Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Counterfeits of Saving Faith - A.W. Pink

In closing this first article we will endeavour to point out some of the particulars in which this non-saving faith is defective, and wherein it comes short of a faith which does save. First, with many it is because they are willing for Christ to save them from Hell, but are not willing for Him to save them from self. They want to be delivered from the wrath to come, but they wish to retain their self-will and self-pleasing. But He will not be dictated unto: you must be saved on His terms, or not at all. When Christ saves, He saves from sin—from its power and pollution, and therefore from its guilt. And the very essence of sin is the determination to have my own way (Isa. 53:6). Where Christ saves, He subdues the spirit of self-will, and implants a genuine, a powerful, a lasting desire and determination to please Him.

Again; many are never saved because they wish to divide Christ; they want to take Him as a Saviour, but are unwilling to subject themselves unto Him as their Lord. Or, if they are prepared to own Him as Lord, it is not as an absolute Lord. But this cannot be: Christ will be either Lord of all, or He will not be Lord at all. But the vast majority of professing Christians would have Christ’s sovereignty limited at certain points; it must not entrench too far upon the liberty which some worldly lust or carnal interest demands. His peace they covet, but His “yoke” is unwelcome. Of all such Christ will yet say “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” (Luke 19:27).

Again; there are multitudes which are quite ready for Christ to justify them, but not to sanctify. Some kind of, some degree of sanctification, they will tolerate, but to be sanctified wholly, their “whole spirit and soul and body” (1 Thess. 5:23), they have no relish for. For their hearts to be sanctified, for pride and covetousness to be subdued, would he too much like the plucking out of a right eye. For the constant mortification of all their members, they have no taste. For Christ to come to them as a Refiner, to burn up their lusts, consume their dross, to utterly dissolve their old frame of nature, to melt their souls, so as to make them run in a new mould, they like not. To utterly deny self, and take up their cross daily, is a task from which they shrink with abhorrence.

Again; many are willing for Christ to officiate as their Priest, but not for Him to legislate as their King. Ask them, in a general way, if they are ready to do whatsoever Christ requires of them, and they will answer in the affirmative, emphatically and with confidence. But come to particulars: apply to each one of them those specific commandments and precepts of the Lord which they are ignoring, and they will at once cry out “Legalism!” or, “We cannot be perfect in everything.” Name nine duties and perhaps they are performing them, but mention a tenth and it at once makes them angry, for you have come too close home to their case. Herod heard John gladly and did “many things” (Mark 6:20), but when he referred to Herodias, he touched him to the quick. Many are willing to give up their theatre-going, and card-parties, who refuse to go forth unto Christ outside the camp. Others are willing to go outside the camp, yet refuse to deny their fleshly and worldly lusts. Reader, if there is a reserve in your obedience, you are on the way to Hell. Our next article will take up the Nature of saving faith.

Pink, A. W. (19--). The doctrines of election and justification. Swengel, Pa.: Reiner.


  1. Saving faith

    Appears to me that the Holy Spirit uses the word “saved” in different contexts in the New Testament (NT). 1. Saved from eternal damnation. This is the context which (IMHO) most preachers and people assign to almost every instance it is written in the NT. 2. Saved (peace that passes human understanding) from the human desire to and consequences of personal and global sin.

    In context #1, seems to me the NT indicates that one is saved from eternal damnation as a sovereign act of God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (pure grace). In another act of grace, God reveals that fact to those whom he has saved. I'm confused about the role of saving faith in redemption if God is fully sovereign in redemption. I don't think the NT rules out that some whom God has redeemed never learn of their salvation while alive on earth, and are therefore never saved in context #2.

    One is saved in context #2 when he believes and trusts in God. And this also is not of oneself, but a gift as well.

    Your article seems to imply that man is sovereign and God is passive. People don't have “saving faith” because God has not redeemed them, revealed Himself to them, and given them faith.

    I am so thankful to God that he made me a new creature in Christ from His own will and didn't wait for me (totally dead spiritually) to have saving faith. I'm still working on the faith thing with His help.


  2. Quite the contrary, God is sovereign! He regenerates the human heart, imparts the gift of faith as an act of divine grace, and man responds positively to the gospel. The point of this article has to do with hypocrisy and dead faith as opposed to saving faith. Saving faith always produces fruit! No fruit, no faith. You comment that some men have been redeemed by God but they don't know it is quite puzzling. I would like for you to elaborate a bit if you would be so kind.


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