A.W. Pink is not unknown to most of you. He has written extensively both topical books and commentaries. He writes as a 20th century Puritan. His most famous work, The Sovereignty of God, continues to sell. He is also known for his commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. Whether or not you are familiar with Pink, this is a good introduction to or reminder of his ability to communicate the doctrines of grace.
The book is a collection of articles written by the author in numerous publications and as usual, he focuses on God in reminding us that it is not about us but about him. You will delight in each of the ten chapters especially beginning with ‘The Design of the Atonement.’ That chapter centers on the atonement, which was designed to bring honor and glory to the triune God by the redeemed, God’s elect. He also reminds us that the intent and design of the atonement was intended to provide complete satisfaction to God for our sins thus bringing us into his presence and fellowship with him.
He also has some unique thoughts on the coming of the Holy Spirit and the role of the third person of the trinity in God’s plan. Pink says that the coming of the Holy Spirit is second in importance only to the coming of Christ. He is also quick to say, as he does with the coming of Christ, the coming of the Spirit is the fulfillment of prophecy.
Pink also has some interesting thoughts on the topic and location of adoption within God’s plan of redemption. Usually we place adoption after justication in the Ordo Salutis but Pink suggests that we have to be adopted and then regenerated. His point is that we are not made children of God by the new birth. We were not made children of God by Christ’s death on the cross. We were children of God from before the foundation of the world by his electing grace. Regeneration simply gives the children of God “a nature suited to their relation.”
His treatment of the necessity of spiritual growth is worth the price of the book. While he reminds us that although we are to make spiritual progress or grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord, our growth does not make God loves us any more than he always does. However, without spiritual growth we will not experience the fullness of all that God has prepared for those who love him. Pink is also clear that God does not fill our lives with assurance of our salvation without “carefulness and diligence.” Pink actually includes two chapters on this topic. What he wants us to remember is that spiritual growth requires the inner working of the Holy Spirit plus a desire on our part to grow in grace.
He also addresses the topic of ‘progressive sanctification” which has troubled many Christians over the years. He makes clear the right and wrong use of that idea. In principle, we are fully sanctified already in Christ but our experience of that is progressive and dependent on our obedience. Of course in Pink’s fashion, he makes it clear that spiritual growth is not optional.
You might also find his chapter on the law, where he clearly distinguished the law of Moses from the Ten Commandments, a helpful read. Pink says that while the law of Moses was required for all Jews and Gentile proselytes, the ten commandments are universally binding on all men for all times and peoples. (A good thought in light of some current debates about the public display of the Ten Commandments.) This will be a good book for personal reading, family study, or even a Sunday school class.