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Fresh supplies of the Spirit bring new strength and comfort

January 1, 2013 1 comment

Arthur Pink“For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith” (Gal. 5:5). It is the stirrings of hope, however faint, which keeps the soul alive in seasons of disappointment and despondency. But for the renewings of the gracious Spirit, the believer would relinquish his hope and sink into abject despair. “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert” (Isa. 35:5, 6): it is by fresh supplies of the Spirit (Phil. 1:19) that there comes not only further light, but new strength and comfort. Amid the perturbations caused by indwelling sin and the anguish from our repeated defeats, it is one of the Spirit’s greatest works to sustain the soul by the expectation of things to come.

Arthur W. Pink—Studies in the Scriptures April, 1937 The Spirit Preserving

Proof that the warnings are towards the church body

December 26, 2012 Leave a comment

To the Churches as bodies, so composed, are all the fearful passages in question addressed. To the members of the Church at Rome for example, Paul said―”If ye live after the flesh ye shall die.”

To those of the Churches of Galatia, “Be not deceived God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap; for he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption.”

To the members of the old Jewish Church the prophet Ezekiel said―”When the righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he love? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned; in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sins that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.”

Does any one deny that these, and all similar threatenings, are, in fact, addressed to the members of the Churches. If they are not addressed to members of the Churches, they can have no influence upon the argument; they are directed to those who are not members, and whose claims to religion, since all truly religious men unite with the Churches, are at best, exceedingly questionable. They are in truth, however, addressed to the Churches, all of whose members are professedly righteous, and claim to be accepted of God through Christ. They are so regarded by their brethren, and by all others. For a season, they all act in accordance with their profession. No difference in zeal, and good works, can be perceived between the truly converted and unconverted. They all, whatever may be really the fact, bear the same character. They are known as Christians―men of God.

R. B. C. Howell—Perseverance of the Saints

The Spirit constrains our new nature and restrains the old nature

December 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Arthur Pink“I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me” (Jer. 32:40). This statement casts much light upon the means and method employed by God in the preserving of His people. The indwelling Spirit not only constrains the new nature by considerations drawn from the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:14), but He also restrains the old nature by a sense of God’s majesty. He often drops an awe on the believer’s heart, which holds him back from running into that excess of riot which his lusts would carry him unto. The Spirit makes the soul to realise that God is not to be trifled with, and delivers from wickedly presuming upon His mercy. He stimulates a spirit of filial reverence in the saint, so that he shuns those things which would dishonour his Father. He causes us to heed such a word as “Be not highminded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee” (Rom. 11:20, 21). By such means does God fulfill His promise “I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes” (Ezek. 36:27).

Arthur W. Pink—Studies in the Scriptures April, 1937 The Spirit Preserving

The threats and warnings in scripture are addressed to the church body

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

The threatenings, cautions, and warnings, with which the word of God every where abounds, imply, it is alleged, if they do not aver, the probability that some true christians will apostatise, and forever perish. They are therefore presented as a second objection to the doctrine it is my purpose to establish.

That such threatenings and cautions, and warnings, are of constant recurrence in the divine word, and that they are in their character, appalling, is most true. The premises are therefore cheerfully conceded, but the conclusion from thence, does not appear to me, by any means natural, or a matter of course. The reasoning is illogical, as I shall presently fully demonstrate. Let two important facts be here fixed carefully in the mind. The Church of Christ is composed, not of the regenerate alone, but of the unregenerate also. This is the first fact. The second is, that all these threatenings, and cautions, and warnings, are addressed to the members of the Church as a body. Both these truths will, I suppose, be readily admitted by all.

But I would be fully understood, and therefore, will refer you to testimony. I do not admit that the unconverted have any right to a place in the Churches. The word of God, we very well know, does not approve their admission. On the contrary, it is strictly prohibited. But those who administer the affairs of the kingdom of Christ upon earth, are men. They are imperfect; their administration also must therefore be imperfect. Our best efforts may be exerted to preserve the body pure from unworthy members, but we cannot read men’s hearts, and in despite of all our vigilance, very many find their way into the Church, who are strangers to repentance and faith; some probably, for some reasons, seeking to appear what they know they are not; and others candid, and sincere, but misled, and deceived. I state the simple fact that there are unconverted men in the Churches. So it has been in every age―-in apostolic as well as in our own times. A Judas, and a Simon Magus, were then members of the Churches, and stood side by side, with a James, and a John. So now, the converted and the unconverted, the eminently holy, and the profoundly depraved, meet and mingle in the sanctuary, and at the very table of the Lord. Such, to a greater or less extent, are all the Churches. This we know to be true, by the institution in the word of God of disciplinary measures to exclude the unworthy when discovered, and by our own personal observation.

R. B. C. Howell—Perseverance of the Saints

Can Christians fall and be lost?

December 12, 2012 Leave a comment

But our first parents also fell from their original state of holiness. If so, may not christians under similar influences, fall and be lost?

This proposition demands our serious investigation. I observe, that between their primitive condition, and that of truly regenerated men of subsequent ages, no such similarity exists, as will admit of conclusive reasoning from the one to the other. Let several facts, evincive of the truth of this statement, be considered. You will, in the first place, remember that the covenant of God with them was wholly different from that upon which you now stand. To Adam Jehovah said―”Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not ear of it; for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.”

The obligation of this covenant was a simple negative, upon a single point. How easy would have been compliance. The conditions were explicit―obey, and live; disobey, and die. The result need not be repeated.

With this, contrast the Gospel Covenant―”I will put my laws into their mind, (saith Jehovah) and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest; for I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins, and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

Well may this be distinguished as “the covenant of grace!” How utterly unlike the Adamic. With our first parents all was unbending justice; with you all is favor, mercy, boundless forbearance. In the covenant with them, no provision was made for the pardon of sin; in the Gospel covenant, this is one of the strongest features. Besides all this, they were, until they sinned, utter strangers to pain, and sorrow, and wasting wretchedness. They had not experience of evil. You have known all its bitterness. And further, They disposed of their own life, and alas! incurred its dreadful forfeiture! “Ye are lead (to sin) and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also, appear with his in glory.”

Their condition was wholly different from yours. Almost its antipodes. The reasoning from analogy therefore―is here clearly out of place―it is not legitimate. Neither, as you now see, from the fall of angels nor of our first parents, from their original state of holiness, can any valid arguments be adduced, proving that regenerated men, once depraved and sinful, but now redeemed and sanctified, are liable to “loose their faith, and regeneration, or to continue in apostasy, and so eternally perish.” The objection is without relevancy, or force.

R. B. C. Howell—Perseverance of the Saints

The Spirit preserves us in this world

The preservation of God’s people through all the vicissitudes of their pilgrim journey is accomplished, immediately, by the Holy Spirit. He it is who watches over the believer, delivering him when he knows it not; keeping him from living in the world’s sinks of iniquity, lifting up a standard when the Enemy comes like a flood against him (Isa. 59:19). He it is who keeps him from accepting those fatal heresies which deceive and destroy so many empty professors. He it is who prevents his becoming contented with a mere “letter” ministry or satisfied with head-knowledge and notional religion. And how does the Spirit accomplish the Christian’s preservation? By sustaining the new nature within him, and calling it forth into exercise and act. By working such graces in him that he becomes “established” (2 Cor. 1:21). By keeping him conscious of his utter ruin and deep need of Christ. By bringing him to a concurrence with His gracious design, moving him to use appropriate means.

Arthur W. Pink—Studies in the Scriptures April, 1937 The Spirit Preserving

God provides the means to the end

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

A third preliminary remark―Final perseverance in grace is never accomplished without the divinely appointed instrumentalities. The means, and the ends, are invariably associated. And will believers in Christ always employ those means? If they do, the result can never be doubtful. Messiah himself says they will. If a man love me he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.””This is the love of God that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous.”The saints of the Redeemer―

 

“Have proclaimed him King, and in their hearts His title is engraven, with a pen Dipt in the fountain of eternal love,”

 

With these considerations before you, we proceed to weigh carefully, and prayerfully, in the balances of divine truth, the principal objections to the conclusion that all believers in Christ will persevere in grace unto the attainment of final and complete salvation, never “totally losing their faith, and regeneration,” but pressing onward till they reach, and wear, the crown of eternal life.

 

R. B. C. Howell—Perseverance of the Saints