Showing posts with label Hebrews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hebrews. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Satisfying the Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness– Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 25– Purity 997

Satisfying the Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness– Lent with Bonhoeffer Day 25– Purity 997    

Purity 997 03/21/2023 Purity 997 Podcast

Purity 997 on YouTube:

Good morning,

Today’s spectacular photo of the first sunset of Spring over Lake Ontario comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography as Rocco Saya shared this scene on social media on Monday pointing out that it was “A good first day of spring!: and that “It brought some beautiful light to end the day” that revealed that despite the change of season there was still “ice on the boulders lining Sheldon beach.”

Well, it’s Wednesday, and even though most of us have arrived at Hump Day, I have arrived at a one day weekend as my employer shifts our schedules to cover Saturdays and this week is my turn. So I have off today, work Saturday, and will have another “one day weekend” come Sunday. A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do and although I am not thrilled with “End Days” (or is in N-Days – as in NOBODY wants to work on Saturday)- I know they are a part of the job and as long as I want to receive the pay benefits that provide for me and my family, I accept them for what they are and try to make the most of the day off today and Sunday.

As for today, I have another Freedom Appointment scheduled this morning so shortly after posting this message, I will be doing the work of ministry as I will encourage another man from the Freedom in Christ course through the Steps to Freedom in Christ.  So, if its before or between 9am & 12pm, I’d appreciate your prayers for support as we will be going before the Lord in this guided process of repentance that seeks to resolve spiritual and personal conflicts to assist our brother to experience or deepen his freedom in Christ through this encounter in God’s presence.

Speaking of coming into God’s presence, those of us who have put their faith in God can draw close to the Lord any time we want because we are one with Him in Spirit (1 Cor 6:17) and we have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18). God is available to us.   But the question is: are we making ourselves available to God?

Well, let’s not worry about it. Let’s make ourselves available now by drawing close to God on this 25th day of Lent by continuing in our current series, the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, with Day 25.  

As a reminder, and as we will say each day of this journey, we take this path to mark the season of Lent and to draw closer to God in anticipation of the celebration of Easter, knowing that if we take this journey of repentance seriously, we will not only see the days and seasons change, the Lord will use it to change us too. 

You can sign up to get this devotional yourself by going to the Biblegateway link on the blog (( . 

Day 25

Bonhoeffer writes:

“Christians are persons who no longer seek their salvation, their deliverance, their justification in themselves, but in Jesus Christ alone.

They know that God’s Word in Jesus Christ pronounces them guilty, even when they feel nothing of their own guilt, and that God’s Word in Jesus Christ pronounces them free and righteous even when they feel nothing of their own righteousness…

Because they daily hunger and thirst for righteousness, they long for the redeeming Word again and again.

It can only come from the outside. In themselves they are destitute and dead. Help must come from the outside; and it has come and comes daily and anew in the Word of Jesus Christ, bringing us redemption, righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.

But God put this Word into the mouth of human beings so that it may be passed on to others.

When people are deeply affected by the Word, they tell it to other people.

God has willed that we should seek and find God’s living Word in the testimony of other Christians, in the mouths of human beings.

Therefore, Christians need other Christians who speak God’s Word to them. They need them again and again when they become uncertain and disheartened.”

Biblical Wisdom

Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7

Questions to Ponder

  • Where do disciples go to satisfy their daily hunger and thirst for righteousness?

M.T. Clark: Disciples are students of God’s word and the place that we should go to satisfy our daily hunger and thirst for righteousness is in the Bible.  Personal Bible study should be a part of our day. It is where we are to find our daily bread.  

Of course, this bread, the word of God can be found many different forms – in daily devotionals like the one we are doing now, in Christian podcasts and sermons, Christian books, Christian music, Bible Studies, Bible commentaries, and Christian videos. Believe me when I tell you that those who have access to the internet have virtually unlimited ways to be encouraged in their faith and to receive the things that will satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness.  However, as much as the various resources mentioned here can help us in our faith, I would still encourage you to go straight to the source of God’s wisdom personally by reading the Bible and asking God to reveal what He wants you to know in prayer.  

Because just like processed foods are not as good for us as raw foods, reading the Bible for ourselves is free from any “additives” that may be more another man’s opinion than the word that God has for you personally.  

  • If Christians find their salvation, deliverance, and justification not in them­selves but in Jesus Christ, how should they use their resulting freedom?

M.T. Clark:  Since we find our salvation, deliverance, and justification in Jesus Christ, we should use our resulting freedom to give God glory by encouraging others to put their faith in Jesus so they can be saved, delivered and justified.  Of course, we should enjoy our freedom in Christ, but part of our enjoyment should be realizing our purpose in Christ, to be an ambassador to God’s kingdom and to allow the Lord to use us in the ministry of reconciliation.  If we know God’s love, have experienced our freedom in Christ, our hearts should be full of the desire to share the love and joy that we have found in Christ alone.

  • If God has put God’s word into the “mouth of human beings,” who is responsible to speak the word? Only pastors or church workers? Why?

M.T. Clark: If God has given us His word personally, which He has if we are saved, it is our honor and duty to speak it to ourselves, to remind us of what we have received and to live our our life in Christ, and to speak it to others, to share the love of God and in the hope that the words we share will be used by God to bring others to peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ.   It is not only pastors or church workers responsibility to share the word. Everyone who has received God’s word is commanded to share it by Christ Himself, who told us all to go and make disciples and to teach them everything He has taught us.

Psalm Fragment

On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
   and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
   and I will declare your greatness.
They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
   and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. 
Psalm 145:5-7

Journal Reflections

  • Write about specific Christians who have spoken a word from God to you when you needed it.

M.T. Clark: I have countless examples. Pastor Bob Costello mentored me and led through recovery. He spoke the words of truth to me that gave me hope that I could actually overcome my addictions and gave me the training I needed to be bold and courageous in encouraging others to walk by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.   I have also received a timely word from the Lord  through pastors, teachers and “plain old Christians” – in person and through various forms of media – when I needed it.  So we should seek out community with other Christians and continually seek to know the Lord more through personal study because we never know who or what will be used by the Lord to speak to us.

  • Write about people to whom you have spoken God’s word.

M.T. Clark:  Well, this should give glory to God. I have answered the call to speak the word of God and following is a list of some of the people or situations in which I have spoken God’s word: 

·       Messages, prayers, and encouraging words at my local churches

·       Praying for people at work and in public  

·       Gospel Message at the 7th Street Park in Hudson NY

·       Street evangelism with Pastor Bob on the streets of Hudson NY

·       Street evangelism on the streets of a village in Zambia with a mission team in 2016

·       Delivering a personal testimony of God’s faithfulness and power at 3 churches and 2 schools in Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2016

·       Jail Ministry at the Columbia County Jail

·       Celebrate Freedom – recovery ministry from 2015 to 2020

·       Community Freedom – CFM – 2021 – where I met and proposed to my wife

·       This is blog and this podcast – has had listeners and web page views from all over the world – what people are receiving or how much, I will never know but if this message of encouragement reaches EVEN 1 person, I will continue to “bring it” as much as I can.

So, there are ways to share the word of God. You don’t have to be a pastor to be used by God. You just have to say “Yes” when God responds to your prayer to “send me”.


Think of someone you would like to be a spiritual friend with and ask God to help you build a mutually supportive spiritual relationship with him or her.

M.T. Clark:  

Lord God,  

There  is no one that I would like to be spiritual friends with more than my children and my step children. They have all been exposed to gospel and I would like to believe that they all have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life but Lord only know their hearts and only you can give them the revelation of the truth and the richness of a relationship with you.  So, I pray that you will use me, my wife, or someone else to speak a word that will cause them to confirm their faith,  to zealously follow you, and seek to be a spiritual friend with me.  So I pray for Haley, Brennan, AnneMarie, Rachel, Jakob, Elisabeth, Benjamin, and Jeanette.

In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer for Today

O Holy Spirit, send the people I need to bring me the word of God, and send the people I need to speak the word of God to.

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 


(40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.)

***As we are being provided with Bible verses from the 40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, we will are taking a break from sharing a verse of the day from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”. We plan on resuming that normal installment of the blog following Easter.*** 


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.





“Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not My way equal? are not your ways unequal?” (Ezek. 18:25).

A convenient point has been reached when we may now examine, more definitely, some of the difficulties encountered and the objections which might be advanced against what we have written in previous pages. The author deemed it better to reserve these for a separate consideration rather than deal with them as he went along, requiring as that would have done the breaking of the course of thought and destroying the strict unity of each chapter, or else cumbering our pages with numerous and lengthy footnotes.

That there are difficulties involved in an attempt to set forth the truth of God’s sovereignty is readily acknowledged. The hardest thing of all, perhaps, is to maintain the balance of truth. It is largely a matter of perspective. That God is sovereign is explicitly declared in Scripture: that man is a responsible creature is also expressly affirmed in Holy Writ. To define the relationship of these two truths, to fix the dividing line betwixt them, to show exactly where they meet, to exhibit the perfect consistency of the one with the other, is the weightiest task of all. Many have openly declared that it is impossible for the finite mind to harmonize them. Others tell us it is not necessary or even wise to attempt it. But, as we have remarked in an earlier chapter, it seems to us more honoring to God to seek in His Word the solution to every problem. What is impossible to man is possible with God, and while we grant that the finite mind is limited in its reach, yet, we remember that the Scriptures are given to us that the man of God may be “thoroughly furnished,” and if we approach their study in the spirit of humility and of expectancy, then, according unto our faith will it be unto us.

As remarked above, the hardest task in this connection is to preserve the balance of truth while insisting on both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of the creature. To some of our readers it may appear that in pressing the sovereignty of God to the lengths we have man is reduced to a mere puppet. Hence, to guard against this, they would modify their definitions and statements relating to God’s sovereignty, and thus seek to blunt the keen edge of what is so offensive to the carnal mind. Others, while refusing to weigh the evidence that we have adduced in support of our assertions, may raise objections which to their minds are sufficient to dispose of the whole subject. We would not waste time in the effort to refute objections made in a carping and contentious spirit but we are desirous of meeting fairly the difficulties experienced by those who are anxious to obtain a fuller knowledge of the truth. Not that we deem ourselves able to give a satisfactory and final answer to every question that might be asked. Like the reader, the writer knows but “in part” and sees through a glass “darkly.” All that we can do is to examine these difficulties in the light we now have, in dependence upon the Spirit of God that we may follow on to know the Lord better.

We propose now to retrace our steps and pursue the same order of thought as that followed up to this point. As a part of our “definition” of God’s sovereignty we affirmed: “To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will.… The sovereignty of the God of Scripture is absolute, irresistible, infinite.” To put it now in its strongest form, we insist that God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases; that whatever takes place in time is but the outworking of that which He decreed in eternity. In proof of this assertion we appeal to the following scripture: “But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psa. 115:3). “For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” (Isa. 14:27). “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest thou?” (Dan. 4:35). “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).

The above declarations are so plain and positive that any comments of ours upon them would simply be darkening counsel by words without knowledge. Such express statements as those just quoted are so sweeping and so dogmatic that all controversy concerning the subject of which they treat ought for ever to be at an end. Yet, rather than receive them at their face value, every device of carnal ingenuity is resorted to so as to neutralize their force. For example, it has been asked, If what we see in the world today is but the outworking of God’s eternal purpose, if God’s counsel is NOW being accomplished, then why did our Lord teach His disciples to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? Is it not a clear implication from these words that God’s will is not now being done on earth? The answer is very simple. The emphatic word in the above clause is “as.” God’s will is being done on earth today, if it is not, then our earth is not subject to God’s rule, and if it is not subject to His rule then He is not, as Scripture proclaims Him to be, “The Lord of all the earth” (Josh. 3:13). But God’s will is not being done on earth as it is in heaven. How is God’s will “done in heaven”?—consciously and joyfully. How is it “done on earth”? for the most part, unconsciously and sullenly. In heaven the angels perform the bidding of their Creator intelligently and gladly, but on earth the unsaved among men accomplish His will blindly and in ignorance. As we have said in earlier pages, when Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus and when Pilate sentenced Him to be crucified they had no conscious intentions of fulfilling God’s decrees yet, nevertheless, unknown to themselves they did do so!

But again. It has been objected: If everything that happens on earth is the fulfilling of the Almighty’s pleasure, if God has foreordained—before the foundation of the world—everything which comes to pass in human history, then why do we read in Gen. 6:6 “It repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart”? Does not this language intimate that the antediluvians had followed a course which their Maker had not marked out for them, and that in view of the fact they had “corrupted” their way upon the earth the Lord regretted that He had ever brought such a creature into existence? Ere drawing such a conclusion let us note what is involved in such an inference. If the words “It repented the Lord that He had made man” are regarded in an absolute sense, then God’s omniscience would be denied, for in such a case the course followed by man must have been un-foreseen by God in the day that He created him. Therefore it must be evident to every reverent soul that this language bears some other meaning. We submit that the words “It repented the Lord” is an accommodation to our finite intelligence, and in saying this we are not seeking to escape a difficulty or cut a knot, but are advancing an interpretation which we shall seek to show is in perfect accord with the general trend of Scripture.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

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at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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Email me at to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

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“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 203–206.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

A Word for the Asbury Revival – “Your Work Shall Be Rewarded!” - Purity 970

A Word for the Asbury Revival – “Your Work Shall Be Rewarded!” - Purity 970

Purity 970 02/18/2023 Purity 970 Podcast

Purity 970 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo a quaint decorative well standing upon a lush green lawn yet shrouded in shadows comes to us from yours truly as I took this shot while surveying the property at 1788 State Route 9J in Stuyvesant NY way back on April 17th 2020, approximately 2 months and 5 days before I would sign the final paperwork to make it “my place down by the River”.  

You can’t tell from this photo that we were in the midst of a global pandemic. The sun still shined, and the grass still grew and life went on.  I didn’t KNOW it at the time that I would make this property my “River House” when I took this photo of what became my well, but man was I praying for it and seeking it.  And now I can tell you that I was rewarded for my faithfulness!

While most people were huddle indoors during winter and spring of 2020, I was out in the “danger zone” working two essential jobs and trusting the Lord to keep me alive while earned enough money to support my family and to get a new home for my children and I after a messy divorce.  In those times, I went to work for 16 hour days but I also grounded myself in my daily spiritual practices of Bible Study and prayer and continually staying in the Lord’s presence.   Those were hard and lonely times but the Lord was with me and He didn’t forsake me because I sought His presence and His will for my life every day.   

So I know that the Lord is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him as the word says in:

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
6  … without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.   

Well, since coming to the Lord in 2010, I have been seeking the Lord and have been rewarded by Him time and time ever since.  One of the prayers that I and many others have made through all those years of following the Lord is for there to be a revival of the body of Christ, for the lost to be found and for the hearts of our nation to be turned to God.  I and many others have prayed that the Lord’s presence would come to our country in a mighty move that would reap of harvest for His kingdom and it appears that our prayers may have been answered through the revival that is happening at Asbury College in Wilmore Kentucky as a chapel service that began on February 8th has turned into a revival as “students and faculty from 22 schools in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, Tennessee, Indiana and other states have made the trek to Asbury.  Ten days later and the even is still going strong and is expected to continue as “travelers from as far away as Canada and Singapore are expected to arrive there soon”.  (

Yesterday, I texted Arthur Cincotti, my brother in Christ and the author of our weekly Bible study podcast, encouraging him to take a road trip to Asbury to join the revival and he confessed that he was thinking about it as he and his wife Suzanna have been watching it online. Arthur stated that it was a 12 hour drive and I suggested that could be broken up into 2 six hour shifts and could be done all at once or with a overnight stop in between.  I’m not sure if Arthur or I will go but we are both excited by what is happening in Asbury.

I’m on vacation this week and already have plans to go to Williamsburg VA and Myrtle Beach SC. It’s paid for and non-refundable, so I will be headed south come Sunday.

As of this writing, I am toying with the idea of diverting my return trek home from Myrtle Beach SC to go to Wilmore on Friday (9 hours) and then come back to NY on Saturday or Sunday (13 hours), but will have to discern whether or not the Holy Spirit is calling me there.  I have experienced the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit before, more than once, in mighty ways, so it’s not like I have never experienced an out pouring of His Spirit before and I NEED to chase Him and the experience of a revival to know the Lord.  So, we will pray and see what happens.  

But I would like to send my warmest regards to the people gathered at Asbury and would offer the following passages of scripture as a “word” for Asbury if I don’t make the trek there to try to offer it in person.   

This morning’s Bible study brought me to 2 Chronicles 15 and the words of the prophet Azariah.  I know that many a Bible scholar may pile on condemnation for drawing from an very obscure Old Testament prophet of the kingdom of Judah to encourage us for today but I found the words that the Lord spoke through Azariah and all the text of 2 Chronicles 15 to be an appropriate parallel to our present times and a word for the body of Christ, and those outside the body, for all times. 

 I believe that the prophet Azaria’s words can be used to encourage the revival at Asbury and all of us in all seasons because they call us to repentance and warn that we will be forsaken if we don’t seek the Lord. I share the text in it’s entirety but would ask you to consider whether or not the words spoken to the kingdom of Israel and Judah could be applied to the nations of the world today as a challenge to turn to the Lord.  

2 Chronicles 15:1-7 (NKJV)
1  Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded.
2  And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.
3  For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law;
4  but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them.
5  And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands.
6  So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity.
7  But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!"

The world is never without adversity or turmoil because of sin and the hard hearts of men than refuse to make Jesus the Lord of their lives and to follow Him in spirit, truth, and repentance.  

But I want to echo Azariah’s encouraging words that insist that if we seek the Lord we will indeed find Him and although the work we have to undertake when we decide to seek the Lord’s will for our lives may weary us at times, we can be assured that our work shall be rewarded.  

The prayer warriors of our nation have prayed for revival and that work seems to have been rewarded in Asbury and we should rejoice.     

And while I am not sure if I will be called to make the trip to Asbury to be a part of the rival experience that is happening there, I know that I am already a part of the mighty moves of God on this earth because I have experienced my salvation and freedom in Christ and have been repeatedly revived and rewarded because I have been faithful to continuously seek God and His will for my life.  

So whether you run to the revival experience in Asbury or not, let me encourage you, as I always do, to keep “seeking the Lord” by walking and talking with Him every day and to follow His wisdom and ways with the way you live your life.  As the prophet Azariah has encouraged us, when you decide to surrender to, seek and follow the Lord, “you shall be rewarded”.


Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.

This morning’s meditation verses are:

James 4:6-7 (NLT2)
6  But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”
7  So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Today’s Bible verses encourage us that we can overcome our evil desires when we humble ourselves, submit to God and resist the devil.

The wisdom of today’s verses, particularly verse 7, are repeatedly used in spiritual warfare teachings because they speak of the reality of the spiritual forces of darkness that need to be resisted.  The enemy’s tactics are to deceive and to tempt us and so the word of God teaches us the one-two punch that will give us success over sin.  

We must submit to God, first, and we must resist the devil.

In order to overcome temptation, to receive the power and the authority to tell the enemy to take a hike, we first must become members of God’s royal family by putting our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior


Also decide to submit to God in the ways we live our life.  We are to repent and turn from our former ways and abandon our evil desires. 

SO step 1 – submitting to God – is one thing we must do but there is some false teaching, ignorance, and confusion in the body of Christ that would teach that repentance is optional – that it is enough just to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and that repenting could be done later, if at all, if you want to.  

Some poor “Christians” will actually tell you that they just want to be a “believer” in Jesus and don’t want to be, and  don’t think it is necessary to be, a “disciple” of Jesus.   

So it’s because of attitudes like this, this easy believe-ism” that can explain why the “body of Christ” struggles to have victory over the enemy.  They have difficulty resisting the devil because they haven’t completely submitted to God.    You have to do both to be free.

To fully submit to God and to resist the devil, I recommend going through the Steps to Freedom in Christ, the tool that Dr. Neil Anderson has developed that is based on the truth of the word of God that the Lord has been known to bless as a means to repentance and freedom.  

So be assured that we have the victory over sin and the devil, but we must be sure that we are both submitting to God and resisting the devil with the way we live to experience it.


As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.





“It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13)

Concerning the nature and the power of fallen man’s will, the greatest confusion prevails today, and the most erroneous views are held, even by many of God’s children. The popular idea now prevailing, and which is taught from the great majority of pulpits, is that man has a “free ill,” and that salvation comes to the sinner through his will co-operating with the Holy Spirit. To deny the “free will” of man, i.e., his power to choose that which is good, his native ability to accept Christ, is to bring one into disfavor at once, even before most of those who profess to be orthodox. And yet Scripture emphatically says, “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). Which shall we believe: God, or the preachers?

But some one may reply, Did not Joshua say to Israel, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve”? Yes, he did; but why not complete his sentence?—“whether the god that your fathers served which were on the other side of the flood, or gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell” (Josh. 24:15)! But why attempt to pit scripture against scripture? The Word of God never contradicts itself, and the Word expressly declares, “There is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11). Did not Christ say to the men of His day “Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40)? Yes, but some did “come” to Him, some did receive Him. True and who were they? John 1:12, 13 tells us: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, 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”!

But does not Scripture say, “Whosoever will may come”? It does, but does this signify that everybody has the will to come? What of those who won’t come? “Whosoever will may come” no more implies that fallen man has the power (in himself) to come, than “Stretch forth thine hand” implied that the man with the withered arm had ability (in himself) to comply. In and of himself the natural man has power to reject Christ; but in and of himself he has not the power to receive Christ. And why? Because he has a mind that is “enmity against” Him (Rom. 8:7); because he has a heart that hates Him (John 15:18). Man chooses that which is according to his nature, and therefore before he will ever choose or prefer that which is Divine and spiritual a new nature must be imparted to him; in other words, he must be born again.

Should it be asked, But does not the Holy Spirit overcome a man’s enmity and hatred when He convicts the sinner of his sins and his need of Christ; and does not the Spirit of God produce such conviction in many that perish? Such language betrays confusion of thought: were such a man’s enmity really “overcome,” then he would readily turn to Christ; that he does not come to the Saviour demonstrates that his enmity is not overcome. But that many are, through the preaching of the Word, convicted by the Holy Spirit, who nevertheless die in unbelief, is solemnly true. Yet, it is a fact which must not be lost sight of that the Holy Spirit does something more in each of God’s elect than He does in the non-elect: He works in them “both to will and to do of God’s good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

In reply to what we have said above, Arminians would answer, No; the Spirit’s work of conviction is the same both in the converted and in unconverted, that which distinguishes the one class from the other is that the former yielded to His strivings whereas the latter resist them. But if this were the case then the Christian would have ground for boasting and self-glorying over his co-operation with the Spirit; but this would flatly contradict Eph. 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

Let us appeal to the actual experience of the Christian reader. Was there not a time (may the remembrance of it bow each of us into the dust) when you were unwilling to come to Christ? There was. Since then you have come to Him. Are you now prepared to give Him all the glory for that (Psa. 115:1)? Do you not acknowledge you came to Christ because the Holy Spirit brought you from unwillingness to willingness? You do. Then is it not also a patent fact that the Holy Spirit has not done in many others what He has in you! Granting that many others have heard the Gospel, been shown their need of Christ, yet, they are still unwilling to come to Him. Thus He has wrought more in you than in them. Do you answer, Yet I remember well the time when the Great Issue was presented to me, and my consciousness testifies that my will acted and that I yielded to the claims of Christ upon me. Quite true. But before you “yielded” the Holy Spirit overcame the native enmity of your mind against God, and this “enmity” He does not overcome in all. Should it be said, That is because they are unwilling for their enmity to be overcome. Ah! none are thus “willing” till He has put forth His all-mighty power and wrought a miracle of grace in the heart.

But let us now inquire, What is the human Will? Is it a self-determining agent, or is it, in turn, determined by something else? Is it sovereign or servant? Is the will superior to every other faculty of our being so that it governs them, or is it moved by their impulses and subject to their pleasure? Does the will rule the mind, or does the mind control the will? Is the will free to do as it pleases, or is it under the necessity of rendering obedience to something outside of itself? “Does the will stand apart from the other great faculties or powers of the soul, a man within a man, who can reverse the man and fly against the man and split him into segments, as a glass snake breaks in pieces? Or, is the will connected with the other faculties, as the tail of the serpent is with his body, and that again with his head, so that where the head goes, the whole creature goes, and, as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he? First thought, then heart (desire or aversion), and then act. Is it this way, the dog wags the tail? Or, is it the will, the tail, wags the dog? Is the will the first and chief thing in man, or is it the last thing—to be kept subordinate, and in its place beneath the other faculties? and, is the true philosophy of moral action and its process that of Gen. 3:6: ‘And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food’ (sense-perception, intelligence), ‘and a tree to be desired’ (affections), ‘she took and ate thereof’ (the will).” (George S. Bishop). These are questions of more than academical interest. They are of practical importance. We believe that we do not go too far when we affirm that the answer returned to these questions is a fundamental test of doctrinal soundness.[1]


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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 135–138.