Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink

The Sovereignty of God
By Arthur W. Pink / Baker

It was about 13 years ago now. Someone had reported me to the Elders of the church that I was attending for teaching Reformed doctrines in a weekly Bible Study. I was called into one pastor’s office to discuss the matter when the he looked at me and asked “So, what have you been reading lately, beside the Bible?”

I didn’t read much else beside the Bible at the time so I stopped to think for a minute. “Jonathan Edwards” I said, “A.W. Pink”

“Ah!”, said the pastor as his eyes narrowed, “A.W. Pink, he sees Jesus in everything!” I remember the excitement that started racing through my mind; “Wow!” I thought, “I wish I could see Jesus in everything, maybe I should read more Pink!”

But my excitement quickly dissipated as I realized the Pastor saw this as a bad thing. Nevertheless, that night cemented my admiration of A.W. Pink and I’ve been a fan ever since. If that’s the worst your detractors can say about you, you’re doing well.

While I would highly recommend most of Pinks writings, three of them stand out above the rest in my own opinion and this is one of them; The Sovereignty of God

This book has changed countless lives as it has, perhaps, been more instrumental than any other single book (at least in more modern times) in leading people to an understanding and embracing of the Sovereignty of God and the Doctrines of Grace; and what could be more life changing than to realize that you are a lifeless child of wrath lying helplessly in the hand of a Holy God who sovereignty controls everything for His own purpose? While there is probably nothing more hateful to the unredeemed than a sovereign enemy, there is certainly nothing more blessed to the redeemed than a loving, protective Father who can’t be thwarted? As Isaac Watts put it:

The more Thy glories strike mine eyes
The humbler I shall lie;
Thus, while I sink, my joys shall rise
Unmeasurably high.

If you’re not familiar with the Doctrines of Grace this is a great introduction to them.  Pink is straight forward, references a great deal of scripture, is usually very easy to read and avoids the fluffy nonsense so common in many of today’s teachers.

And if you’re already familiar with the sovereignty of God and the Doctrines of Grace you will still enjoy the reminders of these basic truths of the gospel and the many insights Pink offers.

I especially enjoyed the chapter on The Value of this Doctrine as Pink walks through some of the more practical applications of these great truths. God does not reveal these great things just to satisfy our curiosity, but edify our souls and radically change our lives!

The Contents of the Book:
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • 1. God's Sovereignty Defined
  • 2. The Sovereignty of God in Creation
  • 3. The Sovereignty of God in Administration
  • 4. The Sovereignty of God in Salvation
  • 5. The Sovereignty of God in Reprobation
  • 6. The Sovereignty of God in Operation
  • 7. God's Sovereignty and the Human Will
  • 8. God's Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
  • 9. God's Sovereignty and Prayer
  • 10. Our Attitude towards God's Sovereignty
  • 11. Difficulties and Objections
  • 12. The Value of this Doctrine
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix 1. The Will of God
  • Appendix 2. The Case of Adam
  • Appendix 3. The Meaning of "KOSMOS" in John 3:16
  • Appendix 4. 1 John 2.2
Some good quotes from the book:

Real Rest:

“Ah, dear reader, there is no real rest for your poor heart until you learn to see the hand of God in everything.”

The Beauty of Truth:

“Almost all doctrinal error is, really, Truth perverted, Truth wrongly divided, Truth disproportionately held and taught. The fairest face on earth, with the most comely fea­tures, would soon become ugly and unsightly, if one member continued growing while the others remained undeveloped. Beauty is, primarily, a matter of proportion. Thus it is with the Word of God: its beauty and blessedness are best per­ceived when its manifold wisdom is exhibited in its true pro­portions…”

The God of the Popular Mind:

“How different is the God of the Bible from the God of modern Christendom! The conception of Deity which pre­vails most widely today, even among those who profess to give heed to the Scriptures, is a miserable caricature, a pathetic travesty of the Truth.   The God of the twentieth century is a helpless, effeminate being who commands the re­spect of no really thoughtful man.   The God of the popular mind is the creation of a maudlin sentimentality.  The God of many a present-day pulpit is an object of pity rather than of awe-inspiring reverence…”

The Cause of Election:

“A remnant according to the election of grace."    Here the cause of election is traced back to its source.   The basis-upon which God elected this "remnant" was not faith fore­seen in them, because a choice founded upon the foresight of good works is just as truly made on the ground of works as any choice can be, and in such a case, it would not be "of grace "; for, says the apostle, " if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace"; which means that grace and works are opposites, they have nothing in common, and will no more mingle than will oil and water.   Thus the idea of inherent good foreseen in those chosen, or of anything meritorious performed by them, is rigidly excluded.   "A remnant according to the election of grace," signifies an unconditional choice resulting from the sovereign favour of God; in a word, it is absolutely a gratu­itous election.”

Salvation and Means:

“It is to "salvation” itself that God hath chosen us….we are warned here that election unto salvation does not dis­regard the use of appropriate means:  salvation is reached through "sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." It is not true that, because God has chosen a certain one to salvation, he will be saved willy-nilly, whether he believes or not: nowhere do the Scriptures so represent it.   The same God who predestined the end, also appointed the means; the same God who "chose unto salvation," decreed that His purpose should be realized through the work of the Spirit and belief of the truth...”

The Unassailable Comfort of God's People:

“…instead of shrinking back in horror from the doc­trine of predestination, the believer, when he sees this blessed truth, as it is unfolded in the Word, discovers a ground for gratitude and thanksgiving such as nothing else affords, save the unspeakable gift of the Redeemer Himself…. herein lies the unassailable comfort of God's people.   If His choice has been from eternity it will last to eternity!”

Faith; Gods Gift:

"What was there in the elect themselves which attracted God's heart to them? Was it because of certain virtues they possessed? because they were generous-hearted, sweet-tem­pered, truth-speaking? in a word, because they were " good," that God chose them? No; for our Lord said, "There is none good but one, that is God " (Matt. 19:17). Was it be­cause of any good works they had performed? No; for it is written, "There is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:13). Was it because they evidenced an earnestness and zeal in inquiring after God? No; for it is written again, "There is none that seeketh after God" (Rom. 3: 11). Was it because God foresaw they would believe? No; for how can those who are "dead in trespasses and sins" believe in Christ? How could God foreknow some men as believers when belief was impossible to them? Scripture declares that we "believe through grace" (Acts i8:»7). Faith is God's gift, and apart from this gift none would believe. The cause of His choice then lies within Himself and not in the objects of His choice. He chose the ones He did, simply because He chose to choose them.”

The New Birth:
"When all Thy mercies O my God
My wondering soul surveys,
Transported with the view I’m lost
In wonder, love and praise."

Doctrine:

“A LL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for in­struction in righteousness: that the man of God may be per­fect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (s Tim. 3: 16, 17). "Doctrine" means "teaching" and it is by doctrine or teaching that the great realities of God and of our relation to Him—of Christ, the Spirit, salvation, grace, glory, are made known to us. It is by doctrine (through the power of the Spirit) that believers are nourished and edified, and where doctrine is neglected, growth in grace and effective witnessing for Christ necessarily cease. How sad then that doctrine is now decried as "unpractical" when, in fact, doc­trine is the very basis of the practical life. There is an in­separable connection between belief and practice—"As he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Pro. 23: 7). The relation be­tween Divine truth and Christian character is that of cause to effect—"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free " (John 8: 32)—free from ignorance, free from prejudice, free from error, free from the wiles of Satan, free from the power of evil; and if the truth is not "known" then such freedom will not be enjoyed.”

More Doctrine:

“The substitution of so-called "practical" preaching for the doctrinal exposition which it has supplanted is the root cause of many of the evil maladies which now afflict the church of God. The reason why there is so little depth, so little in­telligence, so little grasp of the fundamental verities of Chris­tianity, is because so few believers have been established in the faith through hearing the doctrines of grace ex­pounded, and through their own personal study of them. While the soul is unestablished in the doctrine of the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures—their full and verbal inspira­tion—there can be no firm foundation for faith to rest upon. While the soul is ignorant of the doctrine of Justification, there can be no real and intelligent assurance of its accept­ance in the Beloved. While the soul is unacquainted with the teaching of the Word upon Sanctification, it is open to receive all the errors of Perfectionism or other wrong teach­ing. And so we might go on right through the entire range of Christian doctrine. It is ignorance of doctrine that has rendered the professing church helpless to cope with the ris­ing tide of infidelity. It is ignorance of doctrine which is mainly responsible for thousands of professing Christians being captivated by the numerous false "isms" of the day. It is because the time has now arrived when the bulk of our churches "will not endure sound doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:3) that they so readily receive false doctrines.”

Sovereignty; the Center of Gravity:

“The doctrine of God's sove­reignty lies at the foundation of Christian theology, and in importance is perhaps second only to the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures. It is the centre of gravity in the system of Christian truth; the sun around which all the lesser orbs are grouped; the cord upon which all other doctrines are strung like so many pearls, holding them in place and giving them unity. It is the plumbline by which every creed needs to be tested; the balance in which every human dogma must be weighed. It is designed as the sheet-anchor for our souls amid the storms of life. The doctrine of God's sovereignty is a Divine cordial to refresh our spirits. It is designed and adapted to mould the affections of the heart, and to give a right direction to conduct. It produces gratitude in pros­perity and patience in adversity. It affords comfort for the present and a sense of security respecting the unknown future. It is, and it does, all and much more than we have just said, because it ascribes to God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—the glory which is His due, and places the creature in his proper place before Him—in the dust.”

70163: The Sovereignty of God The Sovereignty of God
By Arthur W. Pink / Baker

CBD says: "Who controls this world? God or the Devil? Pink asks this in this introductory study of the sovereignty of God. To relieve the panic-stricken believer Pink's answer encour√łages us to '' Fear not! . . . all things are working together for good to them that love God . . . '' Quoting freely from Scripture he searches the Scriptures and tackles the profoundest questions, responding in language written for the ease and interest of any layperson. 261 pages, paper from Baker."

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