With much trepidation I picked up A.W. Pink’s ‘The Sovereignty of God‘ about 10 days ago. I was pretty worried that it would become one of those books I started and then took forever to finish because it was difficult to read and hard to get through. I was incredibly wrong – this was a wonderful book and an excellent overview of God’s absolute sovereignty. Arthur Pink was born in the 1880’s and lived in Great Britain, the US, and Australia while serving as a pastor. He became much more influential after his death when his works were published and distributed. His writing helped spark a revival of expository preaching in the second half of the 20th century.
In his introduction to the book, A.W. Pink displays his pastoral heart as he states, “What the preacher needs to give out is not what his people most like to hear, but what they most need, i.e. those aspects of truth they are least familiar with, or least exhibiting in their walk.” It is for this purpose that Pink wrote this book as he recognizes, “It is true that in the degenerate days in which our lot is cast, when on every side man is exalted, and ‘superman’ has become a common expression, there is a real need for a special emphasis upon the glorious fact of God’s supremacy.”
Pink’s opening chapter deals with the sovereignty of God and the present world. He states, “Throughout Christendom, with an almost negligible exception, the theory is held that man determines his fortunes and decides his destiny by his own ‘free will.'” Later on he continues, “Ours is peculiarly an age of irreverence, and as a consequence, the spirit of lawlessness, which brooks no restraint and which is desirous of casting off everything which interferes with the free course of self-will, is rapidly engulfing the earth like some gigantic tidal wave…Therefore, in view of the growing disrespect for human law and the refusal to ‘render honour to whom honour is due,’ we need not be surprised that the recognition of the majesty, the authority, the sovereignty of the Almighty Law-giver should recede more and more into the background, and that the masses have less and less patience with those who insist upon them…Who is regulating affairs on this earth today…? Only two alternatives are possible: God must either rule, or be ruled; sway, or be swayed; accomplish His own will, or be thwarted by His creatures.”
There’s much more to read in this book and I’d highly recommend it to anyone – it was a much simpler/easier read than I anticipated and I appreciated Pink’s ability to make the Word of God speak so clearly on this topic. I will leave you with a few thoughts from what might be my favorite chapter of the book entitled, “God’s Sovereignty and the Human Will”.
“The popular idea now prevailing, and which is taught from the great majority of pulpits, is that man has a ‘free will,’ and that salvation comes to the sinner through his will co-operating with the Holy Spirit…And yet Scripture emphatically says, ‘It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.’ (Romans 9:16)…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…In unfallen Adam the will was free, free in both directions, free toward good and free toward evil. But with the sinner it is far otherwise. The sinner is born with a will that is not in a condition of moral equipoise, because in him there is a heart that is ‘deceitful above all things and desperately wicked,’ and this gives him a bias toward evil…the sinner’s will is biased towards evil, and therefore is ‘free’ in one direction only, namely, in the direction of evil…the will is under the dominion of sin and Satan. Therefore, the will is not free…If ever the will of a fallen and depraved creature is to move Godwards, a Divine power must be brought to bear upon it which will overcome the influences of sin that pull in a counter-direction…In order for any sinner to be saved three things were indispensable: God the Father had to purpose his salvation, God the Son had to purchase it, God the Spirit has to apply it. God does more than ‘propose’ to us. Were He only to ‘invite,’ every one of us would be lost.”
Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”