A. W. Pink – The Rest of Christ

“Come unto Me all you that labor and are heavy laden—and I will give you rest!” Matthew 11:28

In his most excellent sermons on these words and the verses which follow, John Newton pointed out that the dispensation of the Gospel may be compared to the cities of refuge in Israel. It was a privilege and honor to the nation in general that they had such sanctuaries of Divine appointment—but the real value of them was known and felt by only a few. Those alone who found themselves in that case for which they were provided — could rightly prize them.

Thus it is with the Gospel of Christ: it is the highest privilege and honor of which a professing nation can boast—but it can be truly understood and esteemed by none except weary and heavy laden souls, who have felt their misery by nature, are tired of the drudgery of sin, and have seen the broken Law pursuing them like the avenger of blood of old. This is the only consideration which keeps them from sinking into abject despair, in that God has graciously provided a remedy by the Gospel and that Christ bids them “Come unto Me—and I will give you rest.”

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A. W. Pink – A Contrite and Humble Spirit (Isaiah 57:15)

“For this is what the high and lofty One says—He who lives forever, whose name is holy: I live in a high and holy place—but also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit.” – Isaiah 57:15

A humble spirit or heart, is an infallible sign of regeneration; for the unregenerate are proud, self-satisfied, self-righteous.

Yet the very mention of the word “humility” seems to cut off many Christians. As they examine themselves, they discover so much pride at work within, that they are quite unable to persuade themselves that they have a humble heart. It seems to them—that humility is one thing they most evidently lack. Now it will no doubt be a startling statement—but we unhesitatingly affirm that the great majority of God’s people are far more humble than they suppose!

FIRST, that the Christian reader possesses a humble heart, is plain from the fact that he confesses himself to be a Hell-deserving sinner. We do not have in mind what you say of yourself when in the company of your fellows — but rather what you feel and say of yourself when alone with God. Whatever pretenses you are guilty of before men—when in the presence of the Omniscient One—you are real, sincere, and genuine.

Now, dear reader, be honest with yourself: When on your knees before the Throne of Grace, do you freely and frankly acknowledge that if you received your lawful due, you would—even now—be suffering the dreadful fires of Hell? If so, a miracle of grace must have been wrought within you. No unregenerate person will or can honestly make such a confession to God—for he does not feel he has done anything deserving of eternal punishment.

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A. W. Pink – The Nature of God’s Love

Three things are told us in Scripture concerning the nature of God. First, “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). In the Greek, there is no indefinite article. To say God is “a” spirit is most objectionable, for it places Him in a class with others. God is spirit in the highest sense. Because He is spirit, He is incorporeal, [that is,] having no visible substance. Had God a tangible body, He would not be omnipresent, He would be limited to one place; because He is spirit, He fills heaven and earth.

Second, “God is light” (1 John 1:5), the opposite of darkness. In Scripture, “darkness” stands for sin, evil, death, and “light” for holiness, goodness, life. “God is light” means that He is the sum of all excellency. Third, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). It is not simply that God loves, but that He is love itself. Love is not merely one of His attributes, but His very nature.

There are many who talk about the love of God, who are total strangers to the God of love. The divine love is commonly regarded as a species of amiable weakness, a sort of good-natured indulgence. It is reduced to a mere sickly sentiment, patterned after human emotion. The truth is that on this, as on everything else, our thoughts need to be formed and regulated by what is revealed in Scripture. That there is urgent need for this is apparent not only from the ignorance that so generally prevails, but also from the low state of spirituality that is now so sadly evident everywhere among professing Christians. How little real love there is for God! One chief reason for this is because our hearts are so little occupied with His wondrous love for His people. The better we are acquainted with His love — its character, fullness, blessedness—the more our hearts will be drawn out in love to Him.

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A. W. Pink – Lost: The Real Condition of Human Beings

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“But if our gospel is hid — it is hid to those who are LOST! The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers!” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

What multitudes of people there are who have no concern over, in fact, no consciousness of, their woeful condition! While they do not regard themselves as perfect, yet they are not aware that there is anything seriously wrong with them. They are respectable people, law-abiding citizens, and nothing particular ever troubles their conscience. They consider that they are certainly no worse than their religious neighbors, and though they scarcely ever read the Bible or enter a church, they fully expect to go to Heaven when they die.

Some of them will indeed admit that they are sinners, but imagine that their good works far outnumber their bad ones. Some of them were sprinkled as infants, attended a Sunday school class as children, said their prayers each night, and later joined the church. Nevertheless, to this moment, they have never realized that they are the enemies of God, an abomination in the eyes of His holiness, and that Hell is their just deserts! They see no beauty or glory in the Gospel, no suitableness in it unto their case, and therefore do they despise and reject it.

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A. W. Pink – The Doctrine of Mortification

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For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.—Romans 8:13

The doctrine, which is according to godliness (1 Tim 6:3), at once defines the nature of divine doctrine, intimating as it does that its design or end is to inculcate a right temper of mind and deportment of life godwards. It is pure and purifying. The objects that are revealed to faith are not bare abstractions,1 which are to be accepted as true, nor even sublime and lofty concepts to be admired: they are to have a powerful effect upon our daily walk. There is no doctrine revealed in Scripture for a merely speculative knowledge, but all is to exert a powerful influence upon conduct. God’s design in all that He has revealed to us is to the purifying of our affections and the transforming of our characters. The doctrine of grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-12). By far the greater part of the doctrine (John 7:16) taught by Christ consisted not of the explication of mysteries, but rather that which corrected men’s lusts and reformed their lives. Everything in Scripture has in view the promotion of holiness.

If it be an absurdity to affirm that it matters not what a man believes so long as he does that which is right, equally erroneous is it to conclude that if my creed be sound it matters little how I act. “If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Tim 5:8), for he shows himself to be devoid of natural affection. Thus, it is possible to deny the faith by conduct as well as by words. A neglect of performing our duty is as real a repudiation of the truth as is an open renunciation of it; for the gospel, equally with the Law, requires children to honor their parents. Observe how that awful list of reprehensible characters mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:9-10 are said to be “contrary to sound doctrine” — opposed to its salutary2 nature and spiritual tendency, i.e., that conduct which the standard of God enjoins. Observe too how that the spirit of covetousness or love of money is designated an erring “from the faith” (1 Tim 6:10): it is a species of heresy, a departure from the doctrine that is according to godliness — an awful example of which we have in the case of Judas. Mortification, then, is clearly one of the practical doctrines of Holy Writ, as we hope to show abundantly in what follows.

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A. W. Pink – God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

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“Each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

In our last chapter we considered at some length, the much debated and difficult question of the human will. We have shown that the will of the natural man is neither sovereign nor free—but, instead, a servant and slave. We have argued that a right conception of the sinner’s will—its servitude—is essential to a just estimate of his depravity and ruin. The utter corruption and degradation of human nature is something which man hates to acknowledge, and which he will hotly and insistently deny—until he is “taught of God.” Much, very much, of the unsound doctrine which we now hear on every hand—is the direct and logical outcome of man’s repudiation of God’s expressed estimate of human depravity! Men are claiming that they are “increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” and know not that they are “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked!” (Revelation 3:17). They prate about the ‘Ascent of Man,’ and deny his Fall. They put darkness for light; and light for darkness. They boast of the ‘free moral agency’ of man when, in fact, he is in bondage to sin and enslaved by Satan, “taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:26).

But if the natural man is not a ‘free moral agent,’ does it also follow that he is not accountable?

‘Free moral agency’ is an expression of human invention and, as we have said before, to talk of the freedom of the natural man—is to flatly repudiate his total spiritual ruin. Nowhere does Scripture speak of the freedom or moral ability of the sinner; on the contrary, it insists on his moral and spiritual inability.

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A. W. Pink – The Fruits of Repentance

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To help the exercised391 reader identify true repentance, consider the fruits that demonstrate godly repentance.

1. A real hatred of sin as sin, not merely its consequences. A hatred not only of this or that sin, but of all sin, and particularly of the root itself: self-will. “Thus saith the Lord God, Repent, and turn from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations” (Ezek. 14:6). He, who hates not sin, loves it. God’s demand is, “Ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed” (Ezek. 20:43). One who has really repented can truthfully say, “I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:104). He, who once thought a course of holy living was a gloomy thing, has another judgment now. He, who once regarded a course of self-pleasing as attractive, now detests it and has purposed to forsake all sin forever. This is the change of mind that God requires.

2. A deep sorrow for sin. The non-saving repentance of so many is principally a distress occasioned by forebodings of divine wrath; but evangelical repentance produces a deep grief from a sense of having offended so infinitely excellent and glorious a Being as God. The one is the effect of fear, the other of love. The one is only for a brief season; the other is the habitual practice for life. Many a man is filled with regret and remorse over a misspent life, yet has no poignant sorrow of heart for his ingratitude and rebellion against God. But a regenerated soul is cut to the quick for having disregarded and opposed his great Benefactor and rightful Sovereign. This is the change of heart that God requires: “Ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner…for godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation” (2 Cor. 7:9-10). Such a sorrow is produced in the heart by the Holy Spirit and has God for its object. It is a grief for having despised such a God, rebelled against His authority, and been indifferent to His glory. It is this that causes us to “weep bitterly” (Mat 26:75). He who has not grieved over sin takes pleasure therein. God requires us to “afflict” our souls (Lev. 16:29). His call is, “Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful” (Joel 2:12-13). Only that sorrow for sin is genuine that causes us to crucify “the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24).

3. A confessing of sin. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper” (Prov. 28:13). It is “second nature” to the sinner to deny his sins, directly or indirectly, to minimize or make excuses for them. It was thus with Adam and Eve at the beginning. But when the Holy Spirit works in any soul, his sins are brought to light; and he, in turn, acknowledges them to God. There is no relief for the stricken heart until he does so: “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long, for day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (Ps. 32:3-4). The frank and brokenhearted owning of our sins is imperative if peace of conscience is to be maintained. This is the change of attitude that God requires.

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A. W. Pink – A Word to Parents

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One of the saddest and most tragic features of our twentieth-century “Civilization” is the awful prevalence of disobedience on the part of children to their parents during the days of childhood — and their lack of reverence and respect when they grow up. This is evidenced in many ways, alas, even in the families of professing Christians. In his extensive travels during the past thirty years the writer has sojourned in a great many homes. The piety and beauty of some of them remain as sacred and fragrant memories—but others of them have left the most painful impressions. Children who are self-willed or spoiled, not only bring themselves into perpetual unhappiness, but inflict discomfort upon all who come into contact with them, and foreshadow evil things for the days to come.

In the vast majority of cases the children are not to be blamed nearly so much as the parents. Failure to honor father and mother, wherever it is found, is in large measure due to parental departure from the Scriptural pattern. Nowadays the father considers that he has fulfilled his obligations by providing food and clothing for his children, and by acting occasionally as a species of moral policeman. Too often the mother is content to be a domestic drudge, making herself the slave of her children instead of training them to be useful, performing many a task which her daughters should do, in order to allow them freedom for the frivolous. The consequence has been that the home, which ought to be — for its orderliness, its sanctity, and its reigns of love — a miniature heaven and earth, has degenerated into “a filling station for the day and a parking place for the night” as someone has tersely expressed it.

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A. W. Pink – The Prodigal Son

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And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living…And when he came to himself, he said…I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee…And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Luke 15:13, 17, 18, 20

I. Introduction

Before we attempt to expound this portion of Scripture in detail, let us first make a few general observations. Who does the “prodigal son” represent? Is it an unregenerate sinner, or a backslidden believer that is in view? There is a division of sentiment upon this point. Personally, we have no doubt whatever that in this part of the parable of the Salvation of the Lost, the Lord Jesus pictures an unregenerate sinner. Our interpretation will proceed along this line, but before we give it, let us first present some proofs that it is not a backslidden believer that is before us.

First, the whole context shows plainly the class that is portrayed throughout the entire chapter. In the first two verses of Luke 15 we are told, “Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” Here, then, Christ is seen in connection with the lost. It was in answer to this criticism of the Pharisees and scribes that our Savior proceeded to utter the parable which has brought life and peace to countless souls since then. And in this parable the Lord is not warning His disciples against the danger of backsliding, but is vindicating Himself for “receiving sinners.”

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A. W. Pink – The Afflictions of the Godly

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For the past few years, we have endeavored to help some of God’s unestablished children by devoting one article annually (under this title) to the particular end of resolving their uncertainty. In order that they may recognize their spiritual portrait, we seek to describe one or other of those features of the regenerate which the Holy Spirit has drawn in the Scriptures. So far from despising those who are deeply exercised as to their actual state, refusing to “give themselves the benefit of the doubt,” we admire their caution.

God has exhorted His people to “make their calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10), and one of the ways we may set about doing so is to prayerfully and humbly compare our hearts and lives — with those marks of grace, or fruits of the Spirit, which are delineated in the Bible. God’s Word is likened unto a “mirror” in which we may behold ourselves (James 1:23-24) and perceive what we are by nature — and what we have been made by grace. May each of us be granted eyes to see ourselves as that divine Mirror represents us.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray — but now have I kept your word.”

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn your statutes.”

“I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, and that you in faithfulness have afflicted me.” (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75).

We link these three verses together because they treat of the same subject, namely the attitude of the heart of one who had been afflicted by God. Each of them breathes the language of a gracious soul, and not that of a natural man. Each of them acknowledges the beneficial effects of sanctified trials. Each of them evidences a humble heart, for so far from murmuring at God’s dispensations — unpleasant though they be to flesh and blood — there is a grateful acknowledgment of their benevolent design. Each of them is a confession made not while smarting under the rod — but after it has done its appointed work.

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