The Attributes of God
by Arthur W. Pink
The Bounties of God
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered
into the heart of man—the things which God has prepared for those who love
him" (1 Cor. 2:9). How often this passage is quoted only that far; how
rarely are the words added, "But God has revealed them unto us by his
Spirit" (verse 10). Why is this? Is it because so few of God's people search
out and enjoy what the Spirit has revealed in the Word about those things
which God has prepared for those who love Him? If we were more occupied with
God's riches than with our poverty, Christ's fullness than our emptiness,
the divine bounties than our leanness—on what a different level of
experience we would live!
We are much impressed by noting some of "the riches of
His grace" (Eph. 1:7). It is striking to note that our Christian life starts
at a marriage feast (Luke 14:16-23; Matthew 2-10), just as Christ's first
miracle was wrought at one (John 2). The word to us is, "Come, for all
things are now ready" (Luke 14:17); "Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my
oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come unto the
marriage" (Matthew 22:4). Observe the "I have prepared," agreeing with "the
things which God has prepared for them that love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9). Notice
the "are ready," confirming "God has revealed them unto us" (1 Cor. 2:10).
Mark the "my dinner, my oxen and my fatlings," for "all things are of God"
(2 Cor. 5:18). The creature contributes nothing; all is provided for him.
Finally, weigh the "come unto the marriage." The figure is very blessed; it
speaks of joy, festivity, feasting.
He spread the banquet, made me eat.
Bid all my fears remove,
Yes, o'er my guilty, rebel head
He placed His banner—Love.
Practically the same figure is employed by Christ again
in Luke 15. There He pictures the penitent prodigal welcomed home by the
father. No sooner is he clothed and fitted for the house than the words go
forth, "Bring hither the fattened calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be
merry" (verse 23); and we are told "they began to be merry." In the parable,
that merriment met with no reverse, since it is portrayed without a break
and without a bound. Then we may conclude that this newborn joy ought to
characterize all this festive scene—as truly so now, as soon it will be in
A beautiful type of the lavish manner in which God
bestows His bounties upon His people is found in Genesis 9:3: "Every moving
thing that lives shall be food for you; even as the green herb have I given
you all things." This was Jehovah's response to the "sweet savor" which He
had just smelled. It is most important that we should note the connection,
and perceive the ground on which God so freely bestowed "all things" upon
the patriarch. At the close of Genesis 8 Noah built an altar unto the Lord,
and presented burnt offerings. At the beginning of Genesis 9 we learn God's
answer, which blessedly foreshadowed the unmeasured portion bestowed upon
the new creation, the members of which have been blessed "with all spiritual
blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3).
These blessings are based upon God's estimate of the
value of Christ's sacrifice of Himself. The abiding worth of that sacrifice
is immeasurable and illimitable, as immeasurable as the personal excellency
of the Son, as illimitable as the Father's delight in Him. The nature and
extent of those blessings, which accrue to God's elect on the ground of
Christ's finished work, are intimated by the substantives and adjectives
employed by the Holy Spirit when He describes the profuseness of the divine
bounties already bestowed upon us, and which we shall enjoy forever!
Take first God's grace. Not only are we told of
the "riches of his grace" (Eph. 1:7), and of the "exceeding riches of His
grace" (Eph. 2:7), but also we read that it has "abounded unto many," and
that we receive "abundance of grace," yes, that grace has super-abounded
(Romans 5:15, 17, 20)—the limitless wealth of divine grace flowing forth and
multiplying itself in its objects. The foundation or moving cause of this is
found in John 1. When the only begotten Son became flesh and tabernacled
here for a season, it was as One who was "full of grace and truth." Because
we have been made joint heirs with Him it is written, "And of his fullness
have all we received, and grace for grace" (verse 16).
Take again God's love. There has been neither
reserve nor restraint in the outflow of His love to its loveless, unlovely
objects. He has loved His people with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3).
Wondrously He manifested it, for when the fullness of time was come, He sent
forth His Son, born of a woman. Yes, He did so love the world as to give His
only begotten Son, "that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life": therefore we read of His "great love wherewith he loved
us" (Eph. 2:4). The Greek word translated "great" is rendered "plenteous"
(Matthew 9:37), and "abundant" (1 Pet. 1:3). Love unmeasured, which passes
knowledge, fills our lives with its unceasing ministrations, ever active in
priesthood and advocacy on high, how truly it is love abundant.
Our present theme is inexhaustible. Our Lord came here
that His people "might have life, and that they might have it more
abundantly" (John 10:10). This was first made good when Christ, as the Head
of the new creation and the "beginning of the creation of God" (Rev. 3:14),
breathed on His disciples, "Receive the Holy Spirit." It was the risen
Savior communicating His resurrection life to His own (compare Genesis 2:7
for the beginning of the old creation). So too when that same One, who down
here received the Spirit without measure (John 3:34), ascended on high as
the glorified Man, He baptized His people in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). As
the apostle Paul assures Gentile saints, "He shed on us abundantly" (Titus
3:6). Once more, he emphasized the profuseness of God's bounties.
Consider now His confidences. The Lord Jesus said
to His disciples, "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows
not what his Lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I
have heard of my Father I have made known unto you" (John 15:15). There are
things which the angels "desire to look into" (1 Pet. 1:12), yet they have
been made known to us by God's Spirit. What a word in Ephesians, "Wherein he
has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us
the mystery of his will" (Eph. 1:8-9) This may be termed the abundance of
Once more, consider the exercise and display of His
power. Paul prayed that we might know, "the incredible greatness of his
power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised
Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right
hand in the heavenly realms" (Eph. 1:19-20). Here was the might of God
working transcendently in an objective way; its correlative is recorded in
Ephesians 3:20: "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above
all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." Clearly
this is the highest putting forth of energy, working subjectively.
In such lavish measure then God has blessed His people.
As the apostle wrote to the Colossians concerning Him, "For in him dwells
all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And you are complete [filled full]
in him" (Col. 2:9-10). But it is one thing to know, intellectually, of these
bounties of God; it is quite another, by faith, to make them our own. It is
one thing to be familiar with the letter of them; it is another to live in
their power and be the personal expression of them.
What shall our response be to such divine munificence?
Surely it is that "the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many
redound to the glory of God" (2 Cor. 4:15). Surely it is that we should
"abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13). It is
only here that hope finds its sphere of exercise, since only in the saints
will it receive full fruition. If God speaks so uniformly of the varied
character of our blessing—whether it be His grace, His love, His life
imparted to us, His confidences, His power, His mercy (1 Pet. 1:3 ff.)—as
being so abundant, it must be because He wants to impress our hearts with
the exuberance of the bounties He has bestowed on us. The practical effect
of this on our souls should cause us to "rejoice in God through our Lord
Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:11), to draw out all that is within us in true
worship, to fit us for a closer and deeper fellowship with Him. "And God is
able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all
sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Cor. 9:8).