Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Great Quote: A.W. Pink on Saving Faith

The nature of Christ's salvation is woefully misrepresented
by the present-day "evangelist." He announces a Saviour from
hell rather than a Saviour from sin. And that is why so many
are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to
escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from
their carnality and worldliness.

... A. W. Pink (1886-1952), Studies on Saving Faith,
Swengel, Pa.: Reiner Publications, 1932, p. 9-10

This is one of the most interesting quotes I've run across lately. Like all great quotes it sums up a simple but profound truth in a short form.

It helps me answer many Muslim friends who ask me "what would motivate a person to live for God's glory and seek holy living after having their sins forgiven?". They see the forgiveness of sin (past, present, and future) as giving license to continual sinning. "If God will forgive all your sins why would someone stop sinning then?" they ask.

This quote provides a clue to at least one answer to my friends. The saving faith that God grants to those who put their faith and trust in Christ's sacrifice, is faith in a Savior who saves from sin and it's consequences. He's not a Savior who merely saves us from the consequences themselves. Sin is what brings condemnation to us all. It seems reasonable and logical that if Christ only saved us from an eternal hell then the Christian would indeed feel the freedom to continue in sin. But being saved from sin is what true saving faith brings through Christ's death on our behalf.

If the faith I have in Christ is a belief in being saved from sin then that faith will produce in me an ongoing desire to fight against sin in my life rather than just mere belief that I will avoid an eternal hell. This saving faith motivates the Christian to fight sin throughout their lives. And it is sustained in them by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

A second reason that the Christian is motivated to fight against sin rather than giving in to sin is that when we put faith in Christ for salvation we are bound to him as Lord. He is the source of our new life as it says in Colossians 3:3 "For you died and your life is now hidden in Christ with God." Romans 8:1 says "For now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus".

If we are "in him" then we are bound to him and are constantly and eternally with him. We don't just receive something from him. We are with him and in him. And the person who is with him will be motivated to continually fight against sin by his holy presence in them. Just like if a coach or parent were with us in every and all situations in life. If we truly loved them and had faith in them then we would be motivated to live for them at every moment as they urged and encouraged us. So it is all the more with Christ who is with us and in us all the time.

Each of these two reasons and explanations of why the true Christian fights against sin rather than welcomes it need some illustrations but I'll have to supply that later.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good Quote: Murray on Sin in the Believer

There must be a constant and increasing appreciation that
though sin still remains it does not have the mastery. There is
a total difference between surviving sin and reigning sin, the
regenerate in conflict with sin and the unregenerate complacent
to sin. It is one thing for sin to live in us: it is another
for us to live in sin... It is of paramount concern for the
Christian and for the interests of his sanctification that he
should know that sin does not have the dominion over him, that
the forces of redeeming, regenerative, and sanctifying grace
have been brought to bear upon him in that which is central in
his moral and spiritual being, that he is the habitation of God
through the Spirit, and that Christ has been formed in him the
hope of glory.
... John Murray (1898-1975), Redemption, Accomplished and
Applied, Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1955,
p. 145-146