Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Profiting from the Word - Chapter 2

In Chapter 2 "The Scriptures and God" of Profiting from the Word, A.W. Pink looks at how someone becomes a genuine child of God and identifies 7 spiritual effects of truly profiting from the Word.  As part of my family devotional study of this book, I've decided to post my thoughts chapter by chapter and to include portions from the book that are helping me improve my daily Bible reading and study.  You can read my notes from Chapter 1 here.

Mr. Pink outlines the monergistic work of God in salvation.  He states that "[a] supernatural God can only be known supernaturally (i.e. known in a manner above that which mere nature can acquire), by a supernatural revelation of Himself to the heart."  He uses a simple, yet effective, illustration: "Water, of itself, never rises above its own level.  So the natural man is incapable of perceiving that which transcends mere nature."  Therefore, "[e]ternal life must be imparted before the 'True God' can be 'understanding,' a spiritual understanding, by a new creation, must be given before God can be known in a spiritual way."

So, how does this work of God happen in someone's life?  Mr. Pink continues, (emphasis mine), "[t]he supernatural experience of the Christian is seen in his attitude toward God.  Having within him the life of God...he necessarily loves God, loves the things of God, loves what God loves, and, contrariwise, he hates what God hates.  This supernatural experience is wrought in him by the Spirit of God, and that by means of the Word of God.  The Spirit never works apart from the Word.  By that Word He quickens.  By that Word He produces conviction of sin.  By that Word He sanctifies.  By that Word He gives assurance.  By that Word He makes the saint to grow."

An individual who truly and spiritually profits from the Word has a:
  1. Clearer Recognition of God’s Claims--"This is what true conversion is: it is a tearing down of every idol, a renouncing of the empty vanities of a cheating world, and taking God for our Portion, our Ruler, our All in all...It belongs to God as God to legislate, prescribe, determine for us; it belongs to us as a bounden duty to be ruled, governed, disposed of by Him at His pleasure...It is in them [the Scriptures], and in them alone, that the claims of God are revealed and enforced, and just as far as we are obtaining clearer and fuller views of God’s rights, and are yielding ourselves thereto, are we really being blessed."
  2. Greater Fear of God’s Majesty--"The man who lives in the fear of God is conscious that “the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Pro 15:3); therefore is he conscientious about his private conduct as well as his public. The one who is deterred from committing certain sins because the eyes of men are upon him, and who hesitates not to commit them when alone, is destitute of the fear of God...Thus, just so far as we are awed by God’s awful majesty, are made conscious that: 'Thou God seest me' (Gen 16:13), and work out our salvation with 'fear and trembling' (Phi 2:12), are we truly profited from our reading and study of the Bible."
  3. Deeper Reverence for God’s Commandments--"A spirit of obedience is communicated to every regenerated soul...None of us keeps them perfectly, yet every real Christian both desires and strives to do so...Christ has redeemed His people from the curse of the Law and not from the command of it; He has saved them from the wrath of God, but not from His government...Just so far as our reading and study of the Scripture is, by the Spirit’s application, begetting within us a greater love and a deeper respect for, and a more punctual keeping of God’s commandments, are we really profiting thereby."
  4. Firmer Trust in God’s Sufficiency--"That which characterizes all the unregenerate is that they lean upon an arm of flesh. But the elect of grace have their hearts drawn from all creature supports, to rest upon the living God...Thus, as the Scriptures are pondered, and their promises received in the mind, faith is strengthened, confidence in God is increased and assurance deepened. By this we may discover whether or not we are profiting from our study of the Bible."
  5. Fuller Delight in God’s Perfections--"But the Christian delights in the wondrous perfections of God. Really to own God as our God is not only to submit to His scepter, but is to love Him more than the world, to value Him above everything and everyone else...Thus, to the extent that you are being weaned from the empty pleasures of this world, are learning that there is no blessing outside of God, discovering He is the Source and Sum of all excellency, and your heart being drawn out to Him, your mind stayed on Him, with your soul finding its joy and satisfaction in Him, are you really profiting from the Scriptures."
  6. Larger Submission to God’s Providences--"It is natural to murmur when things go wrong; it is supernatural to hold our peace (Lev 10:3)...Here, then, is another sure test: if your Bible study is teaching you that God’s way is best, and causing you to submit unrepiningly to all His dispensations, if you are enabled to give thanks for all things (Eph 5:20), then are you profiting indeed."
  7. More Fervent Praise for God’s Goodness--"Praise is the outflow of a heart which finds its satisfaction in God...The more we are 'increasing in the knowledge of God' (Col 1:10), the more shall we adore Him. But it is only as the word dwells in us richly that we are filled with spiritual songs (Col 3:16) and make melody in our hearts to the Lord. The more our souls are drawn out in true worship, the more we are found thanking and praising our great God, the clearer evidence we give that our study of His word is profiting us."
As I conclude this chapter, I would like to leave you pondering a serious spiritual self-assessment from A.W. Pink:  "Ah, my reader, if your heart has not been drawn out to love and delight in God, then it is still dead toward Him."

"Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.  My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever," (Psalm 73:25-26).