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A word now upon ‘the Spirit’s application’

January 14, 2014 1 comment

Arthur PinkA word now upon the Spirit’s application of the Word unto the heart, and our task is completed. This is described in such a verse as,

 

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).

 

That is very much more than having the mind informed or the emotions stirred, and something radically different from being deeply impressed by the preacher’s oratory, earnestness, etc. It is for the preaching of the Gospel to be accompanied by the supernatural operation of the Spirit, and the efficacious grace of God, so that souls are Divinely quickened, convicted, converted, delivered from the dominion of sin and Satan. When the Word is applied by the Spirit to a person, it acts like the entrance of a two-edged sword into his inner man, piercing, wounding, slaying his self complacency and self-righteousness—as in the case of Saul of Tarsus (Romans 7:9,10). This is the “demonstration of the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:4), whereby He gives proof of the Truth by the effects produced in the individual to which it is sayingly applied, so that he has “much assurance”—i.e. he knows it is God’s Word because of the radical and permanent change wrought in him.

Now the child of God is in daily need of this gracious working of the Holy Spirit: to make the Word work “effectually” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) within his soul and truly regulate his life, so that he can thankfully acknowledge,

 

“I will never forget Thy precepts: for with them Thou hast quickened me” (Psalm 119:93).

 

For that quickening it is his duty and privilege to pray (verses 25, 37, 40, 88, 107, 149, etc.). It is a fervent request that he may be “renewed day by day” in the inner man (2 Corinthians 4:16), that he may be “strengthened with might by His Spirit” (Ephesians 3:16), that he may be revived and animated to go in the path of God’s commandments (Psalm 119:35). It is an earnest petition that his heart may be awed by a continual sense of God’s majesty, and melted by a realization of His goodness, so that he may see light in God’s light, recognizing the evil in things forbidden and the blessedness of the things enjoined. “Quicken Thou me” is a prayer for vitalizing grace, that he may be taught to profit (Isaiah 48:17), for the increasing of his faith, the strengthening of his expectations, the firing of his zeal. It is equivalent to “draw me, we will run after Thee” (Song of Solomon 1:4).

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

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A brief word upon ‘double application’

January 7, 2014 1 comment

Arthur PinkA brief word upon double application. Whereas preachers should ever be on their guard against taking the children’s bread and casting it to the dogs, by applying to the unsaved promises given to or statements made concerning the saints; on the other hand, they need to remind believers of the continuous force of the Scriptures and their present suitability to their cases. For instance, the gracious invitation of Christ,

 

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28),

 

and

 

“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink” (John 7:37),

 

must not be limited to our first approach to the Saviour as lost sinners, but as 1 Peter 2:4 says, “to whom coming”—in the present tense. Note too the “mourn” and not “have mourned” in Matthew 5:4, and “hunger” in verse 6. In like manner, the self-abasing word, “Who maketh thee to differ!” (1 Corinthians 4:7) today: first from the unsaved; second from what we were before the new birth; and third from other Christians with less grace and gifts. Why, a sovereign God, and therefore you have nothing to boast of and no cause for self-glorying.

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

Christ and the apostles drew off the Old Testament when speaking to the Church Part 2

December 24, 2013 1 comment

Arthur PinkThe unspeakably solemn commission given to Isaiah concerning his apostate generation (Isaiah 6:9,10) was applied by Christ to the people of His day, saying: “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah” (Matthew 13:14,15). Again, in Isaiah 29:13, Isaiah announced that the Lord said, “This people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me,” while in Matthew 15:7 we find Christ saying to the scribes and Pharisees, “Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth,” etc. Even more striking is Christ’s rebuke unto the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection of the body,

                           

“Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:31,32).

 

What God spoke immediately to Moses at the burning bush was designed equally for the instruction and comfort of all men unto the end of the world. What the Lord has said unto a particular person, He says unto everyone who is favored to read His Word. Thus does it concern us to hear and heed the same, for by that Word we shall be judged in the last great day (John 12:48).

The fundamental principle for which we are here contending is plainly expressed again by Christ in Mark 13:37, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” That exhortation to the Apostles is addressed directly to the saints in all generations and places. As Owen well said, “The Scriptures speak to every age, every church, every person, not less than to those to whom they were first directed. This showeth us how we should be affected in reading the Word: we should read it as a letter written by the Lord of grace from heaven, to us by name.” If there be any books in the New Testament particularly restricted, it is the “pastoral Epistles,” yet the exhortation found in 2 Timothy 2:19, is generalized: “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” Those who are so fond of restricting God’s Word would say that, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (verse 3) is addressed to the minister of the Gospel, and pertains not to the rank and file of believers.

But Ephesians 6:10-17 shows (by necessary implication) that it applies to all the saints, for the militant figure is again used, and used there without limitation. The Bullinger school insist that James and Peter—who gave warning of those who in the last time should walk after their own ungodly lusts—wrote to Jewish believers; but Jude (addressed to all the sanctified) declares they “told you” (verse 18).

 

“Ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord” (Hebrews 12:5).

 

That exhortation is taken from Proverbs 3:11, so that here is further evidence that the precepts of the Old Testament (like its promises) are not restricted unto those who were under the Mosaic economy, but apply with equal directness and force to those under the new covenant. Observe well the tense of the verb “which speaketh”: though written a thousand years previously, Paul did not say “which hath spoken”—the Scriptures are a living Word through which their Author speaks today. Note too “which speaketh unto you”—New Testament saints: all that is contained in the book of Proverbs is as truly and as much the Father’s instruction to Christians as the contents of the Pauline Epistles. Throughout that book God addresses us individually as “My son” (Proverbs 2:1; 3:1; 4:1; 5:1).

That exhortation is as urgently needed by believers now as by any who lived in former ages. Though children of God, we are still children of Adam—willful, proud, independent, requiring to be disciplined, to be under the Father’s rod, to bear it meekly, and to be exercised thereby in our hearts and consciences.

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

How is a Christian to apply Genesis 17:1 to himself?

December 10, 2013 2 comments

PinkLet us take Genesis 17:1 as a simple illustration. “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect” or “sincere.” How is the Christian to apply such a verse unto himsef? First of all, let him note to whom this signal favour and honour was shown: namely to him who is the “father of all them that believe” (Romans 4:11,12,16)—and he was the first person in the world to whom the Lord is said to have appeared! Second, observe when it was that Jehovah appeared unto him: namely in his old age, when nature’s force was spent and death was written on the flesh. Third, mark attentively the particular character in which the Lord was now revealed to him: “the Almighty God,” or more literally “El Shaddai”—”the all-sufficient God.” Fourth, consider the exhortation which accompanied the same: “walk before Me, and be thou sincere.” Fifth, ponder those details in the light of the immediate sequel; God’s making promise that he should beget a son by Sarah, who was long past the age of child-bearing (verses 15-19). Everything that is for God must be effected by His mighty power: He can and must do everything—the flesh profits nothing, no movement of mere nature is of any avail.

Now as the believer ponders that memorable incident, hope should be inspired within him. El Shaddai is as truly his God as He was Abraham’s! That is clear from 2 Corinthians 7:1, for one of those promises is,

 

“I will be a Father unto you….saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:18),

 

and from Revelation 1:8, where the Lord Jesus says unto the churches, “I am Alpha and Omega….the Almighty.” It is a declaration of His omnipotence, to whom all things are possible. “The all-sufficient God” tells of what He is in Himself—independent, self-existent; and what He is unto His people—the Supplier of their every need. When Christ said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” it was all one with what Jehovah said unto Abraham. Doubtless the Lord appeared unto the patriarch in visible (and human) form: He does so to us before the eyes of faith. Often He is pleased to meet with us in the ordinances of His grace, and send us on our way rejoicing. Sometimes He “manifests” Himself (John 14:21) to us in the retirements of privacy. Frequently He appears for us in His providences, showing Himself strong on our behalf. Now, says He, “Walk before Me sincerely” in the believing realization that I am all-sufficient for thee, conscious of My almightiness, and all will be well with thee.

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

The promises exhort Christians and assures them of God’s assistance

November 19, 2013 1 comment

Arthur PinkCommenting on Hebrews 13:6 Pink states:

Let us now observe closely the use which the Apostle made of that ancient but ever-living promise.

First, he here availed himself of it in order to enforce his exhortation unto Christians to the duties of mortification and sanctification.

Second, he draws a logical and practical inference from the same, declaring,

 

“So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).

 

Thus a double conclusion is reached: such a promise is to inspire all believers with confidence in God’s succour and assistance, and with boldness and courage before men—showing us to what purpose we should put the Divine pledges. Those conclusions are based upon the character of the Promiser: because God is infinitely good, faithful, and powerful, and because He changes not, I may trustfully declare with Abraham, “God will provide” (Genesis 22:8); with Jonathan, “There is no restraint to the Lord” (1 Samuel 14:6); with Jehoshaphat, “None is able to withstand Him” (2 Chronicles 20:6); with Paul, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). The abiding presence of the all-sufficient Lord ensures help, and therefore any alarm at man’s enmity should be removed from our hearts. My worst enemy can do nothing against me without my Savior’s permission.

 

“So that we may boldly say [freely, without hesitating through unbelief], The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

 

Note attentively the change in number from the plural to the singular, and learn therefrom that general principles are to be appropriated by us in particular, as general precepts are to be taken by us personally—the Lord Jesus individualized the “ye shall not tempt the Lord your God” of Deuteronomy 6:16, when assailed by Satan, saying,

 

“It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7).

 

It is only by taking the Divine promises and precepts unto ourselves personally that we can “mix faith” with the same, or make a proper and profitable use of them. It is also to be carefully noted that once more the Apostle confirmed his argument by a Divine testimony, for the words “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” are not his own, but a quotation of those use by David in Psalm 118:6. Thus again we are shown that the language of the Old Testament is exactly suited to the cases and circumstances of Christians today, and that it is their right and privilege freely to appropriate the same.

“We may boldly say” just what the Psalmist did when he was sorely pressed. It was during a season of acute distress that David expressed his confidence in the living God, at a time when it looked as though his enemies were on the point of swallowing him up; but viewing the omnipotence of Jehovah and contrasting His might with the feebleness of the creature, his heart was strengthened and emboldened. But let the reader clearly perceive what that implied. It means that David turned his mind away from the seen to the unseen. It means that he was regulated by faith, rather than by sight— feelings or reasonings. It means that his heart was occupied with the Almighty. But it means much more: he was occupied with the relationship of that omnipotent One unto himself. It means that he recognized and realized the spiritual bond there was between them, so that he could truly and rightly aver, “the Lord is my helper.” If He be my God, my Redeemer, my Father, then He may be counted upon to undertake for me when I am sorely oppressed, when my foes threaten to devour me, when my barrel of meal is almost empty. That “my” is the language of faith, and is the conclusion which faith’s assurance draws from the infallible promise of Him that cannot lie.

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

Pink quotes Owen concerning Hebrews 13:5 and the promises of God

November 12, 2013 3 comments

Arthur PinkBut if the believer gives way to unbelief, the devil is very apt to tell him, That promise belongs not unto you. You are not the captain of armies, commissioned by God to overthrow the forces of an enemy: the virtue of that promise ceased when Canaan was conquered and died with him to whom it was made. Instead, as Owen pointed out in his comments on Hebrews 13:5,

 

“To manifest the sameness of love that is in all the promises, with their establishment in the one Mediator, and the general concern of believers in every one of them, howsoever and on what occasion given to any, this promise to Joshua is here applied to the condition of the weakest, meanest, and poorest of the saints; to all and every one of them, be their case and condition what it will. And doubtless, believers are not a little wanting in themselves and their own consolation, that they do so more particularly close with those words of truth, grace, and faithfulness, which upon sundry occasions and at divers times have been given out unto the saints of old, even Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and the residue of them, who walked with God in their generation: these things in an especial manner are recorded for our consolation.”

 

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

Proof that the Old Testament promises belong unto present-day saints

November 5, 2013 3 comments

Arthur PinkA striking and conclusive proof that the Old Testament promises belong unto present-day saints is found in Hebrews 13:5, where practical use is again made of the same. There Christians are exhorted, “Let your conversation be without covetousness: be content with such things as ye have.” That exhortation is enforced by this gracious consideration: “for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Since the living God be your portion your heart should rejoice in Him, and all anxiety about the supply of your every need be for ever removed. But what we are now more especially concerned with is the promise here cited: “For He hath said, I will never leave thee,” etc. And to whom was that promise first given? Why, to the one who was about to lead Israel into the land of Canaan—as a reference to Joshua 1:5 shows. Thus it was made to a particular person on a special occasion, to a general who was to prosecute a great war under the immediate command of God. Facing that demanding ordeal, Joshua received assurance from God that His presence should ever be with him.

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism