Posts Tagged ‘classics’

5
Jun

Seven Sayings: The Word of Suffering

   Posted by: Mark    in The Church

In this fifth chapter of Pink’s book “The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross,” he addresses Jesus statement, recorded only in the book of John: “I thirst.”

As Tim Challies points out, this chapter shows the gift that Pink has for digging so much deeper than we often care to when we read our Bibles. From the two words “I thirst,” we can learn so much about Christ. Yes, this turns a bit of focus toward the true humanity of Christ, which is important to remember, but it also shows the full deity of Christ. John specifically states, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that Christ spoke these words “that the scripture might be fulfilled!” Amidst the turmoil of his betrayal, his pleading of the Father that this cup pass from him, the humility of the trial and scourging, the physical pain of the crucifixion, and worst of all, the three hours during which the Eternal Father poured out his unrestrained, holy wrath on him, he had enough self-control to review the prophecies that foretold of this moment, recognize the one that had not yet been fulfilled (Psalm 69:21), and speak the words “I thirst.”

Pink concludes the chapter with a profoundly humbling observation. He ties these words of Christ to Revelation 3:20, where Christ seeks the fellowship of his own: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with me.

Salvation is not like standing in line, waiting anxiously for Christ to pass by and tap you on the head as he moves quickly along to provide salvation and blessing for others in line. Christ desires a continued, intimate fellowship and communion with his own! In Revelation he says “I will sup with him, and he with me.” This supping is symbolic of communion with someone. And not only will Christ sup with me, but I with him too — this is specifically and explicitly stated, showing a two-way communion!

This by no means addresses all that Pink pulls from these two words of the Savior. You would do well to take fifteen minutes from your day to read it yourself: The Word of Suffering

You can read Tim’s post here: Reading Classics Togther – The Seven Sayings (Chapter 5)

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15
May

Seven Sayings: The Word of Forgiveness

   Posted by: Mark    in The Church

I read this two weeks ago, on schedule with Tim Challies, but haven’t taken time to post my thoughts yet.

The first chapter in this book deals with Christ’s words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This was a chapter completely overflowing with wonder and encouragement.

Pink explains that, during the most horrific and evil act of all time, with the Son of God hanging on a cross erected by His own creatures, Christ’s first recorded words were those of prayer. And the prayer was not one of calling judgment down on wicked man, or a prayer requesting strength, or a prayer for the “friends” who had left him alone. It was a prayer of mercy and forgiveness for the sake of his murderers. Pink concludes that none are beyond the reach of prayer.

I was intrigued by the idea that Christ’s prayer was specifically and directly answered in Acts, during Peter’s preaching. Pink draws the link between “they know not what they do” and Peter’s statement in Acts 3:17 to his hearers who he said had “acted in ignorance.” And 3000 people were redeemed after Peter’s preaching, not from Peter’s eloquence, but because Christ Himself prayed for them. This is supported even more in John 17:20, where Christ states that He did not pray for the apostles alone, but for “those who will believe.” We, too, need to intercede in prayer for the enemies of God.

It was also noteworthy that sin is always sin to God, whether done willfully or in ignorance. Leviticus 5:15-16 addressed “sins of ignorance,” and shows that even these required blood sacrifice. Pink writes that “God is Holy, and He will not lower His standard of righteousness to the level of our ignorance.”

Another point Pink addresses is one that I had discussed briefly in a Sunday School class just the Sunday before reading the chapter. He deals with the matter of forgiveness, and when we are to forgive. I admit I am not settled in my mind yet as to how to properly divide this matter. Pink points out that Christ did not specifically forgive people here as he had done during his earthly ministry. Rather, he asks his Father to forgive them. Primarily this can be viewed that Christ, in hanging on the cross, was no longer in a position to forgive. (Matthew 9:6 says Christ has power on earth to forgive sins, and John 12:32 says on the cross he was “lifted up from the earth”; on the cross Christ was our substitute, and was no longer in the place of authority on the matter.) Building on the facts that Christ taught to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and that he told us to forgive our brother if he repents (Luke 17:3-4), Pink concludes that Scripture does not teach that we must always forgive in all circumstances. He is careful to point out that withholding forgiveness should not include harboring ill feelings or ill will, but we are not to treat the unrepentant brother as if he had not wronged us. Most certainly, however, we are to pray for him. Again, I am not fully settled in my mind on this, and it warrants further study.

Pink pulls so much out of this first saying of the Savior. Do yourself a favor and read the chapter for yourself: The Word of Forgiveness

You can read Tim’s post here: Reading Classics Together – The Seven Sayings (Chapter 1)

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24
Apr

Seven Sayings: Introduction

   Posted by: Mark    in The Church

A number of weeks ago, Tim Challies identified the third Reading Classics Together book that he would be reading: “The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross” by A. W. Pink. Tim will be posting comments on a new chapter each week until he completes the book, and invites anyone reading along to contribute their comments. Today was Tim’s first post on the book, and he addressed the introduction. It is not my intention to write full reviews or summaries of each chapter. Rather, I expect to point out a few things that impacted me from the readings.

This is the first book by Pink that I have read, and I can already tell that it will not be the last. He handles the Bible carefully, understanding that each word has genuine meaning, and he extracts thoughts that seem obvious in retrospect, but are often missed or ignored in casual or careless reading. This dedicated approach to understanding Scripture has already been an encouragement to me.

In the introduction to the book, Pink devotes significant space to pointing out evidences that Christ willingly gave his life as opposed to having it taken from him. Three of these seven distinct evidences are Christ’s words “I thirst,” Christ bowing his head and giving up the ghost, and the breaking of the legs of the two other crucified with him.

From John 19:28 (“After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.'”) Pink asserts that Christ was in full control of himself on the cross, not powerless, exhausted, or otherwise reduced in mental capacity. As Pink explains, after Christ had hung on the cross for six hours, he reviewed in his mind the prophecies related to his passion and found one yet unfulfilled: Psalm 69:21, which says “They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.” So Jesus, recognizing that he had fulfilled everything to this point, said “I thirst.” This points to “our Lord’s complete self-possession” during the crucifixion, and supports the premise that his life was not being taken, but was being given.

The second of these seven evidences that struck me was based on John 19:30: “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” Pink states that from this, we know that prior to this point, Christ’s head was held erect. “It was no impotent sufferer that hung there in a swoon.” Additionally, the scripture states that Christ “bowed” his head, indicating a conscious act, as opposed to a helpless, weak dropping of his head. Christ’s head did not fall, he bowed it, showing again his complete self-possession. “How sublime was his carriage even on the Tree! What superb composure did He evidence.”

Finally, in the breaking of the legs of the two thieves, we see a third evidence that Christ willingly gave his life. All three of these men had been on the cross for the same amount of time. Pink explains that crucifixion is a slow death, with victims often living for two or three days. Yet six hours after it began, with the two thieves still very much alive, Christ was dead. This is yet another proof that Christ’s life was given, not taken from him.

These three evidences help verify that Christ did indeed lay down his life, and support the point that Christ’s death was very different from any other death.

I’ve already started into the first chapter, and am anxious to post about it. But in keeping with Tim’s schedule, I will wait until next week.

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