God has given us His Word not only with the design of instructing us, but for the purpose of directing us: to make known what He requires us to do. The first thing we need is a clear and distinct knowledge of our duty; and the first thing God demands of us is a conscientious practice of it, corresponding to our knowledge. "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8). "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Eccles. 12:13). The Lord Jesus affirmed the same thing when He said, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:14).
1. A man profits from the Word as he discovers God's demands upon him; His undeviating demands, for He changes not. It is a great and grievous mistake to suppose that in this present dispensation God has lowered His demands, for that would necessarily imply that His previous demand was a harsh and unrighteous one. Not so! "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12). The sum of God's demands is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deut. 6:5); and the Lord Jesus repeated it in Matthew 22:37). The apostle Paul enforced the same when he wrote, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be Anathema" (1 Corinthians 16:22).
2. A man profits from the Word when he discovers how entirely and how sinfully he has failed to meet God's demands. And let us point out for the benefit of any who may take issue with the last paragraph that no man can see what a sinner he is, how infinitely short he has fallen of measuring up to God's standard, until he has a clear sight of the exalted demands of God upon him! Just in proportion as preachers lower God's standard of what he requires from every human being, to that extent will their hearers obtain an inadequate and faulty conception of their sinfulness, and the less will they perceive their need of an almighty Saviour. But once a soul really perceives what are God's demands upon him, and how completely and constantly he has failed to render Him His due, then does he recognize what a desperate situation he is in. The law must be preached before any are ready for the gospel.
3. A man profits from the Word when he is taught therefrom that God, in His infinite grace, has fully provided for His people's meeting His own demands. At this point, too, much present-day preaching is seriously defective. There is being given forth what may loosely be termed a "half Gospel," but which in reality is virtually a denial of the true Gospel. Christ is brought in, yet only as a sort of "make-do." That Christ has vicariously met every demand of God upon all who believe upon Him is blessedly true, yet it is only a part of the truth. The Lord Jesus has not only vicariously satisfied for His people the requirements of God's righteousness, but He has also secured that they shall personally satisfy them too. Christ has procured the Holy Spirit to make good in them what the Redeemer wrought for them.
~A. W. Pink~
(continued with # 8)