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God’s Spirit preserves his people from fully falling away

The chief end for which God sends the Spirit to indwell His people is to deliver them from apostasy: to preserve them not only from the everlasting burnings, but from those things which would expose them thereto. Unless that be clearly stated, we justly lay ourselves open to the charge that this is a dangerous doctrine—making light of sin and encouraging careless living. It is not true that, if a man has once truly believed in Christ, no matter what enormities he may commit afterwards, nor what course of evil he follow, he cannot fail to reach Heaven. Not so is the teaching of Holy Writ. The Spirit does not preserve in a way of licentiousness, but only in the way of holiness. Nowhere has God promised His favour to dogs who go back to their vomit, nor to swine which return to their wallowing in the mire. The believer may indeed experience a fearful fall, yet he will not lie down content in his filth, any more than David did: “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with His hand” (Psa. 37:24).

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

We can know Christ by the Spirit

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

But some will say, “How can we remember Christ’s person, when we never saw it? We cannot tell what was the peculiar form of his visage; we believe his countenance to be fairer than that of any other man-although through grief and suffering more marred-but since we did not see it, we cannot remember it, we never saw his feet as they trod the journeys of his mercy; we never beheld his hands as he stretched them out full of lovingkindness; we cannot remember the wondrous intonation of his language, when in more than seraphic eloquence, he awed the multitude, and chained their ears to him, we cannot picture the sweet smile that ever hung on his lips nor that awful frown with which he dealt out anathemas against the Pharisees; we cannot remember him in his sufferings and agonies for we never saw him.” Well, beloved, I suppose it is true that you cannot remember the visible appearance, for you were not then born, but do you not know that even the apostle said, though he had known Christ after the flesh, yet, thenceforth after the flesh he would know Christ no more. The natural appearance, the race, the descent, the poverty, the humble garb, were nothing in the apostle’s estimation of his glorified Lord. And thus, though you do not know him after the flesh, you may know him after the spirit; in this manner you can remember Jesus as much now as Peter, or Paul, or John, or James, or any of those favored ones who once trod in his footsteps, walked side by side with him, or laid their heads upon his bosom. Memory annihilates distance and over leapeth time, and can behold the Lord, though he be exalted in glory.

Charles H. Spurgeon—The Remembrance of Christ—A sermon delivered on Sabbath Evening January 7th 1855

God preserves his people and wants us to be concerned about how he does it

September 25, 2012 Leave a comment

It may be objected that the principal thing for us to be concerned with is the blessed fact itself, and that there is no need for us to trouble ourselves about the modus operandi: let us rejoice in the truth that God does preserve His people, and not wrack our brains over how He does so. As well might the objector say the same about the redemptive work of Christ: let us be thankful that He did make an atonement, and not worry ourselves over the philosophy of it. But is it of no real importance, no value to the soul, to ascertain that Christ’s atonement was a vicarious one, that it was a definite one, and not offered at random; that it is a triumphant one, securing the actual justification of all for whom it was made? Why, my reader, it is at this very point lies the dividing-line between vital truth and fundamental error. God has done something more than record in the Gospels the historical fact of Christ’s death: He has supplied in the Epistles an explanation of its nature and design.

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

The Preservation of the saints is wrought by the work of the Spirit

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

During recent years much has been written upon the eternal security of the saints, some of it helpful, but most of it superficial and injurious. Many Scriptures have been quoted, but few of them explained. A great deal has been said about the fact of Divine preservation, but comparatively little on the method thereof. The preservation of the believer by the Father and by the Son has been given considerable prominence, but the work of the Spirit therein was largely ignored. The general impression conveyed to the thoughtful reader has been that, the “final perseverance” of the Christian is a mechanical thing rather than a spiritual process, that it is accomplished by physical force rather than by moral suasion, that it is performed by external might rather than by internal means— something like an unconscious non-swimmer being rescued from a watery grave, or a fireman carrying a swooning person out of a burning building. Such illustrations are radically faulty, utterly misleading, and pernicious in their tendency.

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

Several Principal Effects Produced by Being Transformed by the Spirit

September 11, 2012 2 comments

Here, then, are some of the principal effects produced by our being “changed,” or reformed, conformed, and transformed by the Spirit of God. There is a growing realization of the ineffable holiness of God and of the righteousness and spirituality of the Law, and the extent of its requirements. There is a deepening sense of our utter sinfulness, failure and blameworthiness, and the daily loathing of ourselves for our hard-heartedness, our base ingratitude, and the ill returns we make to God for His infinite goodness to us. There is a corresponding self-abasement, taking our place in the dust before God, and frankly owning that we are not worthy of the least of His mercies (Gen. 32:10). There is an increasing appreciation of the grace of God and of the provision He has made for us in Christ, with a corresponding longing to be done with this body of death and conformed fully to the lovely image of the Lord; which longings will be completely realized at our glorification.—A.W.P.

Arthur W. Pink–Studies in the Scriptures February, 1937 The Spirit Transforming.

We are to use the means God appointed, in order to grow

“Mine eye affecteth mine heart” (Lam. 3:51). We are influenced by the objects we contemplate, we become ostensibly assimilated to those with whom we have much intercourse, we are molded by the books we read. This same law or principle operates in the spiritual realm: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18)—beholding, we are changed. Here, then, is our responsibility: to use the means which God has appointed for our growth in grace, to be daily occupied with spiritual objects and heavenly things. Yet our study and contemplation of the Truth will not, by itself, produce any transformation: there must be a Divine application of the Truth to the heart. Apart from the Divine agency and blessing all our efforts and use of the means amount to nothing, and therefore is it added “We are changed . . .by the Spirit.”

Arthur W. Pink–Studies in the Scriptures February, 1937 The Spirit Transforming. 

Chapter XVI : Of Good Works

1. Good Works are only such as God hath (a) commanded in his Holy word; and not such as without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, (b) or upon any pretence of good intentions.

a Mic. 6.8. Heb. 13 21.

b Mat. 15.9. Isa. 29.13.

2. These good works, done in obedience to Gods commandments, are the fruits, and evidences (c) of a true, and lively faith; and by them Believers manifest their (d) thankfullness, strengthen their (e) assurance, edifie their (f) brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries and glorifie (g) God whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus (h) thereunto, that having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end (i) eternal life.

c Jam. 2.18.22.

d Ps. 116.12,13.

e 1 Joh. 2 3.5. 2 Pet. 1.5-11.

Mat. 5.16.

g 1 Tim. 6.1. 1 Pet. 2.15. Phil. 1.11

h Eph. 2.10.

i Rom. 6.22.

3. Their ability to do good works, is not at all of themselves; but wholly from the Spirit (k) of Christ; and that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is necessary an (l) actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of his good pleasure; yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty, unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in (m) stirring up the Grace of God that is in them.

k Joh. 15.4.6.

l 2 Cor. 3.5. Phil. 2.13.

m Phil. 2.12. Heb. 6.11 12. Isa. 64.7.

4. They who in their obedience attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to superrogate, and to do more then God requires, as that (n) they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.

n Job 9.23. Gal. 5.17. Luk. 17.10.

5. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of Sin or Eternal Life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfie for the debt of our (o) former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants; and because as they are good they proceed from his (p) Spirit, and as they are wrought by us they are defiled (q) and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they cannot endure the severity of Gods judgement.

o Rom. 3.20. Eph. 2.8,9.Rom. 4.6.

p Gal. 5.22,23.

q Isa. 64.6. Ps. 143 2.

6. Yet notwithstanding the persons of Believers being accepted through Christ their good works also are accepted in (r) him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreprovable in Gods sight; but that he looking upon them in his Son is pleased to accept and reward that which is (s) sincere although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

r Eph. 1.6. 1 Pet. 2.5.

s Mat. 25.21.23. Heb. 6.10

7. Works done by unregenerate men although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use, both to themselves and (t) others; yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by (u) faith, nor are done in a right manner according to the (w) word, nor to a right end the (x) glory of God; they are therefore sinful and cannot please God; nor make a man meet to receive grace from (y) God; and yet their neglect of them is more sinful and (z) displeasing to God.

t 2 King. 10.30. 1 King. 21.27,29

u Gen. 4.5. Heb. 11 4.6.

w 1 Cor. 13.1.

x Mat. 6.2.5.

y Amos 5 21,22.Rom. 9.16 Tit. 3.5.

z Job 21.14,15. Mat. 25.41,42,43.

The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith