Thoughts on the Life of A. B. Simpson
It was amazing that I was lead to these observations into the heart of A. B. Simpson by Dale Hawthorne today, as I prayed for God’s word for my heart. I could not help but share it!
I have sung A. B. Simpson’s songs for years, and appreciated the thoughts and ministering spirit behind them, but never have I considered the spiritual battles and hungers that inspired them in A. B. Simpson’s heart! I never knew the beliefs that he struggled with, and choose to walk away from, in order to obey the Holy Spirit, in order to walk intimately with Jesus Christ.
Some of the punctuation and highlighting in the following partial article, of Dale Hawthorne’s, are put there by me, for my emphasis. The article, in its original entirety is found at <https://daleahawthor...ives-in-christ/>.
From the writtings of Dale Hawthorne.
Preaching Point A place to listen to, consider and ponder what the Bible has to say to us today.
“Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.”
September 11, 2016
Up From the Old Life to New Lives in Christ by Dale Hawthorne
Albert Benjamin Simpson, the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, had been raised as a staunch Calvinist Presbyterian, and ministered as a staunch Calvinist Presbyterian pastor. In his poetry, hymns and testimony, though, there’s a longing that’s visible for something more than stumbling and confessing, something more than just ‘continuous repentance.’ Rather, it was a longing after a victory over sin in this life – not sinless perfection – but rather the victory that he saw written and explained in the New Testament. Here’s what he had to say:
“I’m weary of sinning and stumbling,
Repenting and falling again;
I’m tired of resolving and striving,
And finding the struggle so vain.
I long for an arm to uphold me,
A will that is stronger than mine,
A Savior to cleanse me and fill me,
And keep me by power divine.”
(I Want to be Holy, A.B. Simpson)
Is this the desire of your heart? Have you been coming to church for years, and finding that in your heart that before even the opening prayer has begun that you are under conviction for the way that you’ve been living throughout the week and especially on Friday and Saturday evening? Do you sense that you’re continually having to try to dig yourself out of a spiritual hole, to try to keep on trying and confessing, to get back some of the joy of salvation that you once experienced?
The answer to this longing is to go back to the scriptures and to grow deeper into the understanding of the gospel, to understand the depth of the provision of the salvation of God for your life through Jesus Christ. So often I think that some of the people who leave off attendance at the public services of our churches do so because they do not find an answer to the conviction that they feel when they come in; being beaten down by their own besetting sins. Sometimes they settle for less than the promised victory over sin, promised in the salvation of God, and they become accustomed to what we can call ‘cheap grace.’ They come to accept the idea that a person can grow deeper and continue onward in the ways of sin and self-indulgence because of the depth of the free mercy and grace of God.
The scriptures themselves provide the the strongest correction to the dangerous misconception of cheap grace, that the preaching and teaching of freedom from the eternal consequences of sin means a divine permission slip for self-indulgence in more and more sin. This is what we could call ‘antinomian orthodoxy’ – the idea that if you just have faith in Christ you are not responsible to grow in Christlike holiness and love. While there is often today a rightful reproof of legalism, the idea that salvation comes from adding on additional rules and regulations to faith in Christ, there is a tendency also today towards antinomian orthodoxy. This is where some may take the truth of the gospel of grace to a seemingly logical conclusion but in the totally wrong direction. This is the dangerous misconception that the gospel is permission to sin and can even be taken as an encouragement just to sin more and more. Make no mistake, the result of antinomian orthodoxy is that it discredits the gospel as truth from the holy God and leaves professed believers wallowing in rampant hypocrisy......
....So then, the freedom from the power of sin through Christ is truth that means freedom for the believer in Christ. It means freedom from the life of resolutions to do better, falling and asking forgiveness over and over. Freedom from the power of sin in Christ is, moreover, critical to finding freedom from the past, from addictions, bitterness and abuse, to finding newness of life in Christ. And for the believer who may not be caught in spectacular life dominating sins of addiction and abuse, it also means freedom from a double life, from rampant hypocrisy, from rollercoaster Christian life. It means that as believers it is not necessary to to live as if we were spiritually having to dig ourselves out of a ditch again and again and again because of falling into habitual sins, but that we can live in freedom through understanding and embracing who we are in Christ.
The truth, of who we are in Christ, meant for our heart, to guide us in what newness of life is, but it does not stop there. THE TRUTH OF OUR DEATH AND RESURRECTION WITH CHRIST CALLS US TO ENTIRE CONSECRATION TO GOD THROUGH CHRIST. The truth of who we are in Christ calls for a response from us; the truth of who we are in Christ needs to change our understanding of ourselves and the direction that we follow in life. It calls for a radical change in our lives that often becomes decisive and radical when we realize who we are in Christ.
Our new identity, as those who have died to sin but are alive to God in Christ, is to be fundamental to our understanding of ourselves. Then this consideration of ourselves as not under the authority or compulsion of sin, as alive to God becomes the basis of our total consecration to the will of God.
The apostle explains and calls for the response to God appropriate to our new standing in Christ in (Romans 6) verses 11-13: “In the same way consider yourselves to be dead to sin but living for God in Christ Jesus. Then don’t let sin have dominion in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, and don’t keep on presenting your bodily members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin. But rather present yourselves to God as if you were alive from the dead and your bodily members as instruments of righteousness to God.”....
....Finally, have you consecrated your entire life to Christ? Make a conscious decision before God against the rule of sin in your life, as the scripture calls you to do. Turn from the dominion of sin and self-indulgence and decide for entire obedience to God. Present yourself to God as a conscious act before him, upon the basis of who you are in Jesus Christ – someone who has died to sin and who is alive to God.
Back to my Thoughts...
Paul states this concept in Romans 12:1-2. The following is the Amplified’s rendering. To have an understanding of the Greek word meanings, as given by Strong’s Greek Dictionary, added even more impact and answers to the searching of my hungry heart.
“I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.”
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”
Who, or what has the majority of the attention of your heart?
Where are, or what are the real treasures of your heart?