Self-Preservation

“Multitudes desire to be saved from hell (the natural instinct of self-preservation) who are quite unwilling to be saved from sin. Yes, there are tens of thousands who have been deluded into thinking that they have “accepted Christ as their Saviour,” whose lives show plainly that they reject Him as their Lord. For a sinner to obtain the pardon of God he must “forsake his way” (Isa. 55:7). No man can turn to God until he turns from idols (1 Thess. 1:9). Thus insisted the Lord Jesus, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33).

The terrible thing is that so many preachers today, under the pretence of magnifying the grace of God, have represented Christ as the Minister of sin; as One who has, through His atoning sacrifice, procured an indulgence for men to continue gratifying their fleshly and worldly lusts. Provided a man professes to believe in the virgin birth and vicarious death of Christ, and claims to be resting upon Him alone for salvation, he may pass for a real Christian almost anywhere today, even though his daily life may be no different from that of the moral worldling who makes no profession at all. The Devil is chloroforming thousands into hell by this very delusion. The Lord Jesus asks, “Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46); and insists, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:2 1).

The hardest task before most of us is not to learn, but to unlearn. Many of God’s own children have drunk so deeply of the sweetened poison of Satan that it is by no means easy to get it out of their systems; and while it remains in them it stupefies their understanding. So much is this the case that the first time one of them reads an article like this it is apt to strike him as an open attack upon the sufficiency of Christ’s finished ‘work, as though we were here teaching that the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb needed to be plussed by something from the creature. Not so. Nothing but, the merits of Immanuel can ever give any sinner title to stand before the ineffably holy God. But what we are now contending for is, When does God impute to any sinner the righteousness of Christ? Certainly not while he is opposed to Him.” Practical Christianity by A.W. Pink

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7 thoughts on “Self-Preservation

  1. This is a classic example of the logical inconsistency of Reformed soteriology as manifested in the “Lordship Salvation” position.

    On the one hand, it is said that being spiritually dead means that man is not able to respond to the gospel such that he must be regenerated prior to exercising faith. While this article also requires that man turn from idols unto God in order to be saved. You can’t have it both ways, although the strongest Lordship proponents are Reformed in the soteriology.

    The Lordship position makes perfect sense in Arminian theology, but no sense whatsoever within the full Calvinist system. If man is regenerated prior to exercising faith, then ANY type of faith afterward exercised is necessarily sufficient. This renders Pink’s and the Lordship argument a completely moot point – for it is the faith exercised by one who is already regenerated. If the faith were not the kind Pink describes, then the person could not be saved – which means he has not been regenerated.

    Therefore, in an interesting twist of irony, Lordship becomes not so much a condition for salvation, but a test for election – not unlike the tests posed by the Pharisees.

  2. Very good observation. Mr Pink did teach progressive sanctification and was influenced somewhat by Fuller’s “gospel worthy of all acceptation” which inevitably led him to his Lordship views – and it is inconsistent with the doctrine of grace. But how many people are really consistent 100% ? Mr Pink’s inconsistency is no worse, or better, than the group who claim to believe the doctrine of grace on one hand and grasp the dispensationalist scheme with the other.

  3. For one, it is a much worse inconsistency at heart because it has to do with the gospel itself.

    Also, you’re wrongly trying to juxtapose two things that share no necessary connection (doctrines of grace and dispensationalism) as evidenced by Reformed Dispensationalists, such as John MacArthur. This is comparing apples and oranges.

  4. I said doctrine of grace not “doctrines”.

    “Also, you’re wrongly trying to juxtapose two things that share no necessary connection (doctrines of grace and dispensationalism) as evidenced by Reformed Dispensationalists, such as John MacArthur”

    I’m not sticking up for Mr MacArthur as im neither reformed or dispensationalist, just a plain old fashioned “historic” Baptist. The kind that were around before the baby sprinkling Scofield. Besides, the words reformed and dispensationalist together is an oxymoron.

    Claiming to believe grace AND scofieldism is inconsistent and does go to the heart of the gospel.

    God said “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” and

    The Scofieldist says not so, blood (the jew) does indeed have a say, so does the will of the flesh and man, and a decision based on fallen human logic is boldly hailed as the faith of God’s elect.

  5. Thank you David and Flavio for you comments. I’ll make one post since Flavio has had a chance to respond to David before I’ll close the comments on this post.

    With only 40 pages into this work I have to say he is espousing the classic Reformed doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints (found here: http://www.vor.org/truth/1689/1689bc17.html). I quote only a teaser of this work to encourage others to look it up and read it for themselves so if someone misunderstood what Pink means in this blog post I am to blame. The author is careful to maintain the sovereign grace of God in salvation and, it seems clear to me so far, to expound the verses of scripture about the fruit of true salvation and passages in scripture that teach about dead faith, historical faith and faith of demons verses true, evangelical faith that saves and is a gift from God. The fruit of faith is not outside the realm of God’s divine predestination as stated in two quick passages here => Romans 8.28-30 and 2 Thessalonians 2.17 – 3.3.

    Pink explains that if you never bear any fruit in your walk you maybe assume too much about your salvation. Salvation is experimental, it is experienced and felt. It is not simply a rational notion or logical conclusion based on humanistic knowledge of the scriptures. I recommend this work as a solid, biblical defence against easy believeism that is in harmony with scripture.

  6. I dig the ’89 link and agree with their summary from scripture on perseverance.

    You should know i’m not altogether against Pink otherwise he would not be on my shelves. At the moment i own the following titles by Pink in hardback: Gleanings In Genesis, Exposition Of The Sermon On The Mount, The Sovereignty Of God (Baker), Gleanings From The Scriptures, Gleanings From Paul, The Holy Spirit, Spiritual Growth, The Divine Covenants, Exposition Of Hebrews. I am very fond of an article he wrote called Strange Fire as well.

    That being said i do take issue with some of his wording such as “For a sinner to obtain the pardon of God he must (first)…” and others like it found in other writings. The consistent grace man says God justifies the ungodly, not the already godly…pardon was accomplished for all God’s elect at Calvary and realized in time in the chosen sinners conscience at the second birth, and then go on to describe the faith of God’s elect separating them from the world and world religion.

    “Salvation is experimental, it is experienced and felt. It is not simply a rational notion or logical conclusion based on humanistic knowledge of the scriptures.”

    Well said Jason. I had no idea that after i was by grace plucked out as a brand out of a fire, and received the gospel of God’s free grace not in word only “but in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance” that it would be very difficult to come across professing Christians with genuine Christian experience. I heard and hear a lot of “when i was 4 or 5 years old”…”at such and such a place and such and such a time i asked jesus into my heart”…”my sunday school teacher led me in the sinners prayer”…”my mom/dad led me in the sinners prayer” … “i dedicated my life to jesus”….”i re-dedicated my life to jesus” etc, in other words, a so called christian experience void of the convicting work of the Holy Ghost followed by an application and manifested love of the Redeemer in the heart, mind, and conscience. With such professors i stay far away from and they from me.

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