14 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14–16)
For the next several days, I will be profiling several individuals who not only preached about, but lived a life, of personal holiness before the Lord. While these pastors, evangelists, and hymn writers lived in different centuries and countries, they all shared a common bond which binds them together: holiness. These profiles will provide an introduction to our impending study of holiness. Today’s profile concerns pastor and author Arthur Walkington (A.W.) Pink.
Born in Nottingham, England in 1886, A. W. Pink was converted to Christ while a spiritualist medium. He briefly attended the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, in 1910, before taking up his first pastorate at Silverton, Colorado.
Little-known then to the outside world, he pastored churches in the United States and Australia before finally returning to his homeland in 1934. Settling in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, it was there that he served and eventually died almost unnoticed in 1952.
By that date, however, the magazine he had started in 1922 – Studies in the Scriptures – was feeding several of the men who were leading a return to doctrinal Christianity, including Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Douglas Johnson (founder of Inter-Varsity) and, in book form after his death, his writings became very widely read across the world. His books The Sovereignty of God, Gleanings from Paul, Profiting from the Word, The Life of Elijah, and a number of other titles remain in print today. With respect to the subject of holiness, Pink wrote:
“Because God is holy the utmost reverence becomes our approaches unto Him.”God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all about Him” (Ps. 89:7). Then “Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool; He is holy” (Ps. 99:5). Yes, “at His footstool,” in the lowest posture of humility, prostrate before Him. When Moses would approach unto the burning bush, God said, “put off thy shoes from off thy feet” (Ex. 3:5). He is to be served “with fear” (Ps. 2:11). Of Israel His demand was, “I will be sanctified in them that come nigh Me, and before all the people I will be glorified” “The “god” which the vast majority of professing Christians “love,” is looked upon very much like an indulgent old man, who himself has no relish for folly, but leniently winks at the “indiscretions” of youth. But the Word says, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity “(Ps. 5:5). And again, “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps. 7:11). But men refuse to believe in this God, and gnash their teeth when His hatred of sin is faithfully pressed upon their attention. No, sinful man was no more likely to devise a holy God than to create the Lake of fire in which he will be tormented for ever and ever.
“Because God is holy, acceptance with Him on the ground of creature doings is utterly impossible. A fallen creature could sooner create a world than produce that which would meet the approval of infinite Purity. Can darkness dwell with Light? Can the Immaculate One take pleasure in “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6)? The best that sinful man brings forth is defiled. A corrupt tree cannot bear good fruit. God would deny Himself, vilify His perfections, were He to account as righteous and holy that which is not so in itself; and nothing is so which has the least stain upon it contrary to the nature of God. But blessed be His name that (Lev. 10:3). The more our hearts are awed by His ineffable holiness, the more acceptable will be our approaches unto Him.”
In conclusion, Pink writes, “Then as God alone is the Source and Fount of holiness, let us earnestly seek holiness from HIm; let our daily prayer be that He may sanctify us wholly; and our whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of the our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:23).
Soli deo Gloria!