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The law of cause and effect

24. The law of cause and effect. By this we mean the observing and tracing out of the connection which exists between certain notable events in the life of an individual or nation and what led up to the same. For instance, the closing events recorded in the sad history of Lot startle and stagger us by their deplorable and revolting nature; yet if we carefully ponder all that preceded, then the tragic finale can almost be anticipated. Or take the better-known case of Simon Peter’s denial of Christ, which seems to be altogether out of keeping with what we know of his character. Strange indeed is the anomaly presented: that the one who feared not to step out of the ship and walk on the sea to his beloved Master, and who boldly drew his sword and smote off the ear of the high priest’s servant when a strong force came to arrest the Savior, should tremble in the presence of a maid, and be afraid to own the Lord Jesus! Nevertheless, his melancholy fall was not an isolated event having no relation to what had gone before: rather was it all of a piece with his previous attitude and actions, being the logical, and virtually the inevitable, sequel to them. These are examples of a numerous class of cases, and they should be carefully borne in mind as we read the biographical portions of Scripture.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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In the seven miracles recorded in John’s Gospel we may discern a striking order of thought as they portray Christ communicating life to His people

In the seven miracles recorded in John’s Gospel we may discern a striking order of thought as they portray Christ communicating life to His people. In His turning of the water into wine at the Cana marriage feast (John 2:6-11) we are shown, symbolically, our need of life—Christ supplying what was lacking. In the healing of the nobleman’s son (4:47-54), who was “at the point of death,” we have pictured the be stowment of life. In the healing of the impotent man (5:3-9) we behold the power of life, enabling a helpless cripple to rise up and walk. In the feeding of the multitude (6:11) we see how graciously Christ sustains our life. In His going to the fearful disciples on the storm-swept sea we witness Him defending their lives, delivering them from danger. In the response made by the blind man whose eyes Christ opened (9:7, 38) we learn what is to he the occupation of life—he worshipped Him: in this way, supremely, we are to employ the new nature. In the raising of Lazarus from the sepulcher (11:44) we have the consummation of life, for the resurrection of the saints is the prelude to their eternal felicity.

The teaching of our Lord concerning the Holy Spirit’s operations within and toward the saints follows an instructive and a climacteric order.

First, He made mention of being “horn of the Spirit” (3:6, 8), for quickening is His initial operation upon the elect.

Second, by means of figurative language (cf. 3:5), He spoke of the Spirit’s indwelling: “the water that I shall give him shall he in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (4:14).

Third, He declared that there should he a breaking forth of the same, and a refreshing of others: “out of his belly [or innermost part] shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit” (7:38, 39).

Fourth, He promised that the blessed Spirit should he theirs permanently: “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever” (14:16).

Fifth, He announced that the Spirit would fully instruct them: “He shall teach you all things” (14:26).

Sixth, He declared that the Spirit should both testify of Him and equip them to testify unto Him: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me: and ye also shall hear witness” (15:26, 27).

Seventh, Christ asserted that the Spirit should magnify Him: “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you” (14:14), making Me altogether lovely in your eyes.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Another example of how scripture is set down in an orderly fashion

“And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

This is one of the passages (see also the Messianic Psalms) which gives us some insight into the nature of His supplications. As they heard Him, the disciples felt they knew nothing about prayer!

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon…I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:31, 32).

There we behold Him as the great High Priest making intercession for one of His own. And He “kneeled down and prayed, saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:41, 42).

There is the climax of prayer: complete surrender to and acquiescence in the Divine will.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Here is an example of how scripture is set forth in an orderly fashion

The special design of Luke was to set forth the perfections of our Lord’s humanity, and it is very blessed to trace out the different passages in his Gospel where Christ is seen as a Man of prayer. “It came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened” (Luke 3:21). Luke is the only one who supplies this significant detail, and a most precious one it is. The Savior’s baptism marked the end of His private life, and the beginning of His official mission. And here we learn that He was in the act of devotion at the very outset of His public ministry. He was engaged in dedicating Himself unto God, seeking grace for the stupendous work that lay before Him. Thus the first sight which the multitude had of Him was in prayer! “And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed” (v. 16). This occurred just after His miracles of mercy, when there went “a fame abroad of Him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him.” His response to this show of popularity was striking, and full of instruction for His servants. He retired from the acclaims of the masses, and got alone with God. Again,

“He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12).

This followed immediately after the scribes and Pharisees were “filled with madness” against Him, and right before He selected the twelve. Our Redeemer made no attempt to fight His enemies, but retired to commune with the Father. Before calling the apostles, He spent the night petitioning God.

“And it came to pass, as He was alone praying, His disciples were with Him: and He asked them saying, Whom say the people that I am?” (Luke 9:18).

This was just following His feeding of the multitude: after engaging in public duty, He withdrew in order to have private devotion. We may infer from the question which He asked His disciples that the unbelief of men was beginning to cast a shadow upon His soul, and that He now sought relief and strength from above.

“And went up into the mountain to pray. And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistening” (Luke 9:28, 29).

It was while engaged in prayer that Christ was transfigured— how significant, and instructive!

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

More examples of how scripture has been set forth in an orderly fashion

December 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Let the student pay close attention to the order followed in these additional examples, which we leave him to work out for himself. The miracles of Christ in Matthew 8 and 9. The seven parables in Matthew 13. The sevenfold result of justification as set forth in Romans 5:1-11. The seven graces of 2 Peter 1:5 7, the presence and cultivation of which enables the saint to make his calling and election sure both to himself and his fellows, for the “these things” of verse 10 are those mentioned in verses 5-7. Everything in Scripture is according to definite design.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

There is perfect order in the model prayer Christ has given His disciples

December 19, 2017 Leave a comment

What anointed eye can fail to see the perfect order of the model prayer Christ has given His disciples? In it He has supplied, a simple but comprehensive directory: revealing how God is to be approached by His children, the order in which their requests are to be presented, the things they most need to ask for, and the homage due unto Him. Every aspect of prayer is included: adoration, supplication, argumentation. Every clause in it occurs in the Old Testament, denoting that our prayers must be scriptural if they are to be acceptable (1 John 5:14). Its petitions are seven in number, showing the completeness of the outline here furnished. All its pronouns are in the plural, teaching the Christian that the needs of his brethren and sisters, and not merely his own, should be before him when he bows at the throne of grace.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

The beatitudes have also been arranged in logical order and necessary sequence

December 12, 2017 Leave a comment

The order of the beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-11, is full of valuable instruction, and we miss much by failing to attend closely thereto. In the first four we are shown the heart-exercises of those who have been awakened by the Spirit. First, there is a sense of need, a realization of their nothingness and emptiness. Second, there is a judging of self, a consciousness of guilt and sorrowing over their lost condition. Third, an end of attempting to justify themselves, an abandonment of all pretences to personal merit, a taking of their place in the dust before God. Fourth, the eye of the soul is turned away from self to Another: they are conscious of their dire need of salvation. The next four describe the fruits found in the regenerate. Thus, in those beatitudes Christ gives the distinguishing birthmarks of those who are the subjects of His kingdom, and makes known the ones on whom God’s benediction rests.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures