Posted by: William | April 25, 2008

Reading Classics Together

A few months back I decided to read The Mortification of Sin in Believers by John Owen, along with Challies.com. I eventually trailed off from the group, but regardless, the structure offered some sense of stability in helping me get through a very difficult text. In addition to that, it was also encouraging to read other’s thoughts as they were going through the same piece of intense literature. Well, the folks over at Challies are doing it again, this time with Arthur W. Pink’s classic, The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross. I’ve decided to join them again.

If you’d like to join the party, I encourage you to do so. Just snag a copy of the book from Amazon, they’re pretty cheap, less than 10 bucks. Then, read one chapter a week and post your thoughts either on the Challies.com Thursday posts, or on your own blog. I can say from experience, that it’s a beneficial process.

I started Seven Sayings this morning with Pink’s quick introduction to the rest of his text. He hasn’t even said anything yet and he’s already packing a punch. He explains that Jesus’ death was natural, in that he was a real person who really died, it was unnatural, in that it wasn’t at all ordinary, it was preter-natural, in that it was decided long before the foundations of the world and finally it was super-natural, in that it was different from all other deaths that had ever happened and would ever happen again.

Pink spread out an extremely interesting expose, especially concerning Christ’s death as supernatural. But something that really jumped off the page to me as I read it was the preternatural nature of his death. I’m not a stranger to the idea of Christ’s work on the cross having been long predetermined. But what I found especially interesting was how beautifully this aspect of Christ’s work knit God’s righteousness and love into all created history. God was perfectly just in forgiving David’s sin because of the impending, unshakable, unstoppable, work of Christ. God was perfectly just in forgiving all of the true Old Testament saints their sins, in the same manner as he is just in forgiving ours. While now, Christ’s work is finished and we look back at it in hope of our future glory, the saints of before Christ looked foreword, in faith, to the promise of that same one. It was in this way, as Pink points out, that God justly “passed over former sins.” (Romans 3:25).

The repetition of that truth offers strength to my spirit, knowing that even before Christ’s work was done, the effect was so sure and the action so decided, that God could safely and justly forgive sins in light of that work. If it was so sure then, how about now? Mind blowing. Praise Jesus!

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