Showing posts with label Revival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Revival. Show all posts

Monday, February 20, 2023

Travel Days - Arrival, Revival, & Getting There – Purity 971

Travel Days - Arrival, Revival, & Getting There –– Purity 971                               

Purity 971 02/20/2023 Purity 971 Podcast

Purity 971 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the sun wearing a crown of cumulus clouds while it shines over the bend in the road of Waite Road where my canine pal Harley was allowed to run free while we were out for a morning stroll comes to us from yours truly as I had the presence of mind to bring my phone and capture this scene this past Saturday.

Well, It’s Monday and like many others with school age children, I am on vacation this week and coming to you live from the Embassy Suites in Colonial Williamsburg Virginia and after a long drive here I have a couple of things to say about travel days and my previous pipe dream of rerouting my return trek home through the revival that was happening at Asbury University in Wilmore Kentucky.  

I discovered this morning that Asbury President, Kevin Brown, released a schedule, after my previous posting, on Saturday that announced that the final public service for the event that will forever be known as the Asbury Revival of 2023, was scheduled for last evening, at 7:30 pm.  So, it’s over Johnny… it’s over.  

Brown released the schedule that ended the revival with the following statement: 

“As we enter the third week of this renewal movement, our desire is to be faithful to our mission as a student-centric Christian University,”

“Further, we believe that the continued flourishing of such a movement invites us to commission our Asbury community, visiting students, and other campus guests from across the world to neighbor-serving, God-honoring work.” 

(Read more at:

If I may paraphrase, the good university president: 

“Alright, alright, Y’all got Jesus? Now why don’t you take what you got here, and go out into all the world and make disciples or do something good for the kingdom of God. After Sunday’s evening service, there’s nothing to see here.” 

Like a bartender at last call, Brown’s statement ended the revival party essentially telling anyone who got blessed by the happenings at Asbury over the last few weeks: “Y’all don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!”

So the revival I and countless of others had prayed for has come and is now over.  So my toying with the idea of going to Asbury from Myrtle Beach SC on Friday is now caput.  And after yesterday’s 9 hour drive to Williamsburg, Virginia, I’m okay with that!

If the revival at Asbury had continued, and if the miracle of having both my wife and teenage step kids agree to go had happened, and I felt called by the Lord to go, it would have been a 9 hour and 30 minute drive to get there.  And after actually experiencing a 9 hour drive to Virginia yesterday, I’m glad that I won’t be called to make that decision to go to Asbury. 

Asbury University’s president did the right thing.  His job is to run a Christian University and as awesome as it is to experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and to have an influx of people praising and worshiping the Lord, we as the body of Christ are not called to just come together in continuous worship and adoration, we are called to go out and make disciples, the mission that Christ gave us and that the president’s statement alluded to. 

The party has to end some time and the work of the kingdom has to continue so even though I am on vacation this week, I am glad that the president announced a return to normal with the release of the schedule that ends the revival but invites the public back to the regularly planned public worship – chapel services- that will resume on Wednesday at 2pm.  So let’s get back to the normal business of “doing what we do” on the path of Christian Discipleship!

For any Asbury converts or revivalists that don’t know what that is, I invite you to check out the discipleship teachings I provided on the mt4christ247 podcast, and MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel, for Victory over the Darkness, The Bondage Breaker, and Freedom in Christ, because all though you may have felt that you “have arrived” with your salvation or recommitment to your faith, let me first congratulate you, but let me also encourage you that there is much more that the Lord has planned for your life that will make the last 3 weeks in the glory cloud at Asbury seem like small potatoes, or at least a beautiful beginning to what could be an amazing adventure of a life in Christ. 

Although you have surely “arrived” and found your place in the kingdom of God through your faith in Christ, we still have more travelling to do on this path that Lord has called us to walk on.  Our journey is launched when we are born again in salvation and continues in progressive sanctification where we actually live out our new lives of faith by learning God’s ways and following Christ’s example as outlined in the Bible.  

So although we have fully arrived in one sense , we are “not there yet” in another.  To anyone new to the faith: welcome to your first Christian paradox!   

I am including a link to an article from simply bible dot com that breaks down how we “have been saved”, “are being saved”, and “will be saved” on the blog today to give you an ideas of how our faith can simultaneously be one reality in three tenses ( 

This same yesterday, today, and tomorrow aspect of our faith works for our sanctification too and can be demonstrated by how I was “sanctified” – made holy - by receiving Christ’s righteousness on the day I put my faith in Him, but then was further sanctified as I began to repent of the sin in my life, and I will progressively “get there” in terms of sanctification when I continue to align myself with the Lord with other areas of my life that He will call me to repent of.   And of course, no matter what my progress is like here on earth I will be ultimately sanctified when I enter into the Lords kingdom either at the hour of my death or when Christ returns to rule and reign on earth.   

So in terms of our salvation and sanctification, we can all honestly say that “While I am not what I want to be, I’m not what I used to be, and the Lord will help me continually, and ultimately, to be the person that He made me to be!”

Knowing that our faith is progressive can give us great hope because we can leave our darkness of our pre-Christ existence and move deeper into the freedom and victory that the Lord has for us. 

But let’s keep it real, the fact that we are “in process” or in the midst of “Travel days” can be frustrating and disappointing.  

We could feel that we have been cheated by the good news because we haven’t instantly become the kind, caring, and clean super saints that never say a harsh word or never make a mistake that we imagined we could be if we “really were a Christian”. 

Well, if that’s were you find yourself – condemning yourself for not being “all that you could be”, let me remind you of Romans 8:1

Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

So if you are in Christ Jesus – if you put your faith in Him as Lord and Savior – stop condemning yourself for not being perfect! There is no condemnation for you any longer, so stop it.  

Also let’s realize that we need to “walk in the Spirit” – we aren’t “there yet” – we are in the midst of our traveling days towards our new life in Christ – okay we already have it but now we are walking further into it okay…

And the verse never says anything about stopping.  We are to walk in the Spirit – THE END – just like the three tenses of our salvation and sanctification – we have walked in the Spirit – the day we said “Yes” to Jesus, we are walking in the Spirit – although it could look like a “stumble” or crawl in the Spirit depending on how you are following Him – and we “will walk in he Spirit – as in “10 feet off of Beal” literally – when we go far beyond “waling in Memphis” and go marching with Christ Himself into His kingdom!  

So don’t get frustrated or disappointed in your walk, although it can be a grind, every day we are making progress! If nothing else, you are one step closer to eternity!


Anyway, believe me, just like yesterday’s 9 hour drive to Virginia wasn’t so great and yesterday’s  “Travel day” may seem like a complete waste because all I did was spend the day driving and ending up exhausted,  it was all for a purpose  - To Get THERE!   

I’m not sure what historical touristy delights I will experience today in Williamsburg but I never would have gotten the opportunity if I not only decided to “go there” but actually did the hard work of “getting there”.   And whether or not I am thrilled or disappointed in what I see here in Williamsburg, I did the work to experience it.  This is my life and this Williamsburg chapter is now forever a part of the narrative and no matter whether my experience is good, bad, or indifferent I will experience and learn something from going that I would never have known if I had decided to spend the week walking Harley up and down Waite Rd!  

Already, I got to experience what a 9 hour drive is really like (I have had similar long drives in my distant pass but it feels like I never did) and have a better grasp on what it would be like to actually do it if another revival should spring up somewhere and I get the idea to go chase it.  

As I stated on Saturday, I have experienced the Holy Spirit’s manifest presence more that once and now that I have a more recent experience with a long drive, I may not be so envious of revival revelers if the distance is too far!

Enjoy the Holy Spirit’s presence! He is awesome! I know Him! Tell Him I said “Hello, and I Love You” – Never mind, He’s right here – dwelling in me!”   No need to drive there after all! No need to chase the revival!

Anyway,  my points are that while we should enjoy the Holy Spirit’s outpourings and corporate worship service, we also need to do the “regular business” of our faith – prayer, Bible study, evangelism, and service, good works, to others too.  

Also, while we have arrived in God’s kingdom, we are also “not there yet” and while our “travel days” may be hard, we should remember that they are necessary because they will get us closer to where we want to go and we should rejoice because they are things we can learn from and enjoy.  

So keep walking and talking with God no matter what today brings you to because every day spent  with Him is worthwhile and it brings us ever closer to “getting there”.


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

This morning’s meditation verse is:

Amos 5:14 (NLT2)
14  Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Then the LORD God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed.

Today’s Bible verses encourage us when we choose to do what is good and run from evil, God will help us!

Hey, I don’t encourage people to follow the Lord because it will always lead us to suffering. When we decided to turn from our evil ways of doing things and when we place our faith in Christ, God helps us in incalculable ways that go beyond giving us eternal life in His kingdom.  

Salvation is enough reason to surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, but God’s word encourages us that if we seek the Lord with the way we live our life, by repenting, He will help us.  

In this turning from evil, God helps us by giving us strength, wisdom and guidance to accomplish success (when we ask Him for it).  We can overcome!

But God also helps us by giving us the life we would have never known without Him.  I’m in Williamsburg Virginia because of the events of my life that all fell into place when I decided to not only “believe in Jesus” but when I decided to answer His call to follow Him in repentance.   

Because of faith in Christ, I am living out the consequences of the life of repentance and seeking to do God’s will. Among many other wonderful things, through my faith I met my wife and she suggested Williamsburg, so here we are.  

This is just one small example of how God will shape our lives when we follow Him. 

Would you call that help? 

The trip to Williamsburg specifically, no.  But I would call the string of events that happens when we decided to follow the Lord as His help.   He helps us to understand who He is and what the best way to live our lives is. He gives us wisdom in His word. He gives us strength in our spirits. He gives us life in Christ. And He blesses us with good things and with endurance when things are not so good. God helps us.  

But as today’s verse indicates, one of the “keys” of experiencing God’s help is to run from evil and to do what is good: to get in harmony with God by living a righteous life that cancels the strongholds and footholds of the enemy.

So run from evil and run to the Lord and He will help you!


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.





1. The Nature of the Human Will

What is the Will? We answer, the will is the faculty of choice, the immediate cause of all action. Choice necessarily implies the refusal of one thing and the acceptance of another. The positive and the negative must both be present to the mind before there can be any choice. In every act of the will there is a preference—the desiring one one thing rather than another. Where there is no preference, but complete indifference, there is no volition. To will is to choose, and to choose is to decide between two or more alternatives. But there is something which influences the choice; something which determines the decision. Hence the will cannot be sovereign because it is the servant of that something. The will cannot be both sovereign and servant. It cannot be both cause and effect. The will is not causative, because, as we have said, something causes it to choose, therefore that something must be the causative agent. Choice itself is affected by certain considerations, is determined by various influences brought to bear upon the individual himself, hence, volition is the effect of these considerations and influences, and if the effect, it must be their servant; and if the will is their servant then it is not sovereign, and if the will is not sovereign, we certainly cannot predicate absolute “freedom” of it. Acts of the will cannot come to pass of themselves—to say they can, is to postulate an uncaused effect. Ex nihilo nihil fit—nothing cannot produce something.

In all ages, however, there have been those who contended for the absolute freedom or sovereignty of the human will. Men will argue that the will possesses a self-determining power. They say, for example, I can turn my eyes up or down, the mind is quite indifferent which I do, the will must decide. But this is a contradiction in terms. This case supposes that I choose one thing in preference to another while I am in a state of complete indifference. Manifestly, both cannot be true. But it may be replied, The mind was quite indifferent until it came to have a preference. Exactly; and at that time the will was quiescent too! But the moment indifference vanished, choice was made, and the fact that indifference gave place to preference, overthrows the argument that the will is capable of choosing between two equal things. As we have said, choice implies the acceptance of one alternative and the rejection of the other or others.

That which determines the will is that which causes it to choose. If the will is determined then there must be a determiner. What is it that determines the will? We reply, The strongest motive power which is brought to bear upon it. What this motive power is varies in different cases. With one it may be the logic of reason, with another the voice of conscience, with another the impulse of the emotions, with another the whisper of the Tempter, with another the power of the Holy Spirit; whichever of these presents the strongest motive power and exerts the greatest influence upon the individual himself is that which impels the will to act. In other words, the action of the will is determined by that condition of mind (which in turn is influenced by the world, the flesh, and the Devil, as well as by God) which has the greatest degree of tendency to excite volition. To illustrate what we have just said let us analyze a simple example—

On a certain Lord’s day afternoon a friend of ours was suffering from a severe headache. He was anxious to visit the sick but feared that if he did so his own condition would grow worse, and as a consequence, be unable to attend the preaching of the Gospel that evening. Two alternatives confronted him: to visit the sick that afternoon and risk being sick himself, or, to take a rest that afternoon (and visit the sick the next day) and probably arise refreshed and fit for the evening service. Now what was it that decided our friend in choosing between these two alternatives? The will? Not at all. True, that in the end, the will made a choice, but the will itself was moved to make the choice. In the above case certain considerations presented strong motives for selecting either alternative; these motives were balanced the one against the other by the individual himself, i.e., his heart and mind, and the one alternative being supported by stronger motives than the other, decision was formed accordingly, and then the will acted. On the one side, our friend felt impelled by a sense of duty to visit the sick; he was moved with compassion to do so, and thus a strong motive was presented to his mind. On the other hand, his judgment reminded him that he was feeling far from well himself, that he badly needed a rest, that if he visited the sick his own condition would probably be made worse, and is such case he would be prevented from attending the preaching of the Gospel that night; furthermore, he knew that on the morrow, the Lord willing, he could visit the sick, and this being so, he concluded he ought to rest that afternoon. Here then were two sets of alternatives presented to our Christian brother: on the one side was a sense of duty plus his own sympathy, on the other side was a sense of his own need plus a real concern for God’s glory, for he felt that he ought to attend the preaching of the Gospel that night. The latter prevailed. Spiritual considerations outweighed his sense of duty. Having formed his decision the will acted accordingly and he retired to rest. An analysis of the above case shows that the mind or reasoning faculty was directed by spiritual considerations, and the mind regulated and controlled the will. Hence we say that, if the will is controlled, it is neither sovereign nor free, but is the servant of the mind.

It is only as we see the real nature of freedom and mark that the will is subject to the motives brought to bear upon it that we are able to discern there is no conflict between two statements of Holy Writ which concern our blessed Lord. In Matt. 4:1 we read, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil;” but in Mark 1:12, 13 we are told, “And immediately the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan.” It is utterly impossible to harmonize these two statements by the Arminian conception of the will. But really there is no difficulty. That Christ was “driven” implies it was by a forcible motive or powerful impulse, such as was not to be resisted or refused; that He was “led” denotes His freedom in going. Putting the two together we learn that He was driven, with a voluntary condescension thereto. So, there is the liberty of man’s will and the victorious efficacy of God’s grace united together: a sinner may be “drawn” and yet “come” to Christ—the “drawing” presenting to him the irresistible motive, the “coming” signifying the response of his will—as Christ was “driven” and “led” by the Spirit into the wilderness.[1]


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

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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), 138–141.


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.