Arthur W. Pink
Eternal Security is the teaching that God shall with no uncertainty bring into their eternal inheritance those who are actually justified—delivered from the curse of the law and have the righteousness of Christ reckoned to their account—and who have been begotten by the Spirit of God. And further it is the teaching that God shall do this in a way glorifying to Himself, in harmony with His nature and consistent with the teaching of Scripture concerning the nature of those who are called saints. Why is this important? Why is it important for every Christian to know that once God has taken him for His own, He will never let him go? Arthur W. Pink gives many reasons for this in this book on Eternal Security. For one thing, it is necessary in order to strengthen young and fearful Christians in their faith—by safeguarding the honor and integrity of God and His Word. And it is also necessary in order to preserve one of the grand and distinctive blessings of the Gospel, which to deny is to attack the very foundations of the believer’s comfort and assurance.
But let the reader be warned right from the start. Those who think that they are opposed to what Pink finds in Scripture may be surprised to find themselves agreeing with him. And those on the other side may find that Pink has gone way beyond the mere statement and proof of a doctrine to implications that they may have to accept for their own lives. The author is no shallow student of the Word, but asks us to follow Out its teaching so as to relate it properly to God’s scheme of things.
It is important for the reader to avoid wrong impressions as he begins to read. The book has been titled Eternal Security because today that is the name given to the doctrine dealt with in this book. But historically the doctrine was called Perseverance of the Saints, and Pink himself preferred that title. But whether it is called Eternal Security or Perseverance of the Saints, it is the same doctrine that has been held down through the years. We must not take issue with him because at some points he used different words from what we are accustomed to.
As he begins, the reader may also mistakenly get the impression that Pink is arguing against Eternal Security at the same time he claims to be for it. We assure the reader that this is not so. Pink is not attempting to undermine this doctrine through trickery, not in the least. If then he doesn’t seem clear, we ask the reader to be patient and give him a chance to explain himself (esp. in chap. 7). We, as Pink did, should realize that many doctrines of Scripture cannot be fairly stated as simple slogans. Eternal Security is one of these. Let us endeavor to study out this doctrine to its final conclusion since it is so important to our welfare as we walk the Christian life.
It may help to know that Pink originally came out from a group of rather sectarian hyper-Calvinistic Baptists in England. He clearly reacted strongly to some of their distinctive tenets. This is especially true of their Antinomian tendencies, in which they inclined toward the view that since all of man’s actions and circumstances are predestined, a Christian need not bother with his responsibilities—God will bring all that is needed into his life so that he will automatically be directed to do what He wants.
But though he rejected this kind of thinking very strongly (Pink’s book Practical Christianity gives a very helpful, balanced view), he did not overreact. He remained unashamedly Calvinistic. Yet it was his desire to avoid all lopsidedness, and it is for that reason that he may truly be said to be of value to all. No matter what he wrote on, he gave careful consideration to all who in any way try to base their view on Scripture.
Pink was unusually thorough in his writings. One can read dozens of books by other writers on a subject and find that questions have been left unanswered by them all. Not so with Pink. It rarely happens that he will not deal with a pressing question. He decried superficiality and compromise. The result was a full but practical treatment of each subject he wrote on.
Yet he did not get bogged down in philosophical theology. Pink was first and foremost a careful expositor of Scripture, and this carried over in his handling of doctrine. He did not quote a text of Scripture and leave it up to the reader to make the connections. Rather, he usually took the time to deal with it positively, relating each part to the subject and establishing beyond question that the particular Scripture applies. He was also a master in showing the meaning of a text of Scripture by a careful consideration of its context. Time after time he demonstrates in this way that it cannot mean what some have claimed. Thus he avoids the proof-text method of developing a doctrine. The reader will see this for himself in this book.
Eternal Security is a doctrine that complements and completes other truths. It is the truth which establishes a Christian in assurance of salvation. The doctrine of election in itself cannot do this. Justification cannot do this. The doctrine of sanctification cannot do this. Not even the doctrine of glorification does so. Yet each of these is incomplete without Eternal Security. Election, Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification are all hypothetical—mere possibilities—until Eternal Security complements and completes them by showing how they are applied to specific individuals. And it is also practical because it brings believers to assurance of salvation, which according to many Scripture passages they are to have.
There is, however, the possibility of self-deception. Assurance of salvation must be based on a right understanding of what God’s Word teaches concerning Eternal Security. D. L. Moody told a story that illustrates the danger. A drunk stopped Moody one time and said, "Don’t you remember me? I’m the man you saved here two years ago." "Well," said Moody, "it must have been me, because the Lord certainly didn’t do it." Too many are "saved" by men, and not saved by God. In other words, one can have assurance of salvation — like the drunk —without being saved. We must contend for Eternal Security for those who are really saved — who are born anew, and have been changed within. This is what Arthur W. Pink explains so well in this book.
The material for this book was taken from a series of 34 articles in Pink’s Studies in the Scriptures (Vols. 21-23), written under the title "The Saint’s Perseverance," and first published as a separate book under that title in 1972.