts. God's Law was within His heart (Psa. 40:8),
   and in thought, word and deed, He perfectly met its requirements; and
   thus by His obedience He magnified the Law and made it honorable (Isa.
   42:21). Second, by suffering (at the Cross) its death-penalty on behalf
   of His people who had transgressed it. Third, by exhibiting its fulness
   and spirituality and by amplifying its contents. Thus did Christ, our
   Exemplar, "fulfill the Law."

   So far from Christ having repealed the Law, He expressly affirmed,
   "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass
   from the Law, till all be fulfilled." In these words He announces the
   perpetuity of the Law. So long as heaven and earth shall last, the Law
   will endure, and by necessary implication, the lasting obligations of
   all men to fulfill it.

   But this is not all that our Lord here said. With omniscient foresight
   He anticipated what Mr. Mead has aptly termed "The Modern Outcry
   against the Law", and proceeds to solemnly warn against it. He said,
   "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and
   shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of
   heaven".

   2. "Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we
   establish the Law" (Rom. 3:31). In the previous part of the chapter the
   apostle had proven that "there is none righteous, no not one" (v. 10);
   second, he had declared "By the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh
   be justified" (v. 2); then in vv. 21-26 he had set forth the Divine way
   of salvation--"through faith in Christ's blood". In v.28, he sums up
   his argument by affirming "a man is justified by faith without the
   deeds of the Law". In vv. 29, 30 he proves that this is true for Jew
   and Gentile alike. Then, in v.31, he anticipates an objection: What
   about the Law, then? This was a very pertinent question. Twice had he
   said that justification was apart from the deeds of the Law. If, then,
   the Law served no purpose in effecting the salvation of sinners, has it
   no office at all? If we are saved "through faith" is the Law useless?
   Are we to understand you to mean (Paul) that the Law has been annulled?
   Not at all, is the apostle's answer: "We establish the Law."

   What did the apostle mean when he said "we establish the Law"? He meant
   that, as saved men, Christians are under additional obligations to obey
   the Law, for they are now furnished with new and more powerful motives
   to serve God. Righteousness imputed to the believer produces in the
   justified one a kind and an extent of obedience which could not
   otherwise have been obtained. So far from rendering void or nullifying
   the authority and use of the Law, it sustains and confirms them. Our
   moral obligation to God and our neighbor has not been weakened, but
   strengthened. Below we offer one or two brief excerpts from other
   expositors.

   "Does not the doctrine of faith evacuate the Old Testament of its
   meaning, and does it not make law void, and lead to disregard of it?
   Does it not open the door to license of living? To this the apostle
   replies, that it certainly does not; but that, on the contrary, the
   Gospel puts law on a proper basis and establishes it on its foundation
   as a revelation of God's will" (Dr. Griffith-Thomas).

   "We cancel law, then, by this faith of ours? We open the door, then, to
   moral license? We abolish code and precept, then, when we ask not for
   conduct, but for faith? Away with the thought; nay, we establish law;
   we go the very way to give a new sacredness to its every command, and
   to disclose a new power for the fulfillment of them all. But how this
   is, and is to be, the later argument is to show" (Dr. Handley Moule).

   "Objection. If man is justified by faith without works, does not that
   do away with law entirely, i.e. teach lawlessness? Answer:By no means.
   It establishes the law. When a man is saved by grace, that does not
   make him lawless. There is a power within him which does not destroy,
   but it strengthens the law, and causes him to keep it, not through
   fear, but through love of God" (H. S. Miller, M.A.).

   3. "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man...with the
   mind I myself serve the Law of God" (Rom 7:22-25). In this chapter the
   apostle does two things: first, he shows what is not and what is the
   Law's relation to the believer--judicially, the believer is emancipated
   from the curse or penalty of the Law (7:1-6); morally, the believer is
   under bonds to obey the Law (vv. 22, 25). Secondly, he guards against a
   false inference being drawn from what he had taught in chapter 6. In
   6:1-11 he sets forth the believer's identification with Christ as "dead
   to sin" (vv. 2, 7, etc.). Then, from v. 11 onwards, he shows the effect
   this truth should have upon the believer's walk. In chapter 7 he
   follows the same order of thought. In 7:1-6 he treats of the believer's
   identification with Christ as "dead to the law" (see vv. 4 and 6).
   Then, from v. 7 onwards he describes the experiences of the Christian.
   Thus the first half of Rom. 6 and the first half of Rom. 7 deal with
   the believer's standing, whereas the second half of each chapter treats
   of the believer's state; but with this difference: the second half of
   Rom. 6 reveals what our state ought to be, whereas the second half of
   Rom. 7 (vv. 13-25) shows what our state actually is. [6]

   The controversy which has raged over Rom. 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 Rom. 7 into Rom. 8" is excuseless folly. Rom. 7
   and 8 both apply with undiminished force and pertinence to every
   believer on earth today. The second half of Rom. 7 describes the
   conflict of the two natures in the child of God: it simply sets forth
   in detail what is summarized in Gal. 5:17. Rom. 7:14, 15, 18, 19, 21
   are 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 Rom. 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 Saviour 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" (James 3:2, R.V.).

   The second half of Rom. 7, then, is describing the state of the
   Christian, i.e. the conflict between the two natures within him. In v.
   14 the apostle declares, "We know that the Law is spiritual". How
   different is this language from the disparaging way that many now refer
   to God's Law! In v. 22 he exclaims, "I delight in the Law of God after
   the inward man". How far removed is this from the delusion that the Law
   has been abolished, and that it no longer serves any purpose for the
   Christian! The apostle Paul did not ignore the Law, still less did he
   regard it as an enemy. The new nature within him delighted in it: so,
   too, did the Psalmist, see Psa. 119:72, 97, 140. But the old nature was
   still within him too, warring against the new, and bringing him into
   captivity to the law of sin, so that he cried, "O wretched man that I
   am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death" (v.24)--and we
   sincerely pity every professing Christian who does not echo this cry.
   Next the apostle thanks God that he shall be delivered yet "through
   Jesus Christ our Lord" (v. 25), not "by the power of the Holy Spirit"
   note! The deliverance is future, at the return of Christ, see Phil.
   3:20, etc. Finally, and mark that this comes after he had spoken of the
   promised "deliverance", he sums up his dual experience by saying, "So
   then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh
   the law of sin". Could anything be plainer? Instead of affirming that
   the Law had nothing to do with him as a Christian, nor he with it, he
   expressly declared that he served "the Law of God". This is sufficient
   for us. Let others refuse to "serve" the Law of God at their peril.

   4. "For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the
   flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for
   sin, condemned sin in the flesh. That the righteousness of the Law
   might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the
   spirit" (Rom. 8:3, 4). This throws light on Rom. 3:31, showing us, in
   part, how "the Law is established". The reference here is to the new
   nature. The believer now has a heart that loves God, and therefore does
   it "delight in the Law of God". And it is ever at the heart that God
   looks, though, of course, He takes note of our actions too. But in
   heart the believer "fulfills" the holy requirements of God's Law,
   inasmuch as his innermost desire is to serve, please, and glorify the
   Law-giver. The righteous requirements of the Law are "fulfilled" in us
   because we now obey from the heart (Rom. 6:17).

   5. "He that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law. For this, Thou shalt
not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou
shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any
other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely,
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his
neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law" (Rom. 13:8-10).
   Here again, the apostle, so far from lending the slightest
   encouragement to the strange delusion that the Ten Commandments have
   become obsolete to Christians, actually quotes five of them, and then
   declares, "Love is the fulfilling of the Law". Love is not a
   substitution for Law-obedience, but it is that which prompts the
   believer to render obedience to it.Note carefully, it is not "love is
   the abrogating of the Law", but "love is the fulfilling of the Law".
   "The whole Law is grounded on love to God and love to man. This cannot
   be violated without the breach of Law; and if there is love, it will
   influence us to the observance of all God's commandments" (Haldane).
   Love is the fulfilling of the Law because love is what the Law demands.
   The prohibitions of the Law are not unreasonable restraints on
   Christian liberty, but the just and wise requirements of love. We may
   add that the above is another passage which serves to explain Rom.
   3:31, for it supplies a practical exemplification of the way in which
   the Gospel establishes the Law as the expression of the Divine will,
   which love alone can fulfill.



   6. "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant
unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a
Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law; as
under the Law, that i might gain them that are under the Law; to them
that are without Law, as without Law, (being not without Law to God,
but under the Law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without
Law" (1 Cor. 9:19-22). The central thought of this passage is how the
   apostle forewent his Christian liberty for the sake of the Gospel.
   Though "free" from all, he nevertheless, made himself "the servant" of
   all. To the unconverted Jews he "became a Jew;" Acts 16:3 supplies an
   illustration. To those who deemed themselves to be yet under the
   ceremonial law, he acted accordingly: Acts 21:26 supplies an example of
   this. To them without Law: that is, Gentiles without the ceremonial
   law, he abstained from the use of all ceremonies as they did: cf. Gal.
   2:3. Yet, he did not act as "without Law to God", but instead, as
   "under the Law to Christ"; that is, as still under the moral Law of
   God. He never counted himself free from that, nor would he do anything
   contrary to the eternal Law of righteousness. To be "under Law to God",
   is, without question, to be under the God. Therefore, to be under the
   Law of Christ, is to be under the Law of God, for the Law was not
   abrogated but reinforced by Christ. This text, then, gives a plain and
   decisive answer to the question, How the believer is under the Law of
   God, namely, as he is "under the Law to Christ", belonging to Christ,
   as he does, by redemption.

   7. "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not
liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbor as thyself" (Gal. 5:13, 14). Here the apostle first
   reminds the Galatian saints (and us) that they had been called unto
   "liberty", i.e., from the curse of the moral Law (3:13). Second, he
   defines the bounds of that liberty, and shows that it must not
   deteriorate to fleshly license, but that it is bounded by the
   requirements of the unchanging moral Law of God, which requires that we
   love our neighbor as ourselves. Third, he repeats here, what he had
   said in Rom. 13:8-10, namely, that love is the fulfilling of the Law.
   The new commandment of love to our brethren is comprehended in the old
   commandment of love to our neighbor, hence the former is enforced by an
   appeal to the latter.

   "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty
   for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Gal.
   5:13). We quote here part of the late Dr. George Bishop's comments on
   this verse: "The apostle here emphasizes a danger. The believer before
   believing, relied upon his works to save him. After believing, seeing
   he is in no way saved by his works, he is in danger of despising good
   works and minifying their value. At first he was an Arminian living by
   law; now he is in danger of becoming an Antinomian and flinging away
   the law altogether."

   "But the law is holy and the commandment holy, and just, and good. It
   is God's standard--the eternal Norm. Fulfilled by Christ for us, it
   still remains the swerveless and unerring rule of righteousness. We are
   without the law for salvation, but not without the law for obedience.
   Angels are under the law doing God's commandments, hearkening to the
   voice of His word' (Psa. 103:20). The law then is immutable--its reign
   universal and without exception. The law! It is the transcript of the
   Divine perfection: the standard of eternal justice: the joy and rapture
   of all holy beings. The law! We are above it for salvation, but under
   it, or rather in it and it in us, as a principle of holiness" (Grace in
   Galatians).

   8. "Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour
thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth"
(Eph. 6:1-3). Once more we have a direct quotation from the tables of
   stone as the regulator of the Christian conscience. First, the apostle
   bids children obey their parents in the Lord. Second, he enforces this
   by an appeal to the fifth commandment in the Decalogue. What a proof
   this is that the Christian is under the Law (for the apostle is writing
   to Christians), under it "to Christ". Third, not only does the apostle
   here quote the fifth commandment, but he reminds us that there is a
   promise annexed to it, a promise concerning the prolongation of earthly
   life. How this refutes those who declare that our blessings are all
   spiritual and heavenly )Eph. 1:3). Let the ones who are constantly
   criticizing those who press on the children of God the scriptures which
   have to do with our earthly walk, and who term this a "coming down from
   our position in the heavenlies" weigh carefully Eph. 6:2, 3 and also 1
   Tim. 4:8--"For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is
   profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and
   of that which is to come"; and let them also study 1 Pet. 3:10. In the
   administration of His government, God acts upon immutable principles.
   [7]

   9. "But we know that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully" (1 Tim.
1:8). The Law is used unlawfully, when sinners rest on their imperfect
   obedience to it as the ground of their acceptance by God. So, too,
   believers use it unlawfully, when they obey its precepts out of servile
   fear. But used lawfully, the Law is good. This could never have been
   said if the Law is an enemy to be shunned. Nor could it have been said
   if it has been repealed for the Christian. In that case, the apostle
   would have said, "The Law is not binding upon us". But he did not so
   say. Instead, he declared "The Law if good". He said more than that, he
   affirmed, "We know that the Law is good". It is not a debateable point,
   rather is it one that has been Divinely settled for us. But the Law is
   only "good" if a man (Greek, any one) use it lawfully. To use the Law
   lawfully is to regard it as the unchanging expression of the Will of
   God, and therefore to "delight" in it. To use the Law lawfully is to
   receive it as the corrector of our conduct. To use the Law lawfully is
   to "fulfill" it in love.

   10. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah...this is
the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those
days, saith the Lord; 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. 8:8, 10). Let it be carefully noted that this
   passage unmistakably demonstrates two things: first, it proves
   conclusively that the Law has not been "abolished"! Second, it proves
   that the Law does have a use and value for those that are saved, for it
   is saved Israel that is here in view! Nor is there any possible room
   for doubt as to whether or not this applies to Gentile Christians now.

   The passage just quoted refers to "the new covenant". Is the new
   covenant restricted to Israel? Emphatically no. Did not our Saviour say
   at the Holy Supper, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is
   poured out for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28, R.V.)? Was
   Christ's blood of the new covenant limited to Israel? Certainly not.
   Note how the apostle quotes our Lord's words when writing to the
   Corinthians, see 1 Cor. 11:25. So, too, in 2 Cor. 3:6 the apostle Paul
   declares that God has made us (not is going to make us) "ministers of
   the new covenant". This is proof positive that Christians are under the
   new covenant. The new covenant is made with all that Christ died for,
   and therefore Heb. 8:8-10 assures us that God puts His laws into the
   minds and writes them upon the hearts of every one of His redeemed.

   But so anxious are some to grasp at everything which they imagine
   favors their contention that in no sense are believers under the Law,
   this passage is sometimes appealed to in support. It is argued that
   since God has now (by regeneration) written the Law on the believer's
   heart, He no longer needs any outward commandments to rule and direct
   him. Inward principle, it is said, will now move him spontaneously, so
   that all need for external law is removed. This error was so ably
   exposed fifty years ago by Dr. Martin, we transcribe a part of his
   refutation:

     How was it with our first parents? If ever outward law, categorical
     and imperative, might have been dispensed with, it might in Adam's
     case. In all the compass of his nature, there was nothing adverse to
     the law of God. He was a law unto himself. He was the moral law unto
     himself; loving God with all his heart, and his neighbour as
     himself, in all things content, in nothing coveting. Was imperative,
     authoritative, sovereign commandment therefore utterly unnecessary?
     Did God see it to be needless to say to him, Thou shalt, or, Thou
     shalt not? It was the very thing that infinite wisdom saw he needed.
     And therefore did He give commandment--Thou shalt not eat of it'.

     How was it with the last Adam? All God's law was in His heart
     operating there, an inward principle of grace; He surely, if any,
     might have dispensed with strict, imperative, authoritative law and
     commandment. I delight to do Thy will, O God; Thy law also is within
     My heart'. Was no commandment, therefore, laid upon--no
     obedience-statute ordained--unto Him? Or did He complain if there
     was? Nay; I hear Him specially rejoicing in it. Every word He
     uttered, every work He did, was by commandment: My Father which sent
     me, He gave Me commandment what I should say and what I should do;
     as He gave me commandment therefore, so I speak'.

     And shall His members, though the regenerating Spirit dwells in
     them, claim an exemption from what the Son was not exempt? Shall
     believers, because the Spirit puts the law into their hearts, claim
     a right to act merely at the dictate of inward gracious principle,
     untrammeled, uncontrolled by outward peremptory statute? I appeal to
     Paul in the seventh chapter of the Romans, where he says: The law is
     holy', and adds, as if to show that it was no inward actuating law
     of the heart, but God's outward commanding law to the will: the law
     is holy, and the commandment is holy, and just, and good'. And I
     appeal to the sweet singer of Israel, as I find him in the 119th
     Psalm, which is throughout the breathing of a heart in which the law
     of God is written, owning himself with joy as under peremptory
     external law: Thou hast commanded us to keep Thy precepts
     diligently'.

   11. "If ye fulfill the royal Law according to the scripture, Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well" (James 2:8). The immediate
   purpose of the apostle was to correct an evil--common in all climes and
   ages--of which his brethren were guilty. They had paid deference to the
   wealthy, and shown them greater respect than the poor who attended
   their assembly (see preceding verses). They had, in fact, "despised the
   poor" (v.6). The result was that the worthy name of Christ had been
   "blasphemed" (v.7). Now it is striking to observe the method followed
   and the ground of appeal made by the apostle James in correcting this
   evil.

   First, he says, "If ye fulfill the royal law according to the
   scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if
   ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the Law
   as transgressors" (vv. 8, 9). He shows that in despising the poor they
   had transgressed the Law, for the Law says, "Thou shalt love thy
   neighbour as thyself". Here then, if proof positive that the Law was
   binding upon those to whom James wrote, for it is impossible for one
   who is in every sense "dead to the Law" to be a "transgressor" of it.
   And here, it is probable that some will raise the quibble that the
   Epistle of James is Jewish. True, the Epistle is addressed to the
   twelve tribes scattered abroad. Yet it cannot be gainsaid that the
   apostle was writing to men of faith (1:3); men who had been
   regenerated--"begotten" (1:18); men who were called by the worthy name
   of Christ (2:7), and therefore Christians. And it is to them the
   apostle here appeals to the Law!--another conclusive proof that the Law
   has not been abolished.

   The apostle here terms the Law, "the royal Law". This was to empathize
   its authority, and to remind his regenerated brethren that the
   slightest deflection from it was rebellion. The royal Law also calls
   attention to the supreme dignity of its Author. This royal Law, we
   learn, is transcribed in the Scriptures--the reference here was, of
   course, to the Old Testament Scriptures.

   Next, the apostle says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and
   yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not
   commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no
   adultery, yet if thou kill, thou are become a transgressor of the Law"
   (vv. 10, 11). His purpose is evident. He presses on those to whom he
   writes that, he who fails to love his neighbour is just as much and
   just as truly a transgressor of the Law as the man who is guilty of
   adultery or murder, for he has rebelled against the authority of the
   One who gave the whole Law. In this quotation of the 6th and 7th
   commandments all doubt is removed as to what "Law" is in view in this
   passage.

   Finally, the apostle says, "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall
   be judged by the Law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without
   mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment"
   (vv. 12, 13). This is solemn and urgently needs pressing upon the
   Lord's people today: Christians are going to be "judged by the Law"!
   The Law is God's unchanging standard of conduct for all; and all alike,
   saints and sinners, are going to be weighed in its balances; not of
   course, in order to determine their eternal destiny, but to settle the
   apportionment of reward and punishment. It should be obvious to all
   that the very word "reward" implies obedience to the Law! Let it be
   repeated, though, that this judgment for Christians has nothing
   whatever to do with their salvation. Instead, it is to determine the
   measure of reward which they shall enjoy in Heaven. Should any object
   against the idea of any future judgment (not punishment but judgment)
   for Christians, we would ask them to carefully ponder 1 Cor. 11:31, 32:
   2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 10:30--in each case the Greek word is the same as here
   in James 2:12.

   It should be noted that the apostle here terms the Law by which we
   shall be judged "the Law of liberty". It is, of course, the same as
   "the royal Law" in v. 8. But why term it the Law of liberty? Because
   such it is to the Christian. He obeys it (or should do) not from fear,
   but out of love. The only true "liberty" lies in complete subjection to
   God. There was, too, a peculiar propriety in the apostle James here
   styling the Law of God "the Law of liberty". His brethren had been
   guilty of "respecting persons", showing undue deference to the rich;
   and this was indeed servility of the worst kind. But to "love our
   neighbour" will free us from this.

   12. Other passages in the New Testament which show more directly the
bearing of the Law on believers might be quoted, but we close, by
calling attention to 1 John 2:6: "He that saith he abideth in Him ought
himself also so to walk, even as He walked" (1 John 2:6). This is very
   simple, and yet deeply important. The believer is here exhorted to
   regulate his walk by that of the walk of Christ. How did He walk? We
   answer, in perfect obedience to the Law of God. Gal. 4:4 tells us, "God
   sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law." Psa. 40:8
   declares that God's Law was in His heart. Everything recorded about the
   Saviour in the four Gospels evidences His complete subjection to the
   Law. If, then, the Christian desires to honor and please God, if he
   would walk as Christ walked, then must he regulate his conduct by and
   render obedience to the Ten Commandments. Not that we would for a
   moment insist that the Christian has nothing more than the Ten
   Commandments by which to regulate his conduct. No; Christ came to
   "fulfill" the Law, and as we have intimated, one thing this means is
   that, He has brought out the fulness of its contents, He has brought to
   light its exceeding spirituality, He has shown us (both directly and
   through His apostles) its manifold application. But whatever
   amplification the Law has received in the New Testament, nothing has
   been given by God which in any wise conflicts with what he first
   imprinted on man's moral nature, and afterwards wrote with His own
   finger at Sinai, nothing that in the slightest modifies its authority
   or our obligation to render obedience to it.

   May the Holy Spirit so enlighten our sin-darkened understandings and so
   draw out our hearts unto God, that we shall truthfully say, "The Law of
   Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver...O how
   love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day" (Psa. 119:72-97).
     __________________________________________________________________

   [6] Vv. 8-12 are more or less in the nature of a parenthesis.   [7] That some obedient children are short-lived no more belies the Word
   of God than that some diligent men are poor, yet Prov. 10:4 says, "The
   hand of the diligent maketh rich:" The truth is, that these promises
   reveal the general purpose of God, but He always reserves to Himself
   the sovereign right to make whom He pleases exceptions to the general
   rule.
 

Related articles

Articole in Limba Romana

 
Reclame

A W Pink – The Law and the Saint (Part 2)

In this- Part 2 of Pink’s book ‘The Law and the Saint’, Pink expands on this passage:

What is the relation of the Law to the saint? Three answers have been given:

  1. First, that sinners become saints by obeying the Law.
  2. Second, that the Law is a rule of life for believers.
  3. Third, that the Law has nothing whatever to do with believers today.

Those who give the first answer teach that the Law defines what God requires from man, and therefore man must keep it in order to be accepted by God.

Those who give the second answer teach that the Law exhibits a standard of conduct, and that while this Old Testament standard receives amplification in the New, yet the latter does not set aside the former.

Those who give the third answer teach that the Law was a yoke of bondage, grievous to be borne, and that it has been made an end of so far as Christians are concerned.

The first answer is Legalism pure and simple: salvation by works; the second, relates to true Christian liberty; the third, is Antinomianism–lawlessness, a repudiation of God’s governmental authority. The first view prevailed generally through the Medieval Ages, when Popery reigned almost supreme. The second view prevailed generally during the time of the Reformers and
Puritans. The third view has come into prominence during the last century, and now is the popular belief of our day.

(All highlighting and underlining is mine and is primarily used to facilitate easier reading for this lengthy post)

READ Part 1 here

Arthur and Vera pink July 20, 1928 (via amazon.com)

The Negative Side

   What is the relation between the Law and the saint? By the Law we refer
   to the Ten Commandments engraven upon the tables of stone by the finger
   of God; by the saint we mean, the believer living in the present
   dispensation. What, then, is the relation between the Christian living
   today and the Ten Commandments formally proclaimed in the time of
   Moses? It is indeed sad that such a question needs to be raised, and
   that the Divine answer requires to be pressed upon the people of God.
   There was a time when it would not have been easy to find a Christian
   who was ignorant upon this subject; a time when the first thing
   committed to memory by the children of Christian parents was the Ten
   Commandments. But, alas, today it is far otherwise. Now, it is becoming
   increasingly difficult to find those who can give a clear and
   scriptural answer to our opening question. And as to finding children
   who can repeat the Ten Commandments, they are rare indeed.

   The Law and the saint. Present-day teachings on this subject, as on
   almost every other scriptural theme, is conflicting and contradictory.
   There are indeed few Divine doctrines upon which even Christian
   teachers are uniform in their testimony. What differences of opinion
   exist concerning Church-truth and the ordinances! What a variety of
   interpretations of prophecy now confront us! What a lack of harmony
   concerning the doctrine of sanctification. The same confusion prevails
   concerning the relation of the Law to the saint. Just as the Confusion
   of Tongues (Gen. 11) immediately preceded God's call to Abraham (the
   father of us all) to leave his native home and go forth into that land
   which he was to receive for an inheritance (Gen. 12), so there is a
   confusion of tongues in the theological world just before the people of
   God are to be called away from this earth to their heavenly inheritance
   (1 Peter 1:4). That God has a good reason for permitting the present
   confusion of tongues, we doubt not--"For there must be factions among
   you; that they that are approved may be made manifest among you" (1
   Cor. 11:19, R.V.).

   What is the relation of the Law to the saint? Three answers have been
   given. First, that sinners become saints by obeying the Law. Second,
   that the Law is a rule of life for believers. Third, that the Law has
   nothing whatever to do with believers today. Those who give the first
   answer teach that the Law defines what God requires from man, and
   therefore man must keep it in order to be accepted by God. Those who
   give the second answer teach that the Law exhibits a standard of
   conduct, and that while this Old Testament standard receives
   amplification in the New, yet the latter does not set aside the former.
   Those who give the third answer teach that the Law was a yoke of
   bondage, grievous to be borne, and that it has been made an end of so
   far as Christians are concerned. The first answer is Legalism pure and
   simple: salvation by works; the second, relates to true Christian
   liberty; the third, is Antinomianism--lawlessness, a repudiation of
   God's governmental authority. The first view prevailed generally
   through the Medieval Ages, when Popery reigned almost supreme. The
   second view prevailed generally during the time of the Reformers and
   Puritans. The third view has come into prominence during the last
   century, and now is the popular belief of our day.

   How thankful we should be that it is our happy privilege to return from
   the theological bedlam that surrounds us, and enter the quiet sanctuary
   of God's truth; that we may turn away from the conflicting voices of
   men, to hear what God says on the subject. We trust that this is the
   hearty desire of our readers. We cherish the hope that few who have
   read the above paragraphs are so conceited as to suppose they have no
   need to examine or re-examine what the Scriptures teach about the
   relation of the Law to believers. We are persuaded, rather, that the
   reader shares the conviction of the writer, namely, that this is an
   imperative necessity. It is so easy to conclude that our views of
   certain Divine truths have been formed from our own study of what we
   have (correctly or incorrectly) imbibed from human teachers. Our need
   is that of the Bereans (Acts 17:11)--to "Search the Scriptures daily"
   to find out whether or not what we hear and read is in accord with the
   Word of Truth. Moreover, this is sure, "if any man think that he
   knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know" (1 Cor.
   8:2). Therefore it behooves every one of us to definitely look to God
   for light and help, and then reverently turn to His Word for the needed
   instruction.

   Before we present to the reader some of the leading scriptures which
   set forth the relation of the Law to believers of this dispensation, it
   will first be necessary to examine the passages which are appealed to
   by those who affirm that the Law has no relation to the people of God
   living today. Let us then turn to these passages, and without prejudice
   (as far as that is possible) seek to ascertain their true meaning.


   1. "For as many as have sinned without Law shall also perish without
   Law...for when the Gentiles which have not the Law, do by nature the
   things contained in the Law, these, having not the Law, are a Law unto
   themselves" (Rom. 2:12-14). These verses really have no direct bearing
   on our present theme, inasmuch as they treat of other than saints. Yet,
   as this passage does relate to the wider subject of the Law in general,
   and as it is made use of by those who flatly and hotly deny the Law has
   any relation to believers today, we give it a brief notice.

   It is affirmed by some whom we respect, but from whom on this subject
   we are obliged to differ, that the Law was given to the nation of
   Israel and to none else, and therefore, that neither Gentiles nor
   Christians are under any obligation to keep it. That the Law was
   formally given to Israel at Sinai is freely granted. But does that
   prove it was meant for none other than the descendants of Jacob? Surely
   not. When writing to the saints at Rome (many of whom were Gentiles,
   see 1:13; 11:13; 15:15, 16, etc.) Paul said, "But now we are delivered
   from the Law" (7:6). Again, in 8:7 he declares, "The carnal mind is
   enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither
   indeed can be": mark, it is not "the Jewish mind", but the "carnal
   mind" to Jew and Gentile alike. Now, there would be no point to this
   statement if the mind of man, as man, is not obligated to be in
   subjection to the Law of God. Man's mind is not subject, and because of
   its innate depravity "cannot be"; nevertheless, it ought to be. Once
   more: note how in Eph. 2:2 the wicked are said to be "children of
   disobedience"; this is meaningless if they are not under obligation to
   obey the commandments of God. These scriptures, then, are sufficient to
   establish the fact that Gentiles, as well as Jews, are "under the Law".

   Returning now to Rom. 2:12, 13. The simple meaning of these verses is
   that, the Gentiles never had given to them the two tablets of stone on
   which the Ten Commandments were inscribed, nor were they in possession
   of the Scriptures, wherein those Commandments were recorded. But it
   should be carefully noted that Rom. 2:5 goes on to state these very
   Gentiles "show the work of the Law written on their hearts". On these
   verses Prof. Stifler has well said, "The argument (of v.14) lies in
   this, that Gentiles have what is tantamount to the moral Law". The fact
   that the Gentiles are "a law unto themselves" shows that God gave them
   the equivalent of what He gave the Jews, namely, a standard of right
   and wrong. In the case of the former, it was "written in their hearts",
   in the case of the latter, it was written on tables of stone, and
   afterwards in the Scriptures. "From this it is clear that the moral Law
   given to Israel by Moses was but a transcript, or compendium, of the
   Law which God, in the creation, had stamped upon the moral nature of
   man...The moral Law, therefore, was not altogether new in the time of
   the exodus; nor was it something exclusively for Israel, but was a gift
   for the whole race, and therefore, must be of perpetual validity" (Mr.
   Wm. Mead).

   2. "For ye are not under the Law, but under grace" (Rom. 6:14). This is
   the favorite verse with those who take the position that the Law has no
   relation to believers of this dispensation. "Not under the Law" is
   explicit, and seems final. What, then, have we to say concerning it?
   This: that like every other verse in the Bible, it must not be divorced
   from its setting, but is to be studied and faithfully interpreted in
   the light of its context. What, then, is the context about? First, what
   is the remote context concerned with? Second, what is the theme of the
   immediate context? By the remote context we mean, the Epistle as a
   whole. This is always the first thing to be weighed in connection with
   the exposition of any passage. Failure here is responsible for the
   great majority of misinterpretations and erroneous applications of
   Scripture. It should be carefully noted that the words "Ye are not
   under the Law" but "under grace" are found not in Hebrews, but in
   Romans. This, of itself, should warn us that "not under Law" needs to
   be understood in a modified sense. If it were true that the Law has
   been abrogated, then the Epistle to the Hebrews would be the one place
   of all others where we should expect to find this taught. The theme of
   Hebrews is, The superiority of Christianity over Judaism. [5] In the
   expansion of this theme the apostle, again and again, shows how the
   prominent things in Judaism are not obsolete--see chapter 7 for the
   changing of the priesthood, from the Aaronic to the Melchizedek order;
   chapters 8 and 9 for the substitution of the new covenant for the old,
   etc. And yet, not a word is said in it that the Law is now supplanted
   by grace.

   "Not under the Law, but under grace" is found in Romans, the great
   theme of which is, The righteousness of God: man's need of God's
   righteousness, how it becomes the believer's, what are the legal
   consequences of this, and the effect it should have on our conduct. The
   prominent feature of the first eight chapters of Romans is that they
   treat of the judicial side of Gospel truth, rather than with the
   experimental and practical. Romans 5 and 6, especially, treat of
   justification and its consequences. In the light of this fact it is not
   difficult to discover the meaning of 6:14. "Ye are not under the Law,
   but under grace" signifies, Ye are under a system of gratuitous
   justification. "The whole previous argument explains this sentence. He
   refers to our acceptance. He goes back to the justification of the
   guilty, without the deeds of the Law', the act of free grace; and
   briefly re-states it thus, that he may take up afresh the position that
   this glorious liberation means not license, but Divine order" (Bishop
   Moule - 1893).

   "Ye are not under the Law but under grace". The contrast is not between
   the Law of Moses and the gospel of Christ, as two economies or
   dispensations, rather is it a contrast between Law and grace as the
   principles of two methods of justification, the one false, the other
   true; the one of human devising, the other of Divine provision. "Under
   Law" means, ruled by Law as a covenant of "works" (Dr.
   Griffith-Thomas). "Law" and "grace" here are parallel with "the Law of
   works" and "the Law of faith" in 3:27! Rom. 6:14 was just as true of
   the Old Testament saints as of New Testament believers. Caleb, Joshua,
   David, Elijah, Daniel were no more "under Law" in the sense that these
   words bear in Rom. 6:14, than Christians are today. Instead, they were
   "under grace" in the matter of their justification, just as truly as we
   are.

   "Not under the Law" does not mean, Not under obligation to obey the
   precepts of the moral Law; but signifies, Not keeping the Law in order
   to be saved. The apostle asserts in this verse that Christians are not
   under the Law, as an actual, effectual adequate means of justification
   or sanctification, and if they are so, their case is utterly hopeless;
   for ruin must inevitably ensue. That this is all that he means is
   apparent from the sequel of his remarks (6:15-8:39). What can be
   plainer, than that the moral Law as precept' is altogether approved and
   recognized by him. See chapter 7:12-14. Nay, so far is the apostle from
   pleading for oblivion or repeal of moral precepts, that he asserts
   directly (8:3, 4) that the Gospel is designed to secure obedience to
   these moral precepts; which the Law was unable to do. It is, then, from
   the Law viewed in this light, and this only, namely, as inadequate to
   effect the justification and secure the obedience of sinners, that the
   apostle declares us to be free.

   "Let no one, then, abuse this declaration by imagining that it in
   anywise affords ground to believe that Christians are freed from
   obligation to obey the precepts of the moral Law. What is the Divine
   Law but a transcript of the Divine will? And are not Christians to be
   conformed to this? Is not all the Law summed up in these two
   declarations: Thou shalt love the Lord with all thine heart; and thy
   neighbour as thyself'! And are Christians absolved from loving God and
   their neighbour? If not, then this part of the subject stands
   unembarrassed by anything which the apostle has said in our text or
   context" (Prof. Moses Stuart).

   The force of Rom. 6:14 becomes more apparent if we observe what follows
   it. In the very next verse we read, "What then? Shall we sin, because
   we are not under the Law, but under grace? God forbid". This
   anticipates an objection: If we are not under the Law as the ground of
   our justification, then are we to be lawless? The inspired answer is,
   God forbid. Nothing is more self-evidently certain then, that if the
   moral Law is not a rule of life to believers, they are at liberty to
   disregard its precepts. But the apostle rejects this error with the
   utmost abhorrence. We quote here a part of Calvin's comments on Rom.
   6:15: "But we are much deceived if we think, that the righteousness
   which God approves of in His Law is abolished, when the Law is
   abrogated; for the abrogation is by no means to be applied to the
   precepts which teach the right way of living, as Christ confirms and
   sanctions these, and does not abrogate them; but the right view is,
   that nothing is taken away but the curse, to which men without grace
   are subject".

   In what follows, to the end of this chapter, the apostle shows that
   though the believer is "not under Law" as the ground of his
   justification, nevertheless, he is under the Law as a rule of his
   Christian life, that is, he is under obligations to obey its moral
   precepts. In v. 18 (which contains the positive answer to the question
   asked in v. 15) the apostle declares, "being then made free from sin,
   ye became the servants (bond-slaves) of righteousness". Again in v. 22
   he says, "But now being made free from sin, and become servants of God,
   ye have your fruit unto holiness". Observe carefully, it is not here
   said "servants of Christ", nor "servants of the Father", which would
   bring in quite another thought, but "servants of God", which enforces
   the believer's responsibility to the Law-giver. That this is the
   meaning of Rom 6:18 and 22 is clear from 7:25, where the apostle says,
   "So then with the mind I myself serve THE LAW OF GOD".

   3. "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the Law...Now we
   are delivered from the Law" (Rom. 7:4, 6). These statements really call
   for a full exposition of Rom. 7:1-6. but it would occupy too much space
   to give that here. Perhaps we can arrive at the meaning of these two
   verses by a shorter route. They occur in a section of the Epistle which
   treats of the results of Divine righteousness being imputed to the
   believer. Chapter 4 deals with the imputation of this righteousness;
   chapters 5 to 8 give the results. The results (summarized) are as
   follows: 5:1-11 Justification and Reconciliation; 5:12-6:23
   Identification with Christ, the last Adam; 7:1-25 Emancipation from the
   Curse of the Law; 8:1-39 Preservation through time and eternity. Thus
   it will be seen that these chapters deal mainly with the Divine rather
   than the human side of things. "Dead to the Law" in 7:4 is parallel
   with "dead to sin" in 6:2: parallel in this sense, that it is objective
   "death" not subjective; the judicial and not the practical aspect of
   truth which is in view. Observe it is said, we "become dead to the Law
   by the body of Christ", not by a Divine repeal of the Law. In other
   words, we died to the Law vicariously, in the person of our blessed
   Substitute. So, too, we are "delivered from the Law", or as the R. V.
   more accurately puts it "We have been discharged from the Law", because
   we have "died to that wherein we were held". In Christ we "died" to the
   judicial threatenings and ceremonial requirements of the Law.

   "Dead to the Law". "By the term the Law, in this place, is intended
   that Law which is obligatory on both Jews and Gentiles. It is the Law,
   the work of which is written in the hearts of all men; and that Law
   which was given to the Jews in which they rested, 2:17. It is the Law
   taken in the largest extent of the word, including the whole will of
   God in any way manifested to all mankind, whether Jew of Gentile. All
   those whom the apostle is addressing, had been under this Law in their
   unconverted state...To the moral Law exclusively here and throughout
   the rest of the chapter, the apostle refers...Dead to the Law means
   freedom from the power of the Law, as having endured its penalty, and
   satisfied its demands. It has ceased to have a claim on the obedience
   of believers in order to life (better, on believers it has ceased to
   pronounce its curse--A.W.P.), although it still remains their rule of
   duty" (Robert Haldane). On the words, "Now we are delivered from the
   Law", Mr. Haldane says: "Christ hath fulfilled the Law, and suffered
   its penalty for them, and they in consequence are free from its demands
   for the purpose of obtaining life, or that, on account of the breach of
   it, the purpose of obtaining life, or that, on account of the breath of
   it, they should suffer death".

   One further word needs to be said on Rom. 7:4-6. Some insist that the
   whole passage treats only of Jewish believers. But this is certainly a
   mistake. When Paul says in v.1 "I speak to them that know Law"--there
   is no article in the Greek--he reasons on the basis that his readers
   were fully cognizant of the principle that "the Law hath dominion over
   a man so long as he liveth". If Paul was here confining his address to
   Jewish believers, he had said, "I speak to those among you who know the
   Law". When he says "Know ye not, brethren" (v. 1) and "Wherefore, my
   brethren" (v. 4) he is addressing his brethren in Christ as the Jews,
   his brethren by nature, he is careful to so intimate, "My brethren, my
   kinsmen according to the flesh" (9:3)! Finally, it should be carefully
   noted how the apostle uses the pronouns "ye" and "we" interchangeably
   in vv.4 and 5. The emphatic "ye also" in v.4 seems specifically
   designed to show that his illustration in the previous verses, with its
   obvious suggestion of Israel's history, was strictly applicable to all
   Christians.

   "The deliverance from Law in Galatians is that which leads to the son
   ship of all saints, while the deliverance in Romans leads to the union
   of all saints with Christ. But in both they are viewed as all alike
   having been in bondage under Law, and all alike delivered from it. For
   indeed it is the design of the Holy Spirit ever to lead the saints of
   all ages to regard themselves as delivered from a common guilt,
   redeemed from a common curse--the curse of the Law'--rescued from a
   common doom; and all this as the result of the curse being fulfilled in
   the death of Him in whom they all alike died" (Charles Campbell).


   4. "For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one
   that believeth" (Rom. 10:4). Frequently, only the first half of this
   verse is quoted, "Christ is the end of the Law". But this is not all
   that is said here. Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness, that
   is, before God. The context unequivocally settles the scope and
   significance of this expression. Paul had just affirmed that Israel,
   who was ignorant of God's righteousness, had gone about "to establish
   their own righteousness". Once more it isjustification which is in
   view, and not the walk of a believer. Says Dr. Thos. Chalmers: "There
   is one obvious sense in which Christ is the end of the Law, and that is
   when the Law is viewed as a schoolmaster brings us to the conclusion,
   as to its last lesson, that Christ is our only refuge, our only
   righteousness". So also Dr. G. Thomas: "With Christ before us legal
   righteousness is necessarily at an end, and in not submitting to
   Christ, the Jews were refusing to submit to the God who gave them the
   Law".

   5. Another passage frequently appealed to by those who insist on the
   total abrogation of the Law is 2 Cor. 3. Such expressions as "That
   which is done away" (v. 11), and "that which is abolished" (v. 13) are
   regarded as alluding to the Ten Commandments "written and engraven in
   stones" (v. 7). That this is a mistake, is easily proven. For in Rom.
   13:9 and Eph. 6:2 several of the Ten Commandments are quoted and
   enforced. This is quite sufficient to prove that the moral Law is not
   "done away". And such scriptures as Isa. 2:2, 3; Jer. 31:33, etc., make
   it plain that the Law is not "abolished".

   In 2 Cor. 3 (and again and again throughout the Epistle) Paul is
   contending against false "apostles" (note 2:17 and see further 6:1;
   11:3, 4, 13, 22) who, preaching the Law to the exclusion of Christ,
   were seducing the people of God from the blessings of the new covenant.
   Consequently, the apostle is not here treating of the Law as the moral
   standard of conduct for believers, but as that which condemns sinners.
   The inspired penman is pointing out the folly of turning back to the
   Law as the ground of acceptance before God--which was what the false
   apostles insisted on. The method he follows is to draw a series of
   contrasts between the old covenant and the new, showing the
   immeasurable superiority of the latter over the former. He shows that
   apart from Christ, the old covenant was but a ministration of
   condemnation and death; that just as the body without the spirit is
   dead, so the Law without Christ was but a lifeless "letter". 2 Cor. 3,
   then contrasts Christianity with Judaism. That which has been "done
   away" is the old covenant; that which is "abolished" (for the
   Christian) is the ceremonial law.

   6. In the Galatian Epistle there are quite a number of verses which are
   used by those who affirm the Law has no relation to believers
   today--e.g. 2:19; 3:13; 3:23-25; 4:5; 5:18. Now it is impossible to
   understand these verses unless we first see what is the theme and
   character of the Epistle in which they are found. The theme of
   Galatians is the Believer's Emancipation from the Law. The special
   character of the Epistle is that it was written to confirm the faith of
   Christians, who had been troubled and shaken by Judaisers. But a
   careful reading of the Epistle should show the Emancipation here viewed
   is not from the Law as the standard of moral conduct, but from the
   curse or penalty of the Law; and the particular heresy of the Judaisers
   was not that they pressed the Ten Commandments upon the saints as a
   rule of life, but that they insisted the works of the Law must be
   fulfilled before a sinner could be saved. (See Acts 15:1). "The trouble
   at Galatia was legalism and ritualism. Speaking strictly the two are
   one; for the attempt to secure Divine favor through law observance
   leads inevitably to ritualism in its worst form. That the Galatians
   were going over to the ground of law for acceptance with God is evident
   from the whole tenor of the Epistle" (Prof. W. G. Morehead on
   "Galatians"). "The object of the Epistle to the Galatians was to
   restore among them the pure Gospel which they had received, but which
   they had so mingled with human works and ceremonies and a notion of
   their own free will and merits, as to have well-nigh lost it" ("Grace
   in Galatians" by Dr. George S. Bishop).

   The central issue raised in Galatians is not what is the standard of
   conduct for the believer's life, but what is the ground of a sinner's
   salvation. In proof of this assertion note carefully that in Gal. 1:7
   Paul expressly says the Judaisistic troublers were they who "would
   pervert the Gospel of Christ". Again, "That no man is justified by the
   Law in the sight of God is evident", etc. (3:11), shows the trend of
   the argument. Again; "For I testify again to every man that is
   circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole Law" (5:3 and cf 6:15)
   indicates wherein the Judaisers erred. So, "Christ is become of no
   effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the Law; ye are
   fallen from grace" (Gal. 5:4) evidences the subject of the Epistle. To
   "fall from grace" means not for a Christian to obey the Ten
   Commandments, but to do the works of the Law (moral and ceremonial) in
   order to be justified. The Law and the Gospel are irreconcilable. Every
   attempt to combine them strikes equally at the majesty of the Law and
   the grace of the Gospel.

   On Gal. 3:25 Dr. George Bishop has this to say: "We are no longer under
   a schoolmaster' i.e., for discipline, for penalty. It does not mean for
   precept. It does not mean that the Ten Commandments are abolished. It
   simply says, You are not saved by keeping the Commandments, nor are you
   lost if you fail. It is Christ who has saved you, and you cannot be
   lost. Now you will obey from the instinct of the new nature and from
   gratitude, for these are holiness'. On 5:13, 14 he says, By love serve
   one another'. Here the Law is brought in as a service. I am among you',
   Saud Hesysm; as One that serveth'--If ye love Me keep My commandments'.
   The New Testament repeats and enforces all the Ten Commandments. They
   were given to be kept, and kept they shall be. Matt. 5:19: For all the
   Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy
   neighbour as thyself'. The Law is fulfilled: the Law was given to be
   fulfilled, not only for us, but in us, who walk not after the flesh but
   after the Spirit. There is danger here of a mistake on either side--for
   if we do not preach faith alone for salvation, no one is saved; but if
   we preach a faith that does not obey, we preach that which nullifies
   the faith which saves us".

   On Gal. 5:18 Dr. John Eadie has this to say: "The Galatians were
   putting themselves in subjection to Law, and ignoring the free
   government of the Spirit. To be led by the Spirit is incompatible with
   being under the Law. So the beginning of Gal. 3. To be under the Law is
   thus to acknowledge its claim and to seek to obey it in hope of
   meriting eternal life". To be led by the Spirit is incompatible with
   being under the Law because the Holy Spirit leads a sinner to trust in
   Christ alone for salvation.

   7. "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,
   which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His
   cross" (Col. 2:14). Here it is assumed that the "handwriting of
   ordinances" refers to the Ten Commandments, and, that "which was
   contrary to us", refers to Christians. Such a distortion is quickly
   discovered once this interpretation is exposed to the light. Observe,
   in the first place, that at the beginning of the previous verse the
   apostle refers to Gentile believers--"And you, being dead in your sins
   and the uncircumcision of your flesh", etc. The "us" of v.14 refers,
   then to Jewish believers. But between the "you" and the "us" is a word
   which supplies the key to what follows, namely, the word "together",
   which here, as in Eph. 2:5, 6, points to the spiritual union of
   believing Gentiles with believing Jews. Believing Jews and gentiles
   were "quickened together". And how could that be? Because they were
   "quickened together with Him". Christ acted vicariously, as the
   Representative of all His people, so that when He died they all died
   (judicially); when He was quickened they all were; when He rose again
   they all rose; not merely one part of them did, but all together. But
   in order for Jew and Gentile to enjoy fellowship, in order for them to
   be brought "together", that which had hitherto separated them must be
   made an end of. And it is this which is in view in Col. 2:14. The
   "handwriting of ordinances was against us", i.e. against the Jews, for
   their Divinely-given Law prohibited them for all religious intercourse
   with the Gentiles. But that which had been against the Jews, was taken
   out of the way, being nailed to the Cross. Nor does this interpretation
   stand unsupported: it is indubitably confirmed by a parallel passage.

   It is well-known among students of the Word that the Epistles of
   Ephesians and Colossians are largely complementary and supplementary;
   and it will frequently be found that the one is absolutely
   indispensable to the interpretation of the other. Now in Eph. 2 there
   is a passage which is strictly parallel with this portion of Col. 2. In
   v. 11 the apostle addresses the Gentile saints, who were of the
   Uncircumcision--note the reference to "uncircumsision" in Col. 2:13.
   Then in v. 12 he reminds them of how in their unconverted state they
   had been "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel", etc. But in v. 13 he
   tells them that they had been "made nigh" by the blood of Christ. The
   result of this is stated in v. 14: "For He is our peace who hath made
   both one" (i.e. both believing Jews and believing Gentiles): the "made
   both one" being parallel with the "quickened together" of Col. 2:13.
   Next the apostle tells how this had been made possible: "And hath
   broken down the middle wall of partition" (that had separated Jew from
   Gentile); which is parallel with "and took it out of the way", etc.
   Then the apostle declares, "having abolished in His flesh the enmity,
   the Law of commandments contained in ordinances", which is parallel
   with "blotting out the handwriting of ordinances"! Thus has God most
   graciously made us entirely independent of all human interpretations of
   Col. 2:13, 14, by interpreting it for us in Eph. 2:11-15. How much we
   lose by failing to compare scripture with scripture.

   8. One other verse we must consider, and that is 1 Tim. 1:9: "Knowing
   this, that the Law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless
   and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinner", etc. The key to this
   is supplied in the immediate context. In vv. 3 and 4 the apostle bids
   Timothy to "charge some that they preach no other doctrine, neither
   give heed to fables and endless genealogies", etc. It is clear that he
   has in mind those who had been infected by Judaisers. In v. 5 the
   apostle tells his son in the faith what was the "end", of "the
   commandments"--i.e. the moral Law, as is clear from what precedes and
   what follows. The design or aim of that Law which is "holy and just and
   good" (Rom. 7:12) was to direct and advance love to God and men; but
   this love ("charity") can spring only "out of a pure heart and a good
   conscience, and faith unfeigned".

   Next, in vv. 6 and 7 the apostle taxes the Judaisers and those affected
   by them, as having "swerved" from love and faith, turning aside to
   "vain jangling", and setting themselves up as teachers of the Law,
   understanding neither what they said nor affirmed. Then, in v. 8, the
   apostle guards against His readers drawing a false inference from what
   he had just said in v. 7, and so he declares "But we know that the Law
   is good, if a man use it lawfully"; thus amplifying what he had
   affirmed in v. 5. Lest they should think that because he had reflected
   upon the Judaisers, he had also disparaged the Law itself, he added
   this safeguard in v. 8. To "use" the Law "lawfully", is to use it as
   God intended it to be used: not as a means of salvation, but as a
   standard of conduct; not as the ground of our justification, but as the
   director of our obedience to God. The Law is used un-lawfully, not when
   presented as the rule of the believer's life, but when it is opposed to
   Christ!

   Finally, in vv. 9 and 10 the apostle contrasts the design of the Law as
   it respected believers and unbelievers: "The Law is not made for a
   righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient", etc. That is to
   say, the Law as an instrument of terror and condemnation, was not made
   for the righteous but for the wicked. "The Law, threatening,
   compelling, condemning, is not made for a righteous man, because he is
   pushed forward to duty of his own accord, and is no more led by the
   spirit of bondage and fear of punishment" (Turretin). "By the Law is to
   be understood, the moral Law, as it is armed with stings and terrors,
   to restrain rebellious sinners. By the righteous man, is meant, one in
   whom a principle of Divine grace is planted, and who, for the knowledge
   and love of God, chooses the things that are pleasing to Him. As the
   Law has annexed so many severe threatenings to the transgression of it,
   it is evidently directed to the wicked, who will only be compelled by
   fear from the outrageous breaking of it" (Poole's Annotations).

   We have now examined every passage of any importance in the New
   Testament which is used by modern Antinomians. And not one of them has
   a word to say against believers in this dispensation using the Law as
   the standard of their moral conduct. In our next article, we shall
   treat of the positive side of the subject, and show that the children
   of God are obligated to obey the Ten Commandments, not as a condition
   of salvation, but as the director of their obedience to God.

   In this article we have departed from our usual custom, in that we have
   quoted from quite a number of the commentators of the past. This has
   been done, not because we desired to buttress our expositions by an
   appeal to human authorities--though the interpretations of godly men of
   the past are not to be scorned and regarded as obsolete, rather should
   they receive the careful examination which they merit, for it was under
   such teaching was produced Christian conduct that puts to unutterable
   shame the laxity of the present-day Christian walk. No, we have
   appealed to the writings of Christian exegetes of the past that it
   might be seen we have not given a forced and novel interpretation of
   those passages which stood in the way of what we deem to be the truth
   on the subject of the relation of the Law to Christians; but instead,
   an interpretation which, though the result of personal study, is in
   full accord with that given by many, who for piety, scholarship,
   spiritual discernment, and knowledge of the Scriptures, few living
   today are worthy to be compared.
   [5] This theme is developed by showing the superiority of Christ--the
   Center and Life of Christianity--over angels. Adam, Moses, Hoshua,
   Aaron, and the whole Levitical economy.

Related articles

Articole in Limba Romana

A W Pink – The Law and the Saint (Part 1)

This is part 1 of 3 from A. W. Pink’s book ‘The Law and the Saint’ which is now in the public domain. In this first part Pink contrasts OT and NT law:
The Old Testament saints and the New Testament
saints are both saved in the same way, and that is, by the grace of
God through Jesus Christ alone.
.
„Of course the people did not keep the law. It only brought sin to
light and proved that righteousness could not come that way, as Paul
points out in the Epistle to the Romans. It made all the more
evident that there was a need for the work of Christ. But Christ
came not to put the law aside and introduce another plan. I came not
to destroy’, He declared, but to fulfill’; not to dissolve the
obligations of the law and release us from them, but to substantiate
the law and make good all that it required. In the Sermon on the
Mount He expounded and expanded the law, in all its depth and
breadth, and in all its searching sweep. This Sermon spoke to His
disciples; it was His law for them. It was not intended for another
age and another people; it set forth the kind of life He expected
His own people to live in the present age.

Arthur and Vera pink July 20, 1928 (via amazon.com)

   
                                Introduction

   It has been said that every unregenerate sinner has the heart of a
   Pharisee. This is true; and it is equally true that every unregenerate
   sinner has the heart of an Antinomian. This is the character which is
   expressly given to the carnal mind: it is "enmity against God"; and the
   proof of this is, that "it is not subject to the law of God, neither
   indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). Should we be surprised, then, if we find the
   underlying principles of Phariseeism and Antinomianism uniting in the
   same mind? Surely not. There is no more real opposition between these
   apparently opposing principles, than there is between enmity and pride.
   Many a slothful servant has hated his master and his service, and yet
   had he pride and presumption enough to demand his wages. Phariseeism
   and Antinomianism unite, like Herod and Pilate did, against the Truth.
.
   The term Antinomian signifies one who is against the Law, hence, when
   we declare that ours is an age of lawlessness, it is only another way
   of saying that it is an age characterized by Antinomianism. There is
   little need for us to pause and offer proof that this is an age of
   lawlessness. In every sphere of life the sad fact confronts us. In the
   well-nigh total absence of any real discipline in the majority of the
   churches, we see the principle exemplified. Not more than two
   generations ago, thousands, tens of thousands, of the loose-living
   members whose names are now retained on the membership rolls, would
   have been dis-fellowshipped. It is the same in the great majority of
   our homes. With comparatively rare exceptions, wives are no longer in
   subjection to their husbands (Eph. 5:22, 24); and as for obeying them
   (1 Pet. 3:1, 2, 5, 6), why, the majority of women demand that such a
   hateful word be stricken from the marriage ceremony. So it is with the
   children--how could it be otherwise? Obedience to parents is almost
   entirely a thing of the past. And what of conditions in the world? The
   abounding marital unfaithfulness, Sunday trading, banditry, lynchings,
   strikes, and a dozen other things that might be mentioned, all bear
   witness to the frightful wave of lawlessness which is flowing over the
   country.
.
   What, we may well inquire, is the cause of the lawlessness which now so
   widely obtains? For every effect there is a cause, and the character of
   the effect usually intimates the nature of the cause. We are assured
   that the present wide-spread contempt for human law is the inevitable
   outgrowth of disrespect for Divine Law. Where there is no fear of God,
   we must not expect there will be much fear of man. And why is it that
   there is so much disrespect for Divine Law? This, in turn, is but the
   effect of an antecedent cause. Nor is this hard to find. Do not the
   utterances of Christian teachers during the last twenty-five years go
   far to explain the situation which now confronts us?
.
   History has repeated itself. Of old, God complained of Ephraim, "I have
   written to him the great things of My Law, but they were counted as a
   strange thing" (Hosea 8:12). Observe how God speaks of His Law: "The
   great things of My Law"! They are not precepts of little moment, but to
   be lightly esteemed, and slighted; but are of great authority,
   importance, and value. But, as then, so during the last few years--they
   have been "counted as a strange thing". Christian teachers have vied
   with each other in denouncing the Law as a "yoke of bondage", "a
   grievous burden", "a remorseless enemy". They have declared in trumpet
   tones that Christians should regard the Law as "a strange thing": that
   it was never designed for them: that it was given to Israel, and then
   made an end of at the Cross of Christ. They have warned God's people to
   have nothing to do with the Ten Commandments. They have denounced as
   "Legalists" Christians of the past, who, like Paul, "served the Law"
   (Rom. 7:25). They have affirmed that Grace rules the Law out of the
   Christian's life as absolutely as it did out of his salvation. They
   have held up to ridicule those who contended for a Christian Sabbath,
   and have classed them with Seventh-Day Adventists. Having sown the
   wind, is it any wonder that we are now reaping the whirlwind?
.
   The characters of the cause determinates the character of the effect.
   Whatsoever a man sowth that (the same in kind) shall he also reap. Unto
   them who of old regarded the great things of God's Law as a strange
   thing, God declared, "Because Ephraim hath made many alters to sin,
   alters shall be unto him to sin" (Hosea 8:11). And because many of our
   Christian leaders have publicly repudiated Divine Law, God has visited
   us with a wave of lawlessness in our churches, homes, and social life.
   "Be not deceived; God is not mocked"!! Nor have we any hope of stemming
   the onrushing tide, or of causing Christian leaders to change their
   position. Having committed themselves publicly, the examples of past
   history warn us that pride will keep them from making the humbling
   confession that they have erred. But we have a hope that some who have
   been under the influence of twentieth century Antinomianism will have
   sufficient spiritual discernment to recognize the truth when it is
   presented to their notice; and it is for them we now write.
   In the January 1923 issue of a contemporary, appeared the second
   article from the pen of Dr. McNichol, Principal of Toronto Bible
   School, under the caption of "Overcoming the Dispensations". The
   purpose of these articles is to warn God's children against the perils
   which lie "in the way of much of the positive pre-millennial teaching
   of the day". Quoting, Dr. McNicol says:
.
     "1. There is danger when the Law is set against Grace. No scheme of
     prophetic interpretation can be safe which is obliged to represent
     the dispensations of Law and Grace as opposing systems, each
     excluding the other and contrary to it. If this were the case, it
     would mean that God had taken opposing and contradictory attitudes
     towards men in these two different ages. In the last analysis this
     representation of the relation of law and grace affects the
     character of God, as everything which perverts the Scriptures,
     disturbing thereby the mirror of His mind, ultimately does.
.
     "So far from being opposing systems, law and grace as revealed in
     Scripture are parts of one harmonious and progressive plan. The
     present dispensation is spoken of as the age of grace, not because
     grace belongs to it exclusively, but because in it grace has been
     fully manifested. When John declared that the law was given by
     Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ', he was contrasting
     law and grace, not as two contrary and irreconcilable systems, but
     as two related parts of one system. The law was the shadow, Christ
     was the substance. The law was the pattern, Christ was the reality.
     The grace which had been behind the law came to light through Jesus
     Christ so that it could be realized. As a matter of fact, grace had
     been in operation from the beginning. It began in Eden with the
     first promise of redemption immediately after the fall. All
     redemption is of grace; there can be no salvation without it, and
     even the law itself proceeds on the basis of grace.
.
     "The law was given to Israel not that they might be redeemed, but
     because they had been redeemed. The nation had been brought out of
     Egypt by the power of God under the blood of the slain lamb, itself
     the symbol and token of His grace. The law was added at Sinai as the
     necessary standard of life for a ransomed people, a people who now
     belonged to the Lord. It began with a declaration of their
     redemption; I am the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land
     of Egypt, out of the house of bondage' (Ex. 20:2). It rested on the
     basis of grace, and it embodied the principle that redemption
     implied a conformity to God's moral order. In other words, the very
     grace that redeemed Israel carried with it the necessity of
     revealing the law to Israel. The law was given that they might walk
     worthy of the relation in which they now stood to God, worthy of a
     salvation which was already theirs. The covenant of the law did not
     supersede the covenant of promise, but set forth the kind of life
     which those who were redeemed by the covenant of promise were
     expected to live.
.
     "The law was not a covenant of works in the sense that Israel's
     salvation depended upon obedience to it. The devout Israelite was
     saved by faith in the promise of God, which was now embodied in the
     tabernacle services. He looked forward through the sacrifices to a
     salvation which they foreshadowed, and by faith accepted it, as we
     look back to the Cross and by faith accept the salvation which has
     been accomplished. The Old Testament saints and the New Testament
     saints are both saved in the same way, and that is, by the grace of
     God through Jesus Christ alone.
.
     "Of course the people did not keep the law. It only brought sin to
     light and proved that righteousness could not come that way, as Paul
     points out in the Epistle to the Romans. It made all the more
     evident that there was a need for the work of Christ. But Christ
     came not to put the law aside and introduce another plan. I came not
     to destroy', He declared, but to fulfill'; not to dissolve the
     obligations of the law and release us from them, but to substantiate
     the law and make good all that it required. In the Sermon on the
     Mount He expounded and expanded the law, in all its depth and
     breadth, and in all its searching sweep. This Sermon spoke to His
     disciples; it was His law for them. It was not intended for another
     age and another people; it set forth the kind of life He expected
     His own people to live in the present age.
                                     Photo - Tissot's Sermon on the Mount
.
     "Of course we cannot fulfill the law of the Sermon on the Mount                                    
     as an outward standard of life. Our Lord did not leave it at 
     that. He was Himself going to make it possible for His 
     disciples to fulfill it, but He could not yet tell them how.      When He died and rose again and ascended into heaven, and His 
     Holy Spirit--the same Spirit which had fulfilled and                
     exemplified that law completely in His own life--came flowing 
     back into the lives of His disciples, then they
     had to keep it. The law was written on their hearts. Their 
     lives were conformed to the law, not by slavish obedience to an     
     outward standard, but by the free constraint of an inward 
     spirit. The ordinance of the law was fulfilled in them when 
     they walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.
.
     "It is this very feature of grace which seems to make it an entirely
     different and separate system from the law, for it did not exist in
     the Old Testament dispensation. It could not be realized before the
     redemptive work of Christ was done and the Holy Spirit came. The
     Israelites occupied a different position toward the law from that
     occupied by the Christian now. The law demanded an obedience which
     the natural heart could not give. In its practical working,
     therefore, the law necessarily came to stand over man as a creditor,
     with claims of justice which had not been satisfied. These claims
     Christ met on the Cross and put out of the way. More than that, by
     virtue of our union with Him in His death and resurrection, He has
     brought us out of the sphere where the law as an outward authority
     demands obedience of the natural man, into the sphere where the law
     is written upon the heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. He has
     created us a new man' whose nature it is to fulfill the law by an
     inward power and principle. This is what Paul meant when he said, I
     through the law died unto the law that I might live unto God' (Gal.
     2:19), and when he wrote to the Romans, Sin shall not have dominion
     over you, for ye are not under the law but under grace' (6:14).
.
     "This new revelation to the law has been created by the grace of God
     through the work of Jesus Christ. But the law still remains. It is
     the reflex of His own character and the revelation of His moral
     order. He cannot set it aside, for then He would deny Himself. The
     wonder and glory of grace consists in this, that it came in, not to
     oppose the law and substitute another plan, but to meet and satisfy
     all its claims and provide a way of fulfilling all its obligations.
     It has pleased the Lord by His grace to magnify the law and make it
     honorable."
.
   With the above remarks we are in hearty accord. [1] It is a superficial
   and erroneous conclusion that supposes the Old and New Testaments are
   antagonistic. The Old Testament is full of grace: the New Testament if
   full of Law. The revelation of the New Testament to the Old is like
   that of the oak tree to the acorn. It has been often said, and said
   truly, "The New is in the Old contained, the Old is by the New
   explained"! And surely this must be so. The Bible as a whole, and in
   its parts, is not merely for Israel or the Church, but is a written
   revelation from God to and for the whole human race. It is indeed sad
   to see how little this elementary truth is grasped today and what
   confusion prevails.
.
   Even the late Mr. F. W. Grant in his notes on Exodus 19 and 20 was so
   inconsistent with himself as to say, First, "It is plain that
   redemption, as bringing the soul to God, sets up His throne within it,
   and obedience is the only liberty. It is plain too, that there is a
   righteousness of the law' which the law itself gives no power to
   fulfill, but which is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but
   after the spirit' (Rom. 8:4). What is merely dispensational passes, but
   not that which is the expression of God's character and required by it.
   Nothing of that can pass ... grace still must affirm this, therefore,
   not set it (obedience) aside; but it does what law does not--it
   provides for the accomplishment of the condition. First of all, the
   obedience of Another, who owed none, has glorified God infinitely with
   regard to those who owed but did not pay. Secondly,--for this even
   could not release (nor could there be blessing in release) from the
   personal obligation,--grace apprehended in the heart brings back the
   heart to God, and the heart brought back in love serves of necessity"
   (italics ours).
.
   With the above quoted words from The Numerical Bible we are in entire
   accord, and only wish they might be echoed by Mr. Grant's followers.
   But second, and most inconsistently, and erroneously, Mr. Grant says:
   "In the wisdom of God, that same law, whose principle was do and live',
   could yet be the type of the obedience of faith in those who are
   subjects of a spiritual redemption, the principle of which is live and
   do'. Let us remember, however, that law in itself retains none the less
   its character as opposed to grace, and that as a type it does not
   represent law any longer: we are not, as Christians in any sense under
   the law, but under grace" (italics his). This is a mistake, the more
   serious because made by one whose writings now constitute in certain
   circles the test of orthodoxy in the interpreting of God's Word.
.
   What has been said above reveals the need for a serious and careful
   examination of the teaching of Holy Scripture concerning the Law. But
   to what do we refer when we speak of "The Law"? This is a term which
   needs to be carefully defined. In the New Testament there are three
   expressions used, concerning which there has been not a little
   confusion. First, there is "the Law of God" (Rom. 7:22, 25, etc.).
   Second, there is "the Law of Moses" (John 7:23; Acts 13:39, 15:5,
   etc.). Third, there is "the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). Now these three
   expressions are by no means synonymous, and it is not until we learn to
   distinguish between them, that we can hope to arrive at any clear
   understanding of our subject.
.
   The "Law of God" expresses the mind of the Creator, and is binding upon
   all rational creatures. It is God's unchanging moral standard for
   regulating the conduct of all men. In some places "the Law of God" may
   refer to the whole revealed will of God, but in the majority it has
   reference to the Ten Commandments; and it is in this restricted sense
   we use the term. This Law was impressed on man's moral nature from the
   beginning, and though now fallen, he still shows the work of it written
   in his heart. This law has never been repealed, and in the very nature
   of things, cannot be. For God to abrogate the moral Law would be to
   plunge the whole universe into anarchy. Obedience to the Law of God is
   man's first duty. That is why the first complaint that Jehovah made
   against Israel after they left Egypt was, "How long refuse ye to keep
   My commandments and My laws" (Ex. 16:27). That is why the first
   statutes God gave to Israel were the Ten Commandments, i.e. the moral
   Law. That is why in the first discourse of Christ recorded in the New
   Testament He declared, "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or
   the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matt 5:17),
   and then proceeded to expound and enforce the moral Law. And that is
   why in the first of the Epistles, the Holy Spirit has taught us at
   length the relation of the Law to sinners and saints, in connection
   with salvation and the subsequent walk of the saved: the word "law"
   occurs in Romans no less than seventy-five times, though, of course,
   not every reference is to the Law of God. And that is why sinners (Rom.
   3:19) and saints (Jas. 2:12) shall be judged by this Law.
.
   The "Law of Moses" is the entire system of legislation, judicial and
   ceremonial, which Jehovah gave to Israel during the time they were in
   the wilderness. The Law of Moses, as such, is binding upon none but
   Israelites. This Law has not been repealed. That the Law of Moses is
   not binding on Gentiles is clear from Acts 15.
.
   The "Law of Christ" is God's moral Law, but in the hands of the
   Mediator. It is the Law which Christ Himself was "made under" (Gal.
   4:4). It is the Law which was "in His heart" (Psa. 40:8). It is the Law
   which He came to "fulfill" (Matt. 5:17). The "Law of God" is now termed
   "the Law of Christ" as it relates to Christians. As creatures we are
   under bonds to "serve the Law of God" (Rom. 7:25). As redeemed sinners
   we are " the bondslaves of Christ" (Eph. 6:6), and as such we are under
   bonds to "serve the Lord Christ" (Col. 3:24). The relation between
   these two appellations, "the law of God" and "the Law of Christ" is
   clearly intimated in 1 Cor. 9:21, where the apostle states, that "he
   was not without Law to God," for he was "under the Law of Christ". The
   meaning of this is very simple. As a human creature, the apostle was
   still under obligation to obey the moral Law of God his Creator; but as
   a saved man he now belonged to Christ, the Mediator, by redemption.
   Christ had purchased him: he was His, therefore, he was "under the Law
   of Christ". The "Law of Christ", then, is just the moral Law of God now
   in the hands of the Mediator and Redeemer--cf Ex. 34:1 and what
   follows!
.
   Should any object against our definition of the distinction drawn
   between God's moral Law and "the Law of Moses" we request them to
   attend closely to what follows. God took special pains to show us the
   clear line of demarcation which He has Himself drawn between the two.
   The moral Law became incorporated in the Mosaic Law, [2] yet was it
   sharply distinguished from it. The proof of this is as follows: -
.
   In the first place, let the reader note carefully the words with which
   Ex. 20 opens: "And God spake all these words." Observe it is not "The
   Lord spake all these words", but "God spake". This is the more
   noticeable because in the very next verse He says, "I am the Lord thy
   God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt", etc. Now the
   Divine titles are not used loosely, nor are they employed alternately
   for the purpose of variation. Each one possesses a definite and
   distinct signification. "God" is the creatorial title (see Gen. 1:1).
   "Lord" is God in covenant relationship, that is why it is "Lord God"
   all through Gen. 2. In Gen. 1 it is God in connection with His
   creatures. In Gen. 2 it is the Lord God in connection with Adam, with
   whom He had entered into a covenant--see Hos. 6:7, margin. The fact,
   then, that Ex. 20 opens with "And God spake all these words", etc.
   prove conclusively that the Ten Commandments were not and are not
   designed solely for Israel (the covenant people), but for all mankind.
   The use of the title "God" in Ex. 20:1 is the more forceful because in
   vv. 2, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12 "the Lord" is named, and named there because
   Israel is being addressed.
.
   In the second place, the Ten Commandments, and they alone, of all the
   laws Jehovah gave to Israel, were promulgated by the finger of God,
   amid the most solemn manifestations and tokens of the Divine presence
   and majesty.
.
   In the third place, the Ten Commandments, and they alone, of all
   Jehovah's statutes to Israel, were written directly by the finger of
   God, written upon tables of stone; and written thus to denote their
   lasting and imperishable nature.
.
   In the fourth place, the Ten Commandments were further distinguished
   from all those laws which had merely a local application to Israel, by
   the fact that they alone were laid up in the ark. A tabernacle was
   prepared by the special direction of God, and within it an ark was
   placed, in which the two tables of the Law were deposited. The ark,
   formed of the most durable wood, was overlaid with gold, within and
   without. Over it was placed the mercy-seat, which became the throne of
   Jehovah in the midst of His people. Not until the tabernacle had been
   erected, and the Law placed in the ark, did Jehovah take up His abode
   in Israel's midst. Thus did the Lord signify to Israel that the moral
   Law was the basis of all His governmental dealings with them.                                                  
   Thus it is clear beyond any room for doubt that the Ten Commandments,
   the moral Law of God, were sharply distinguished from "the Law of
   Moses." The "Law of Moses," excepting the moral Law incorporated
   therein, was binding on none but Israelites, or Gentile proselytes. But
   the moral Law of God, unlike the Mosaic, is binding on all men. Once
   this distinction is perceived, many minor difficulties are cleared up.
   For example: someone says, If we are to keep the Sabbath day holy, as
   Israel did, why must we not observe the other Sabbaths--the Sabbatic
   year, for instance? The answer is, Because the moral Law alone is
   binding on Gentiles and Christians. Why, it may be asked, does not the
   death penalty attached to the desecration of the Sabbath day (Ex.
   31:14, etc.) still obtain? The answer is, Because though that was a
   part of the Mosaic Law, it was not a part of the moral Law of God, i.e.
   it was not inscribed on the tables of stone; therefore it concerned
   none but Israelites.

Articole in Limba Romana

 

A W Pink – Christian Fools – Preached in Sydney, Australia 1927

“Then He said unto them, O fools and slow of heart
to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”
Luke 24:25

Those of you who read the religious announcements in the newspapers of yesterday would see the subject for my sermon this evening is “Christian Fools.” Possibly some of you thought there was a printer’s error and that what I really meant to announce was “Professing Christian fools.” The paper gave it quite correctly. My subject tonight is “Christian Fools.” Probably some of you think that this is a most unsuitable title for a servant of God to give to his sermon, and yet I make no apology whatever for it. It fits exactly my subject for tonight: it expresses accurately what I am going to speak about: and—“what is far more to the point—it epitomizes our text: “Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

Those words were spoken by Christ on the day of His resurrection: spoken not to worldlings but to Christians. That which occasioned them was this. The disciples to whom He was speaking were lopsided in their theology: they believed a certain part of God’s truth and they refused to believe another part of the truth that did not suit them; they believed some Scriptures but they did not believe all that the prophets had spoken, and the reason they did not was because they were unable to harmonize the two different parts of God’s truth. They were like some people today: when it comes to their theology; they walk by reason and by logic rather than by faith.

In the Old Testament there were many prophecies concerning the coming Messiah that spoke of His glory. If there was one thing the Old Testament prediction made plain, it was that the Messiah of Israel should be glorious. It spoke of His power, His honor, His majesty, His dominion, His triumphs. But on the other hand, there were many prophecies in the Old Testament that spoke of a suffering Messiah, that portrayed His humiliation, His degradation, His rejection, His death at the hands of wicked men. And these disciples of Christ believed the former set of prophecies, but they would not believe in the second: they could not see how it was possible to harmonize the two. If the coming Messiah was to be a glorious Messiah, possessing power and majesty and dominion: if He would be triumphant, then how could He, at the same time, be a suffering Messiah, despised, humiliated, rejected of men? And because the disciples could not fit the two together, because they were unable to harmonize them, they refused to believe both, and Christ told them to their faces that they were fools. He says, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

I suppose some of us have wondered how it was possible for these disciples, these followers of Christ, who had been privileged to be with Him during His public ministry and those who had been so intimate with Him, had been instructed by Him, had witnessed His wonderful miracles; how it was possible for such men to err so grievously and to act so foolishly. And yet we need not be surprised; the same thing is happening all around us today. Christendom tonight is full of men and women who believe portions of God’s truth, but who do not believe all that the prophets have spoken. In other words, my friends, Christendom tonight is full of men and women that the Son of God says are “fools” because of their slowness of heart to believe.

Now very likely, the sermon tonight will make some of my hearers angry: probably they are the ones who most need the rebuke of the text. When a servant of God wields the sword of the Spirit, if he does his work faithfully and effectively, then some of his hearers are bound to get cut and wounded: and, my friends, that is always God’s way. God always wounds before He heals.  And I want to remind you at the outset that this text is no invention of mine.  These are the words of One who never wounded unnecessarily, but they are also the words of the True and Faithful Witness who never hesitated to preach the whole truth of God, whether men would receive it or whether they would reject it. I know it is not a pleasant thing to be called a fool, especially if we have a high regard for ourselves and rate our own wisdom and orthodoxy very highly—it wounds our pride. But we need to be wounded, all of us. We need to be humbled; we need to be rebuked; we need to have that word from the lips of Christ which is as a two-edged sword.

the Gospel of Matthew

Now  notice, dear friends, that Christ did not upbraid these disciples because they did not understand, but because of their lack of faith. The trouble with them was they reasoned too much. Very likely they prided themselves on their logical minds and said, Well, surely we are not asked to believe impossibilities and absurdities: both of these cannot be true; one is true and the other cannot be. Either the Messiah of Israel is going to be a glorious and a triumphant Messiah, or else He is going to be a rejected and a humiliated one: they cannot both be true. That is why Christ said to them—not because of their failure to understand, but because of their lack of faith—“O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

I am afraid that today there are many who only believe what they can understand, and if there is something else that they cannot understand, they do not believe it. If they have devised to themselves a systematized theology (or more probably they have adopted someone else’s system of theology), and they hear a sermon (no matter how much Scripture there may be in it) which they cannot fit into their little system of theology, they won’t have it. They place a higher value on consistency than they do on fidelity. That is just what was the matter with these disciples: they could not see the consistency of the two things and therefore they were only prepared to believe the one.

The same thing, my friends, is true today with many preachers. There are multitudes of preachers in Australia tonight whose theology is narrower than the teaching of this Book. Then away to the winds with theology! —I mean human systems of theology which are narrower than Scripture. For example, there are men today who read God’s Word, and they see that the gospel is to be preached to every creature, and that God commands all who hear that gospel to believe in Christ; then they come across some texts on election, predestination:—“Many are called but few are chosen,” and they say, Well, I cannot harmonize this, I cannot see how it is possible to preach, unhampered, a gospel to every creature, and yet for election to be true. And because they cannot harmonize the two things, they neither believe the two nor will they preach both. They cannot harmonize election with a gospel that is to be preached to every creature, and so the Arminians preach the gospel but they leave out election.

Yes, but there are many Calvinists who equally come under the rebuke of our text. They believe in the sovereignty of God, but they refuse to believe in the responsibility of man. I read a book by a hyper-Calvinist only a few weeks ago, by a man whose shoe-latchet the present speaker in many things is not fit to stoop down and unloose—a man of God, a faithful servant of His, one from whom I have learned not a little—and yet he had the effrontery to say, that responsibility is the most awful word in the English language, and then went on to tirade against human responsibility. They cannot understand how that it is possible for God to fix the smallest and the greatest events, and yet not to infringe upon man’s accountability—men themselves choosing the evil and rejecting the good—and therefore because they cannot see both they will only believe in one.

Listen! If man were nothing more than clay in the hands of the Potter there would be no difficulty. Scripture affirms in Romans 9 that man is clay in the hands of the Potter, but that only gives you one aspect of the truth. That emphasizes the absoluteness of God’s control over all the works and creatures of His hands; but from other Scriptures we learn that man is something more than lifeless clay. Man has been endowed with understanding; man has been given a will. Yes, I freely admit that his understanding is darkened; I fully allow that his will is in bondage; but they are still there; they have not been destroyed. If man was nothing more than a block of wood or a block of stone, it would be easy to understand how that God could fix the place that he was to occupy and the purpose that he was to fulfil; but, my friends, it is very far from easy to understand how that God can shape and direct all history and yet leave man fully responsible and not infringe upon his accountability.

Now there are some who have devised a very simple but a most unsatisfactory method of getting rid of the difficulty, and that is to deny its existence.  There are Arminians who have presented the “free-will” of man in such a way as to virtually dethrone God, and I have no sympathy whatever with their system.  On the other hand, there have been some Calvinists who have presented a kind of fatalism (I know not what else to term it) reducing man to nothing more than a block of wood, exonerating him of all blame and excusing him for his unbelief. But they are both equally wrong, and I scarcely know which is the more mischievous of the two. When the Calvinist says, All things happen according to the predestination of God. I heartily say Amen, and I am willing to be called a Calvinist; but if the Arminian says that when a man sins the sin is his own, and that if he continues sinning he will surely perish, and that if he perishes his blood is on his own head, then I believe the Arminian speaks according to God’s truth; though I am not willing to be called an Arminian. The trouble is when we tie ourselves down to a theological system.

Now listen a little more closely still. When the Calvinist says that faith is the gift of God and that no sinner ever does or can believe until God gives him that faith, I heartily say Amen; but when the Arminian says that the gospel commands all who hear it to believe, and that it is the duty of every sinner to believe, I also say Amen. What? you say, You are going to stand up and preach faith-duty-duty-faith? I know that is jolting to some of you. Now bear with me patiently for a moment and I will try and not shock you too badly. Whose is the gospel? It is God’s. Whose voice is it that is heard speaking in the gospel? It is God’s. To whom has God commanded the gospel to be preached? To every creature. What does the gospel say to every creature? It says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” It says, “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It says, “The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” God commands, not invites. God commands every man, woman and child that hears that gospel to believe it, for the gospel is true; therefore it is the duty of every man to believe what God has said. Let me give you the alternative. If it is not the duty of every sinner to believe the gospel, then it is his duty not to believe it—one or the other. Do you mean to tell me it is the duty of an unconverted sinner to reject the gospel? I am not talking now about his ability to believe it.

Some of you say, Well how can it be his duty to believe it, when he cannot do so? Is it his duty to do an impossibility? Well, listen! Is my duty, is my responsibility measured by my ability, by my power to perform? Here is a man who has ordered a hundred pounds’ worth of furniture; he receives it, and he is given thirty days’ credit in which to pay for it; but during the next thirty days he squanders his money, and at the end of the month he is practically bankrupt. When the firm presents their bill to him, he says, “I am sorry but I am unable to pay you.” He is speaking the truth. “I am unable, it does not lie within my power to pay you.” Would the head of that business house say, “All right, that ends the matter then: sorry to hear that you do not have the power, but evidently we cannot do anything.” No, my friend, ability does not measure our responsibility. Man is responsible to do many things that he is not able to do. You that are Christians are responsible to live a sinless life, for God says to you, “Awake to righteousness and sin not,” and in the first Epistle of John we read, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” God sets before you and me a standard of holy perfection. There is not one of us that is capable of measuring up to it, but that is our responsibility, and that is what we are going to be measured by when we stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.

Now then there are many Arminian preachers who are afraid to preach sermons on certain texts of the Bible. They would be afraid to stand up and preach from John 6:44—“No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him.” They would be afraid to stand up and preach from Romans 9:18—“Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth.” Yes, and it is also true that there are many Calvinist preachers who are equally afraid to preach from certain texts of the Scriptures lest their orthodoxy be challenged and lest they be called Freewillers. They are afraid to stand up and preach, for example, on the words of the Lord Jesus: —“How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Or on such a verse as this: —“The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force;” or “Strive (agonize) to enter in at the Strait Gate.” And to show you that I am not imagining things, I am just going to read you three lines. Listen! “At the meeting at. . . [I will leave out the name] on January 15th last, the question was asked to the effect: Had not some of our ministers for the sake of orthodoxy abstained from preaching from certain texts, and the answer was in the affirmative.” I am reading now from a Strict Baptist magazine! That was a meeting of Strict Baptist preachers and they were honest enough to admit, themselves, that because they were afraid of their orthodoxy being challenged, they were silent on certain texts of Scripture. O may God remove from all of us the fear of man.

Some of you perhaps are thinking right now in your own minds, Well, Brother Pink, I do not see how you are consistent with yourself. My friends, that does not trouble me one iota, and it won’t cause one hair in my head to go gray if I am inconsistent with any Calvinistic creed: the only thing that concerns me is to be consistent with the Holy Spirit, and to teach as the Holy Spirit shall enable, the whole counsel of God; to leave out nothing, to withhold nothing, and to give a proportionate presentation of God’s truth. Do you know, I believe that most of the theological errors of the past have grown out of, not so much a denial of God’s truth, as a disproportionate emphasis of it. Let me give you a simple illustration. The most comely countenance with the most beautiful features would soon become ugly if one feature were to grow while the others remained undeveloped. You can take the most beautiful baby there is in the world tonight and if that baby’s nose were to grow while its eyes and its cheeks and its mouth and its ears remained undeveloped, it would soon become unsightly. The same is true with every other member of its face.

Beauty is mainly a matter of proportion and this is true of God’s Word. It is only as truth is presented in its proper proportions that the beauty and blessedness to it are maintained in the hearts and lives of God’s people. The sad thing is that almost everywhere today there is just one feature of truth being disproportionately emphasized.

And listen again! If God’s truth is to be presented proportionately and effectively then each truth of God’s Word must be presented separately. If I am speaking upon the humanity of Christ, if I am seeking to emphasize the reality of His manhood, how that He was made like unto His brethren in all things, how that He was tempted in all points as they were—sin excepted—I would not bring into my sermon a reference to His Godhood; and if you were to hear me preach the next twelve Sunday nights on the manhood of Christ and never refer to His Deity in those sermons, I hope none of you brethren would be so foolish as to draw the conclusion, Oh dear me, Brother Pink no longer believes in the Godhood of our Savior.

Again, if I am preaching on the wrath of God, the holy hatred of God for sin and His vengeance upon it, I would be weakening my sermon to bring in at the close a reference to His tenderness, mercy and love, for in my judgment that would be to blunt the point of the special truth I was seeking to press on the unconverted. And, in the same way, if I am pressing on the unconverted their need, their duty and importance of seeking the Lord, calling upon, coming to and believing on Him for themselves, I would not bring in or explain the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion.

Each truth needs to be presented separately that it may have its clear outline presented to the heart and to the mind. And after all, my friends, we are not saved by believing in the Spirit, we are saved by believing in Christ. We are not saved by believing in the work of the Spirit within us (no man was ever saved by believing that); we are saved by trusting in the work of Christ outside of us. O may God help us to maintain the balance of truth. There is something more in this Book, brethren and sisters, beside election, particular redemption and the new birth. They are there, and I would not say one word to weaken or to repudiate them, but that is not all that is in this Book. There is a human side. There is man’s responsibility. There is the sinner’s repentance. There is the sinner’s believing in Christ. There is the pressing of the gospel upon the unsaved; and I want to tell you frankly that is a church does not evangelize it will fossilize: and, if I am not much mistaken, that is what happened to some of the Strict Baptist Churches in Australia.  Numbers of them that once had a healthy existence are now no more; and some others are already dead but they are not yet buried; and I believe one of the main reasons for that is this—they failed at the vital point of evangelism. If a church does not evangelize it will fossilize. That is God’s method of perpetuating His work and of maintaining His churches. God uses means, and the means that the Holy Spirit uses in His work is the preaching of the gospel to the unconverted, to every creature. True, the preaching will avail nothing without the Spirit’s blessing and application. True, no sinner will or can believe until God has quickened him. Yet he ought to, and is commanded to.

Now I meant, if time had allowed me, to come back again to the text and give you a few striking examples of where many have failed in holding the balance of God’s truth. Take for example the Unitarians. I have met numbers of Unitarians who believe this Book is God’s word, and believe that they can prove their creed from this Book. They appeal to such Scriptures as Deuteronomy 6:4—“The Lord our God is one Lord.” Their creed is the unity of God and they argue that if there be three divine persons there must be three Gods; they cannot harmonize them, they cannot reconcile three persons with one God; so what do they do? Well, they hold fast to the one and they let go the other. They say the two won’t mix—either God is one or else He is three; He cannot be both.  When they come to the Person of Christ they emphasize such passages as—“He grew in wisdom.” Well, they say, if He was a divine person, how could He grow in wisdom? They emphasize such passages as “He prayed,” and they say it is an absurdity to think of God praying to God. They say, He died—how could God die?  No, He cannot be divine: He is a good man; He is a holy man; He is a perfect man; and because they cannot reconcile the two classes of Scriptures they believe the one and reject the other. And Christ says to them, Ye are fools because ye are slow of heart to believe all.

Take the Universalists. I have met numbers of Universalists—several here in Sydney. I was going to say that I have less suspicion of the reality of their own salvation than I have of some of yours. At any rate they seem to give such evidence in their daily walk that they commune with Christ that it really makes one wonder where they are. Well now, the Universalists are staggered by the doctrine of eternal punishment. They say “God is love.” “The mercy of God endureth forever.” God is good: how can a merciful, loving God send any to eternal suffering? The Universalist say they cannot both be true: if there is such a thing as eternal punishment, then God can’t be love: if God is love, there cannot be such a thing as eternal punishment. You see what they are doing? They are reasoning: they are walking by logic: they have drawn up their own scheme and system of theology and that which they cannot fit exactly into that scheme, somewhere, well, away with it!

But the Unitarians and the Universalists and the Arminians are not the only ones who are guilty of that. I am sorry to say that it is equally true, in some respects, of many Calvinists. They are unsound when it comes to the gospel. They are all at sea when it comes to the matter of believing. I am not going to keep you very much longer, but listen closely now. There are many Calvinists who say, Believing is an evidence of our salvation, but it is not a condition or the cause of salvation. But, my friends, I make so bold as to say that those who so teach take issue with this Book. Now I want you to turn with me to four passages in the New Testament. I am not asking you to take my word for anything. You turn with me now to four passages in God’s own word. First of all Romans l:16-17—“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation.” The power of God unto salvation to whom? —“the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” Now I have no hesitation whatever in saying to every grown-up person in this room tonight, if you had read that verse just now for the first time in your life, and had never read a page of either Calvinistic or Arminian literature; if you read that verse without any bias one way or the other, it would only mean one thing to you.

Now turn to Romans 13:11—“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” The salvation that is spoken of there is the salvation of the body, the glorification of the believer, the final consummation of our redemption: but what I want you to notice is where the Holy Spirit Himself puts the starting point. “Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” THAT is when it begins, so far as our actual experience is concerned.

Now turn to Hebrews 10:39, and you have one there that is plainer still—that is outside the realm of debate—that has no ambiguity about it: “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” You cannot get around that if you live to be a thousand years old.  “Them that believe to the saving of the soul.” The sinner’s believing does have something to do with his salvation: God says so! If you deny it you are taking issue with God. “Believe to the saving of the soul.”

Now turn to Luke 7:50—“And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee.” He did not say thy faith is an evidence that you have been saved. “Thy faith hath saved thee.” Now in the light of those last two verses I make this assertion, that believing in Christ is the cause of the sinner’s salvation.  But listen closely to this qualification. It is neither the meritorious cause nor is it the effectual cause! You must put these three things together to get the complete thing. The blood of Christ is the meritorious cause of salvation; the regenerating work of the Spirit is the effective cause of salvation; but the sinner’s own believing is the instrumental cause of his salvation. We believe to the saving of the soul. I repeat that. The blood of Christ is the meritorious cause: without that all the believing in the world could not save a soul. The regenerating work of the Spirit is the effectual cause: without this, no sinner would come or will believe with the heart. But the believing of the sinner in Christ is the instrumental cause—that which extends the empty hand to receive the gift that the gospel presents to him—and where there is no personal trust in Christ there is no salvation—“I did not say “quickening.”

Now I want to make this very plain and I am going to weigh my words. If instead of you trusting in the sacrificial blood of Christ, you are trusting in something that you believe the Spirit has done in you, you are building your house upon the sand, which in time of testing will fall to the ground.

“On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand.”

If you are building your hope for eternity on what you think or feel that the Spirit of God has done in you, instead of putting your trust in what Christ did for sinners, you are building your house on the sand. And that may apply to some church-members here tonight. O my friends, the gospel of God does not invite you to look inside and pin your faith to what you think the Holy Spirit has done in you; the gospel of God commands you to look outside of yourself, away from all your feelings and frames, to what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross for sinners as sinners.

Now my last word tonight is directed to the unconverted, for my text also applies directly to them. Last Sunday evening I said a good deal about the necessity of being quiet, of standing still, of waiting upon God; but I want to supplement those remarks in concluding tonight by saying that those are all admonitions that are given to the converted, and that the Holy Scriptures speak in very different terms to those of you who are unconverted. The Bible does not bid you to sit still, to wait and be quiet; the Bible commands you to flee from the wrath to come. It bids you to strive to enter in at the strait gate. I am quoting Scripture now. It bids you seek the Lord. It bids you come unto Him. It bids you believe in Him, and if you do not you will be damned, whoever you are.

I am very much afraid that there are some here tonight who entertain the notion that all they have to do is just to sit still and wait until God comes and saves you. My friends, I do not know of a single promise of God that He will do so. I do not know of a single line in this Book that encourages you to continue in your sinful inactivity. I am going to speak very plainly now. The devil will tell you there is no cause for you to be concerned: there is not a bit of need for you to worry: if your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life you will be saved, whether you believe or no. That is the devil’s lie! It is not God’s truth. The devil will tell you that if you have been elected to salvation there is not a bit of need for you to be alarmed, disturbed or exercised; no need at all for you to seek and search after the Lord; that when God’s good time comes He is going to do it all for you: not a bit of good for you to read the Bible and cry out to Him: and if He has not elected you, well, there is no need for sure, for it’s useless.

Yes, the devil will speak in those tones and terms and he will come quoting Scripture to you. But there is no salvation for the sinner apart from his believing in Christ. I close with this quotation—2 Thessalonians 2:13, “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through—Through what?  “Sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” That is how God saves.  That is how God carries out His purpose—by the sanctification of the Spirit and by your belief of the truth.

And my friends, I have not limited God. God could, if He so chose, make the fields to grow crops without the farmer plowing them and sowing the seed, but that is not His way; that is not the method He selects. God could keep us in health and strength without our taking any food at all or wasting time in sleeping if He so chose, but that is not His way. And God could save every sinner on earth tonight without them believing if He wanted to, but it is not His way! I am not limiting God, I am describing to you the plan and method that God Himself has set forth in His Word, and if you would be saved, sinner, you have got to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for yourself. I say it reverently: the Holy Spirit won’t believe for you. The Holy Spirit may put it into your heart and give you the desire to believe. If you have the desire it is because He has put it there, but He won’t believe for you: believing is a human act. It is the sinner himself, in all his wretchedness and need, coming to Christ, as a drowning man clutches a straw, and as the old hymn says—“Just as I am without one plea, But that thy blood was shed for me.”

O sinner, Christ is saying to you tonight, “O fools and slow of heart to believe all.” You do believe much as you sit there. There are some of you who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. There are some of you who believe that He is the only Savior who can save any sinner. You believe that, then why not believe all? Why not believe in Him for yourself? Why not trust His precious blood for yourself; and why not tonight? God is ready to save you now if you believe on Him. The blood has been shed, the sacrifice has been offered, the atonement has been made, the feast has been spread. The call goes out to you tonight, “Come, for all things are now ready.” And I say again, the devil will tell you as you are sitting there, “There is no need for me to come tonight; I will just wait till God gets ready to come and save me.” How do you know that while you are waiting death may not come and smite you down. “Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” The Holy Spirit saith, “Today if ye will hear His voice harden not your hearts.” Yes, man can “harden” his heart: God says so; and God calls to you: “Harden not your heart.” That is something you do yourself—not the devil—you do it. God is speaking to you through His Word tonight. O may His grace forbid that He shall say our text to any of you after you have left this room—O God forbid that you should be among those “fools” who believe not all. You do believe that Christ is God’s appointed Savior for sinners, why not your Savior? O may the Spirit draw you by the cords of love to that One who has said, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”

Preached by Arthur W. Pink in Sydney, Australia—1927.

via pbministries.org

Arthur W. Pink on The Fall and Free Will (5)

The Impotency of The Human Will


Does it lie within the province of man’s will to accept or reject the Lord Jesus as Saviour? Granted that the Gospel is preached to the sinner, that the Holy Spirit convicts him of his lost condition, does it, in the final analysis, lie within the power of his own will to resist or yield himself up to God? The answer to this question defines our conception of human depravity. That man is a fallen creature all professing Christians will allow, but what many of them mean by „fallen” is often difficult to determine. The general impression seems to be that man is now mortal, that he is no longer in the condition in which he left the hands of his Creator, that he is liable to disease, that he inherits evil tendencies; but, that if he employs his powers to the best of his ability, somehow he will be happy at last.

O, how far short of the sad truth! Infirmities, sickness, even corporeal death, are but trifles in comparison with the moral and spiritual effects of the Fall! It is only by consulting the Holy Scriptures that we are able to obtain some conception of the extent of that terrible calamity.

When we say that man is totally depraved, we mean that the entrance of sin into the human constitution has affected every part and faculty of man’s being. Total depravity means that man is, in spirit and soul and body, the slave of sin and the captive of the Devil—walking „according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). This statement ought not to need arguing: it is a common fact of human experience.

Man is unable to realize his own aspirations and materialize his own ideals. He cannot do the things that he would. There is moral inability which paralyzes him. This is proof positive that he is no free man, but instead, the slave of sin and Satan. „Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts (desires) of your father ye will do.” (John 8:44). Sin is more than an act or a series of acts; it is a man’s make-up. It has blinded the understanding, corrupted the heart, and alienated the mind from God. And the will has not escaped. The will is under the dominion of sin and Satan. Therefore, the will is not free. In short, the affections love as they do and the will chooses as it does because of the state of the heart, and because the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked „There is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11).

A.W. Pink in LIMBA ROMANA

The Total Depravity of Man by A.W. Pink (via) PBM Ministries

From PBM Ministries. Chapter 14 is the Summary Chapter of A.W.Pink’s book titled „The Total Depravity of  Man”. A.W.Pink was born in Nottingham,England on April 1,1886; he became a Christian at the age of 22  and he died in Stomoway, Scotland on July 15 , 1952.

The Entrance of evil into the domain of God is admittedly a deep mystery, nevertheless sufficient is revealed in the Scriptures to prevent our forming erroneous views. For instance, it is contrary to the Word of truth to entertain the notion that either the fall of Satan and his angels or that of our first parents took God by surprise or wrecked His plans. For all eternity God designed that this earth should be the stage on which He would display His perfections: in creation, in providence and in redemption (I Cor. 4:9). Accordingly, He foreordained everything which comes to pass in this scene (Acts 15:18; Rom. 11:36; Eph. 1:11). God is not idly looking on from a far-distant world at the happenings of this earth, but is Himself ordering and shaping everything to the ultimate promotion of His glory—not only in spite of the opposition of men and Satan, but by means of them, everything being made to serve His purpose. Nor did the introduction of evil into the universe take place simply by the bare permission of the Most High, for nothing can come to pass that is contrary to His decreed will. Rather, for wise and holy reasons, God foreordained to allow His mutable creatures to fall, thereby affording an occasion for Him to make a further and fuller exhibition of His attributes.

God’s Overruling

From God’s standpoint the result of Adam’s probation was left in no uncertainty. Before He formed him out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, He knew exactly how the appointed testing of Him would eventuate. But more: God had decreed that Adam should eat of the forbidden fruit. That is certain from I Peter 1:19-20, which tells us that the shedding of Christ’s blood was verily „foreordained before the foundation of the world” (cf. Rev. 13:8). As Witsius rightly affirmed of Adam’s sin, „If foreknown it was also predestinated: thus Peter joins together ‘the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God’ (Acts 2, 23).” In full harmony with that fact, note that it was God Himself who placed in Eden the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Moreover, as Twisse, the celebrated moderator of the Westminster Assembly, asked in 1653, „Did not the Devil provoke Eve and Adam to sin against God in paradise? Could not God have kept the Devil off? Why did He not? Doth it not manifestly appear that it was God’s will to have them tempted, to have them provoked unto sin? And why not?” God overruled it for a higher manifestation of His glory. Just as without night we could not admire the beauty of day, so sin was necessary as a dark background on which the divine grace and mercy should shine forth more resplendently (Rom. 5:20).

It has been asserted dogmatically by some that God could not have prevented the fall of our first parents without reducing them to mere machines. It is argued that since the Creator endowed man with a free will he must be left entirely to his own volitions, that he cannot be coerced, still less compelled, without destroying his moral agency. That may seem to be good reasoning, yet it is refuted by Holy Writ. God declared to Abimelech concerning Abraham’s wife, „I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her” (Gen. 20:6). It is not impossible for God to exert His power over man without destroying his responsibility, for there is a case in point where He restricted man’s freedom to do evil and prevented him from committing sin. In like manner, He prevented Balaam from carrying out the wicked desires of his heart (Num. 22:38; 23:3, 20). Also, He prevented kingdoms from making war on Jehoshaphat (II Chron. 17:10). Why, then, did not God exert His power and prevent Adam and Eve from sinning? Because their fall served His own wise and blessed designs.

But does that make God the Author of sin? The culpable Author, no; for as Piscator long ago pointed out, „Culpability is failing to do what ought to be done.” Clearly it was the divine will that sin should enter this world, or it would not have done so. God had the power to prevent it. Nothing ever comes to pass except what He has decreed. As John Gill said, „Though God’s decree made Adam’s fall infallibly necessary as to the event, yet not by way of efficiency, or by force and compulsion on the will.” Nor did God’s decree in any way excuse the wickedness of our first parents or exempt them from punishment. They were left entirely free to the exercise of their nature, and therefore were fully accountable and blameworthy for their actions. While the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the solicitations of the serpent to eat its fruit were the occasion of their sinning, yet they were not the cause. That lay in their voluntarily ceasing to be in subjection to the will of their Maker and rightful Lord. God is the efficient Author of whatever works of holiness men perform, but He is not the Author of their sins.

God’s decree that sin should enter this world was a secret hid in Himself. Our first parents knew nothing of it, and that made all the difference so far as their responsibility was concerned. Had they been informed of the divine purpose and the certainty of its fulfillment by their actions, the case would have been radically altered. They were unacquainted with the Creator’s secret counsels. What concerned them was God’s revealed will, and that was quite plain. He had forbidden them to eat of a certain tree, and that was enough. But He went further, even warning Adam of the dire consequences which should follow his disobedience. Death would be the penalty. Thus, transgression on his part was without excuse. God created Adam morally „upright,” without any bias toward evil. Nor did He inject any evil thought or desire into Eve. „God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13). Instead, when the serpent came and tempted Eve, God caused her to remember His prohibition. Consider the wonderful wisdom of God, for though He had predestinated the fall of our first parents, yet in no sense was He the Instigator or Approver of their sins, and their accountability was left entirely unimpaired.

These two things we must believe if the truth is not to be repudiated: that God has foreordained everything that comes to pass; that He is in no way blamable for any of man’s wickedness, the criminality thereof being wholly his. The decree of God in no way infringes on man’s moral agency, for it neither forces nor hinders man’s will, though it orders and bounds its actions. Both the existence and operations of sin are subservient to the counsels of God’s will, yet that does not lessen the evil of its nature or the guilt of its committers. Someone has said that though God does not esteem evil to be good, yet He accounts it good that evil should be. Nevertheless sin is that „abominable thing” (Jer. 44:4) which the holy One always hates. In connection with the crucifixion of Christ there was the agency of God (John 19:11; Acts 4:27-28), the agency of Satan (Gen. 3:13; Luke 22:53) and the agency of men. Yet God neither concurred nor cooperated with the internal actions of men’s wills, charging them with the wickedness of their deed (Acts 2:23). God overrules evil for good (Gen. 45:8; P5. 76:10), and therefore He is as truly sovereign over sin and hell as He is over holiness and heaven.

God’s Perfect Plan

     God cannot will or do anything that is wrong: „The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works” (Ps. 145:17). He therefore stands in no need whatsoever of vindication by any of His puny creatures. Yet even the finite mind, when illumined by the Spirit of truth, can perceive how God’s admittance of evil into this world provided an occasion for Him to display His ineffable perfections in the fullest manner and to the greatest degree. He thus magnified Himself by bringing a clean thing out of an unclean, and by securing to Himself a return of praise from redeemed sinners such as He does not receive from the unfallen angels. Horrible and terrible beyond words was the revolt of man against his Maker, and fearful and total the ruin which it brought upon him and all his posterity. Nevertheless, the wisdom of God contrived a way to save a part of the human race in a manner by which He is more glorified than by all His works of creation and providence; also, the misery of sinners is made the occasion of their greater happiness. This is a never ending wonder.

That way of salvation, determined and defined in the terms of the everlasting covenant of grace, was one by which each of the divine Persons is exceedingly honored. Jonathan Edwards long ago pointed out:

Herein the work of redemption is distinguished from all the other works of God. The attributes of God are glorious in His other works; but the three persons of the Trinity are distinctly glorified in no other work as in this of redemption. In this work every distinct person has His distinct parts and offices assigned personal properties, relations, and economical offices. The redeemed have an equal concern with and dependence upon each person in this affair, and owe equal honour and praise to each of Them. The Father appoints and provides the Redeemer, and accepts the price of redemption. The Son is the Redeemer and the price—He redeems by offering up Himself. The Holy Spirit immediately communicates to us the thing purchased; yea, and He is the good purchased. The sum of what Christ purchased for us is holiness and happiness. Christ was „made a curse for us… that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3: 13, 14). The blessedness of the redeemed consists in partaking of Christ’s fulness, which consists in partaking of that Spirit which is not given by measure unto Him. This is the oil that was poured upon the Head of the Church, which ran down to the members of His body (Psalm 133, 2).

     It is a serious mistake to regard the Lord Jesus as our Saviour to the exclusion of the saving operations of both the Father and the Spirit. Had not the Father eternally purposed the salvation of His people, chosen them in Christ and bestowed them on Him; had He not entered into an everlasting compact with Him, commissioned Him to become incarnate, and redeemed them, His Beloved never would have left heaven in order that He might die, the just for the unjust. Accordingly, we find that He who loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son has ascribed to Him the salvation of the church: „Who hath saved us, and called us… according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Tim. 1:9). Equally necessary are the operations of the Holy Spirit to actually apply to the hearts of God’s elect the good of what Christ did for them. He is the One who convicts of sin and imparts faith to them. Therefore their salvation is also ascribed to Him: „God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (II Thess. 2:13). A careful reading of Titus 3:4-6 shows the three Persons acting together in this connection: „God our Saviour” in verse 4 is plainly the Father. „He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (v.5), „which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (v. 6). Compare the doxology of II Corinthians 13:14.

It is very profitable to ponder the many promises which the Father made to and respecting Christ. Upon the Son’s acceptance of the exacting terms of the covenant of grace, the Father agreed to invest Him with a threefold office, thereby authenticating His mission with the broad seal of heaven: the prophetic office (Deut. 18:15, 18; cf. Acts 3:22), the priestly office (Heb. 5:5; 6:20) and the kingly office (Jer. 23:5; P5. 89:27). Thus Christ did not run without being sent. God the Father promised to furnish and equip the Mediator with a plentiful effusion of the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 42:1-2; cf. Matt. 12:27; Acts 10:38). He promised to strengthen Christ, supporting and protecting Him in His execution of the tremendous work of redemption (Isa. 42:1, 6; Ps. 89:21). This undertaking would be attended with such difficulties that creature power, though unimpaired by sin, would have been quite inadequate for it. Therefore the Father assured Christ of all needed help and power to carry Him through the opposition and trials He would encounter. Note how the incarnate Son rested upon those promises (Ps. 16:1; 22:10; Isa. 50:6-8; 69:4-7).

The Father promised to raise the Messiah from the dead (Ps. 21:8; 102:23-24; Isa. 53:10), and it is blessed to observe how Christ laid hold of the promise (Ps. 16:8-11). Promise of His ascension was also made to Christ (Ps. 24:3, 7; 68:18; 89:27; Isa. 52:13). That promise too was appropriated by the Saviour while still on earth (Luke 24:26). Having faithfully fulfilled the terms of the covenant, Christ was highly exalted by God, and made to be Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36), God seating Him at His own right hand. That is an economical lordship, a dispensation committed to Christ as the God-Man. God has crowned with glory and honor the One whom men crowned with thorns. The „government” is upon His shoulder.

Christ was assured of a „seed” (Isa. 53:10). His crucifixion must not be regarded as a dishonor to Him, since it was the very means ordained of God whereby He should propagate numerous spiritual progeny. He referred to this in John 12:24. The „seed” promised Christ occupies a prominent place in Psalm 89 (see vv. 3-4, 29-36; cf. 22:30). Thus, from the outset Christ was assured of the success of His undertaking.

As there were two parts to the covenant, so the elect were given to Christ in a twofold manner. As He was to fulfill its terms, they were entrusted to Him as a charge; but in fulfillment of the covenant, the Father promised to bestow them on Him as a reward. In the former sense, they were regarded as fallen, and Christ was held responsible for their salvation. They were committed to Him as lost and straying sheep (Isa. 53:6) whom He must seek out and bring into the fold (John 10:16). In the latter sense, they are viewed as the fruit of His travail, the trophies of His victory over sin, Satan and death ; as His crown of rejoicing in the day to come, when He shall be „glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe” (II Thess. 1:10); as the beloved wife of the Lamb.

Finally, God made promise of the Holy Spirit to Christ. The Spirit was with Christ during the days of His flesh, anointing Him to preach the gospel (Isa. 61:1) and work miracles (Matt. 12:28). But He received the Spirit in another manner (Ps. 45:7; Acts 2:33) and for a different purpose after His ascension. He, as the God-Man Mediator, was given the administration of the Spirit’s activities and operations toward the world in providence and toward the church in grace. John 7:39 and 16: 7 make it clear that the Spirit’s advent was dependent on Christ’s exaltation. That assurance was also appropriated by Christ before He left this scene. On the point of His departure, He said to His disciples, „Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you” (Luke 24:49), which was duly accomplished ten days later. In full accord with what has just been pointed out, we hear the Saviour saying from heaven, „These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God” (Rev. 3:1). He „hath,” to communicate to His redeemed individually and to His churches corporately.

The grand design in the Spirit’s descent to this earth was to glorify Christ (John 16:14). He is here to witness to the Saviour’s exaltation, Pentecost being God’s seal upon the Messiahship of Jesus. The Spirit is here to take Christ’s place. That is clear from Christ’s words to the apostles: „I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). Until then the Lord Jesus had been their Comforter, but He was on the eve of returning to heaven. Nevertheless, He graciously assured them, „I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you” (John 14:18, margin) . This promise was fulfilled spiritually in the advent of His Deputy. The Spirit is here to further Christ’s cause. The word Paraclete (translated „Comforter” in John’s gospel) is rendered „advocate” at the beginning of the second chapter of his first epistle, and an advocate is one who appears as the representative of another. The Spirit is here to interpret and vindicate Christ, to administer for Christ in His kingdom and church. He is here to make good His redeeming purpose, by applying the benefits of His sacrifice to those in whose behalf it was offered. He is here to endue Christ’s servants (Luke 24:49).

It is of first importance to recognize and realize that the Lord Jesus obtained for God’s people not only redemption from the penal consequences of sin, but also their personal sanctification. How little this is emphasized today. In far too many instances those who think and speak of the „salvation” which Christ has purchased attach no further idea to the concept than that of deliverance from condemnation, omitting deliverance from the love, dominion and power of sin. But the latter is no less essential, and is as definite a blessing as the former. It is just as necessary for fallen creatures to be delivered from the pollution and moral impotence which they have contracted as it is to be exempted from the penalties which they have incurred, so that when reinstated in the favor of God they may at the same time be capacitated to love, serve and enjoy Him forever. And in this respect also the divine remedy meets all the requirements of our sinful malady (see II Cor. 5:15; Eph. 5:25-27; Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:14). This is accomplished by the gracious operations of Christ’s Spirit, begun in regeneration, continued throughout their earthly lives, consummated in heaven.

God’s Honor

Not only is the triune God more honored by redemption than He was dishonored by the defection of His creatures, but His people also are greatly the gainers. That too magnifies the divine wisdom. It would have been wonderful indeed had they been merely restored to their original state; but it is far more wonderful that they should be brought to a much higher state of blessedness—that the fall should be the occasion of their exaltation! Their sin deserved eternal wretchedness, yet everlasting bliss is their portion. They are now favored with a greater manifestation of the glory of God and a fuller discovery of His love than they would have had otherwise, and in those two things their happiness principally consists. They are brought into a much closer and endearing relation to God. They are now not merely holy creatures but heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. The Son having taken their nature upon Him, they have become His „brethren,” members of His body, His spouse. They are thereby provided with more powerful motives and inducements to love and serve Him than they had in their unfallen condition. The more of God’s love we apprehend, the more we love Him in return. Throughout eternity the knowledge of God’s love in giving His dear Son to and for us, and Christ’s dying in our stead, will fix our hearts upon Him in a manner which His favors to Adam never could have done.

It is in the gospel that the wonderful remedy for all our ills is made known. That glorious gospel proclaims that Christ is able to save to the uttermost them that come to God by Him. It tells us that the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. It announces that sinners, even the chief of sinners, are the ones that are freely invited to come. It publishes liberty to Satan’s captives and the opening of doors to sin’s prisoners. It reveals that God has chosen the greatest of sinners to be the everlasting monuments of His mercy. It declares that the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses believers from all sin. It furnishes hope to the most hopeless cases. The miracles which Christ performed in the bodies of men were types of His miracles of grace on sinners’ souls. No case was beyond His healing. He not only gave sight to the blind and cleansing to the leper, but delivered the demon-possessed and bestowed life on the dead. He never refused a single appeal made to His compassion. Whatever the sinner’s record, if he will trust in the atoning sacrifice of Christ he will be saved, now and forever.

You can read more chapters from this book here at Providence Baptist Ministries.

Natura Mintuirii lui Hristos Denaturata de ‘Evanghelistii’ Zilelor Noastre de Arthur W. Pink

de la Resurse Crestine.

Natura mântuirii lui Hristos este teribil de denaturată de „evangheliştii” zilelor noastre. Ei predică un Mântuitor de iad, mai degrabă decât un Mântuitor de păcat. De aceea, aşa de mulţi sunt înşelaţi fatal, fiindcă mulţimi întregi vor să scape de iazul de foc, dar nu vor să fie eliberaţi de natura lor lumească şi carnală. Primul lucru spus despre El în Noul Testament este „Şi îi vei pune numele Isus, căci El va mântui pe poporul Lui (nu „de mânia viitoare” ci) de păcatele sale.

Hristos este Mântuitor pentru cei ce-şi dau seama de păcătoşenia excesivă a păcatului, care simt povara lui groaznică apăsându-le conştiinţa, care se detestă pe ei înşişi datorită păcatului, care doresc să fie eliberaţi de sub stăpânirea sa teribilă; Hristos nu este Mântuitor pentru nimeni altcineva. Dacă El a venit să-i „mântuiască de iad” pe aceia care încă iubesc păcatul, El ar fi un lucrător al păcatului, iertându-le răutatea şi alăturându-se lor împotriva lui Dumnezeu. Ce lucru oribil şi blasfemie de nedescris cu care să-L învinuieşti pe Cel Sfânt!

Evanghelia lui Satan de Arthur W.Pink

Traducere de Iosif Raul Enyedi

De la situl  ABaptistVoice.com Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)  scrie:

Satan este un falsificator neintrecut. Asa cum am vazut, Diavolul este acum foarte activ in lucrul sau pe acelasi teren in care Domnul a semanat samanta buna. El cauta sa previna cresterea graului prin semanarea unei alte plante, neghina, care, in aparenta, se aseamana indeaproape cu graul. Intr-un cuvant, printr-un proces de imitare, el are ca scop neutralizarea Cuvantului lui Cristos. Astfel, asa cum Cristos are o Evanghelie, si Satan are o evanghelie, aceasta din urma fiind o imitatie sireata a celei dintai. Asa de bine seamana evanghelia lui Satan cu cealalta, incat multimi de nemantuiti sunt inselati de ea.

La aceasta evanghelie a lui Satan se refera apostolul atunci cand spune galatenilor: „Ma mir ca treceti asa de repede dela Cel ce v-a chemat prin harul lui Cristos, la o alta Evanghelie. Nu doar ca este o alta Evanghelie; dar sunt unii oameni cari va tulbura, si voiesc sa rastoarne Evanghelia lui Cristos” (Galateni 1:6, 7). Aceasta evanghelie falsa se vestea chiar in zilele apostolului, iar un blestem groaznic a fost rostit asupra acelora care o predicau. Apostolul continua: „Dar chiar daca noi insine sau un inger din cer ar veni sa va propovaduiasca o Evanghelie, deosebita de aceea pe care v-am propovaduit-o noi, sa fie anatema” (vs.8). Cu ajutorul lui Dumnezeu vom incerca acum sa expunem, sau, mai bine zis, sa demascam aceasta evanghelie falsa.

Evanghelia lui Satan nu este un sistem de principii revolutionare si nici un program al anarhiei. Nu promoveaza conflictele si razboaiele, ci scopul ei este pacea si unitatea. Nu cauta sa invrajbeasca pe mama impotriva fiicei ei si nici pe tata impotriva fiului sau, ci incurajeaza un spirit de fraternitate in care intreaga rasa umana este privita ca o mare familie. Nu cauta sa tarasca in jos omul firesc, ci sa-l imbunatateasca si sa-l ridice. Promoveaza educarea, cultivarea si apeleaza la „ce este mai bun in noi.” Doreste sa faca din aceasta lume un habitat asa de confortabil si placut, incat sa nu fie simtite nici absenta lui Cristos si nici nevoia de Dumnezeu. Incearca sa-l preocupe pe om asa de mult cu lumea aceasta astfel incat el sa nu mai aibe nici timp, nici inclinatie pentru lumea care va veni. Promoveaza principiile sacrificiului de sine, caritatii si bunavointei, ne invata sa traim pentru binele altora si sa aratam bunatate tuturor. Apeleaza mult la mintea fireasca si este populara in randul maselor fiindca ignora grava realitate ca prin natura lui, omul este o fiinta cazuta, instrainat de viata care vine de la Dumnezeu, mort in greseli, in pacate si avand ca singura nadejde nasterea din nou.

In contrast cu Evanghelia lui Cristos, cea a lui Satan ii invata pe oameni mantuirea prin fapte. Sugereaza in mod repetat justificarea inaintea lui Dumnezeu pe baza meritelor umane. Fraza sa sacra este: „Fii bun si fa binele,” nerecunoscand faptul ca in fire nu locuieste nici un lucru bun. Predica mantuirea pe baza caracterului, inversand ordinea Cuvantului lui Dumnezeu – caracterul este o roada a mantuirii. Variatele sale ramificatii si organizatii sunt nenumarate. Cumpatare, miscarile Reformei, „Ligile socialiste crestine,” societati de cultura etica, „Congrese de pace,” cu toate sunt angajate (poate inconstient) in proclamarea acestei evanghelii a lui Satan – evanghelia mantuirii prin fapte. Gandirea pozitiva il substituie pe Cristos; puritatea sociala in loc de regenerarea individuala; politica si filosofie in loc de doctrina si evlavie. Cultivarea omului vechi este considerata mai practica decat crearea omului nou in Cristos Isus; se cauta pacea universala, dar nu si interventia  si intoarcerea Domnului pacii.

Apostolii lui Satan nu sunt proprietari de baruri sau proxeneti, ci in marea lor majoritate sunt lucratori ordinati. Mii dintre cei care vorbesc de la amvoanele noastre moderne nu mai sunt implicati in prezentarea adevarurilor fundamentale ale credintei crestine ci au respins adevarul si au acordat atentie unei nascociri. In loc sa amplifice enormitatea pacatului si sa arate consecintele sale vesnice, ei il minimizeaza, afirmand ca acesta este doar nestiinta sau absenta binelui. In loc de a-si avertiza ascultatorii sa „fuga de mania viitoare,” ei Il fac pe Dumnezeu mincinos, afirmand ca El este prea iubitor si milostiv sa trimita vreuna din propriile Sale fapturi la chin vesnic.

In loc de a afirma ca „fara varsare de sange nu este iertare,” ei Il prezinta pe Cristos ca pe marele Exemplu, indemnandu-si urmasii sa „calce pe urmele Lui.” Trebuie spus despre ei caci „intrucat n-au cunoscut neprihanirea, pe care o da Dumnezeu, au cautat sa-si puna inainte o neprihanire a lor insisi, si nu s-au supus astfel neprihanirii, pe care o da Dumnezeu” (Romani 10:3). Mesajul lor poate suna foarte plauzibil, iar ei pot parea demni de lauda, dar totusi, despre ei citim astfel: „Oamenii acestia sunt niste apostoli mincinosi, niste lucratori inselatori, cari se prefac in (imita) apostoli ai lui Cristos. Si nu este de mirare, caci chiar Satana se preface intr-un inger de lumina. Nu este mare lucru (ceva de mirat) dar, daca si slujitorii lui se prefac in slujitori ai neprihanirii. Sfarsitul lor va fi dupa faptele lor” (2 Corinteni 11:13-15).

Nu doar ca astazi, sute de biserici nu au un lider care sa declare cu credinciosie tot sfatul lui Dumnezeu si sa prezinte calea Sa de mantuire, ci trebuie sa intampinam si realitatea ca este foarte putin probabil ca oamenii din aceste biserici sa invete ei singuri Adevarul. Altarul familiei, unde se obisnuia sa se citeasca un pasaj din Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu in fiecare zi, acum, chiar si in casele crestinilor obisnuiti este ceva care tine de trecut. Biblia nu este explicata de la amvon si nu este citita din banca. Cerintele acestei epoci ale vitezei sunt asa de numeroase ca majoritatea oamenilor au putin timp si chiar si mai putina inclinatie sa se pregateasca pentru intalnirea lor cu Dumnezeu. De aici, cei mai multi care sunt prea  nepasatori pentru a cerceta ei insisi sunt lasati in voia acelora pe care ii platesc sa cerceteze pentru ei; dintre acestia, multi le tradeaza increderea, studiind si predicand probleme econo-mice si sociale mai degraba decat Profetiile lui Dumnezeu. . .

Dar tu, cititorule, unde te afli? Te afli pe calea „care pare dreapta,” dar care are ca sfarsit moartea, sau esti pe Calea Ingusta care duce la viata? Ai parasit cu adevarat calea cea larga care duce la moarte? A creat dragostea de Cristos ura si oroare pentru tot ce nu-I este placut Lui? Doresti tu ca El sa „imparateasca” peste tine (Luca 19:14)? Te bazezi tu in intregime pe neprihanirea si sangele Lui pentru primirea ta inaintea lui Dumnezeu? . . .

O forma si mai amagitoare a evangheliei lui Satan este sa determine predicatorii sa prezinte jertfa ispasitoare a lui Cristos si apoi sa spuna ascultatorilor lor ca tot ceea ce cere Dumnezeu de la ei este sa „creada in Fiul Sau.” Astfel, mii de suflete nepocaite sunt amagite sa creada ca au fost mantuiti. Dar Cristos a spus: „Eu va spun: nu; ci, daca nu va pocaiti, toti veti pieri la fel” (Luca 13:3). A te „pocai” inseamna a-ti uri pacatul, sa iti para rau ca l-ai comis, sa renunti la el. Acesta este rezultatul lucrarii Duhului care frange inima inaintea lui Dumnezeu. Nimic in afara de o inima franta nu poate avea credinta mantuitoare in Domnul Isus Cristos.

Repet, mii sunt inselati in presupunerea ca ei l-au „acceptat pe Cristos” ca „Mantuitor personal” dar nu L-au primit intai ca si DOMN. Fiul lui Dumnezeu nu a venit sa mantuiasca oamenii in pacatele lor, ci „de pacatele lor” (Matei 1:21). A fi mantuit de pacat inseamna a fi mantuit de ignoranta si dispretul fata de autoritatea lui Dumnezeu, inseamna abandonarea cursul propriei tale vointe si placeri, inseamna sa „ne lasam de caile noastre” (Isaia 55:7). Inseamna predarea in fata autoritatii lui Dumnezeu, cedarea in fata stapanirii Sale, lepadarea de sine pentru a fi condusi de El. Acela care nu a luat niciodata „jugul” lui Cristos asupra lui, care nu cauta cu adevarat si cu sarguinta sa-I fi placut Lui in toate detaliile vietii sale, dar care totusi presupune ca se „bazeaza pe lucrarea desavarsita a lui Cristos” este inselat de Diavolul.

In capitolul sapte din Matei, exista doua pasaje care ne redau rezultatele aproximative atat a Evangheliei lui Cristos, cat si a imitatiei Diavolului. Primul, in versetele 13,14: „Intrati pe poarta cea stramta. Caci larga este poarta, lata este calea care duce la pierzare, si multi sunt cei ce intra pe ea. Dar stramta este poarta, ingusta este calea care duce la viata, si putini sunt cei ce o afla.” Al doilea in versetele 22 si 23: „Multi Imi vor zice in ziua aceea: ,Doamne, Doamne! N-am proorocit (predicat) noi in Numele Tau? N-am scos noi draci in Numele Tau? Si n-am facut noi multe minuni in Numele Tau?’ Atunci le voi spune curat: ,Niciodata nu v-am cunoscut; departati-va dela Mine, voi toti cari lucrati faradelege.’” Da, cititorule, este posibil sa lucram in Numele lui Cristos, si chiar sa predicam in Numele Lui, si desi lumea ne cunoaste si biserica ne cunoaste, totusi sa fim necunoscuti pentru Domnul! Cat de necesar este, deci, sa vedem unde ne aflam cu adevarat; sa ne cercetam pe noi insine sa vedem daca suntem in credinta; sa ne punem sub lumina Cuvintului lui Dumnezeu, sa vedem daca nu cumva suntem inselati de subtilul nostru dusman; sa aflam daca ne zidim casa pe nisip, sau ea este ridicata pe stanca numita Isus Cristos. Fie ca Duhul Sfant sa ne cerceteze inimile, sa ne franga vointele, sa nimiceasca vrajmasia noastra fata de Dumnezeu, sa lucreze in noi o pocainta adevarata si adanca si sa ne indrepte privirile spre Mielul lui Dumnezeu care ridica pacatul lumii.

„Doctor” sau „frate”? de Arthur W. Pink

Traducerea de la situl ABaptistVoice.com (Romania)

Ce metode ciudate foloseste Dumnezeu uneori pentru a-i invata pe copiii Sai lectiile de care au mare nevoie! Aceasta a fost recent experienta autorului. Am fost contactat recent de o „universitate”pentru a accepta de la ei gradul de „D.D”. Am cerut sa mi se acorde timp pentru a cauta rugativ voia lui Dumnezeu prin Cuvantul sau scris, si mi-a venit o lumina mai mare chiar decat m-am asteptat. Aveam serioase indoieli despre permisiunea unui slujitor al lui Dumnezeu de a accepta un titlu onorific lumesc (carnal). Acum am inteles ca este gresit sa il accept, chiar fiind doar complimentar. Multi prieteni, in semn de respect, mi s-au adresat „Dr. Pink”. Eu ii rog acum sa INCETEZE a mi se mai adresa asa. Sa nu se inteleaga de aici ca eu, astfel, condamn alti oameni pentru ceea ce ei permit. Nu, fiindca in fata propriului lor Invatator ei raman in picioare sau cad. Eu am sa mentionez acum principalele pasaje care m-au ajutat pe mine, rugandu-ma ca Dumnezeu sa le faca o binecuvantare si pentru altii.

In primul rind, falsilor mangaietori ai lui Iov, Elihu (reprezentantul lui Dumnezeu) le-a spus „Nu voi cauta la infatisare, nu voi lingusi pe nimeni” (Iov 32:21).

In al doilea rand, „Voi sa nu va numiti Rabi” sau „invatatori” (Matei 23:8), ceea ce „Doctor” si inseamna. In al treilea rand, Ioan 5:44 condamna pe cei care „umbla dupa slava care v-o dati unii altora” si ne porunceste sa cautam „slava care vine de la singurul Dumnezeu”. In al patrulea rand, nici unul din slujitorii Domnului din Noul Testament nu a folosit vreodata vreun titlu. „Pavel, un apostol”, dar niciodata „apostolul Pavel”. In al cincilea rand, Fiul lui Dumnezeu S-a dezbracat pe Sine insusi” (Filipeni 2:7); este ingaduit atunci ca slujitorii sai sa urmeze un curs opus? In al saselea rand, Hristos ne porunceste sa invatam de la El, care a fost „bland si smerit” (Matei 11:29). In al saptelea rand, unul din semnele apostaziei este ca „slavesc pe oameni pentru castig” (Iuda 17). In al optulea rand, ni se porunceste sa iesim afara din tabara la Hristos, si sa „suferim ocara Lui” (Evrei 13:13).

Datorita acestor motive, nu mi se pare potrivit ca unul care este aici ca reprezentant si martor al unui Hristos „dispretuit si respins” sa fie onorat si flatat de oameni. De aceea va rog sa imi spuneti „frate Pink”.

Natura mantuirii lui Hristos denaturata de „evanghelistii” zilelor noastre

de Arthur W. Pink (traducere ABaptistVoice.com)

Natura mantuirii lui Hristos este teribil de denaturata de „evanghelistii” zilelor noastre. Ei predica un Mantuitor de iad, mai degraba decat un Mantuitor de pacat. De aceea, asa de multi sunt inselati fatal, fiindca multimi intregi vor sa scape de iazul de foc, dar nu vor sa fie eliberati de natura lor lumeasca si carnala. Primul lucru spus despre El in Noul Testament este „Si ii vei pune numele Isus, caci El va mantui pe poporul Lui (nu „de mania viitoare” ci) de pacatele sale. Hristos este Mantuitor pentru cei ce-si dau seama de pacatosenia excesiva a pacatului, care simt povara lui groaznica apasandu-le constiinta, care se detesta pe ei insisi datorita pacatului, care doresc sa fie eliberati de sub stapanirea sa teribila; Hristos nu este Mantuitor pentru nimeni altcineva. Daca El a venit sa-i „mantuiasca de iad” pe aceia care inca iubesc pacatul, El ar fi un lucrator al pacatului, iertandu-le rautatea si alaturandu-se lor impotriva lui Dumnezeu. Ce lucru oribil si blasfemie de nedescris cu care sa-L invinuiesti pe Cel Sfant!

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