The Stiff Neck of Sedition

“I said to the boastful, Do not boast; and to the wicked, Do not lift up the horn. Do not lift up your horn on high; do [not] speak with a stiff neck. For exaltations [are] not from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert; but God [is] the judge; [He] puts down this one and lifts up this [other]” (Psalm 75:4-7).

The king of Assyria was one such boastful beast who DID lift up his horn on high, and DID speak with the stiff neck of sedition (see Isaiah 10:5-15). Reformed Calvinist Loraine Boettner was shown to be in league with this king. Here now is A.W. Pink joining the two aforementioned potsherds in battle against the Mighty One of Jacob. Witness the fruit of Pink’s proud heart and the glory of his lofty eyes:

“The sinner’s will is enslaved because it is in bondage to and is the servant of a depraved heart. In what does the sinner’s freedom consist? This question is naturally suggested by what we have just said above. The sinner is ‘free’ in the sense of being unforced from without. God never forces the sinner to sin. But the sinner is not free to do either good or evil because an evil heart within is ever inclining him toward sin. Let us illustrate what we have in mind. I hold in my hand a book. I release it; what happens? It falls. In which direction? Downwards; always downwards. Why? Because, answering the law of gravity, its own weight sinks it. Suppose I desire that book to occupy a position three feet higher; then what? I must lift it; a power outside of that book must raise it. Such is the relationship which fallen man sustains toward God. Whilst Divine power upholds him he is preserved from plunging still deeper into sin; let that power be withdrawn and he falls — his own weight (of sin) drags him down. God does not push him down anymore than I did that book. Let all Divine restraint be removed and every man is capable of becoming, would become, a Cain, a Pharaoh, a Judas. How then is the sinner to move heavenward? By an act of his own will? Not so. A power outside of himself must grasp hold of him and lift him every inch of the way. The sinner is free, but free in one direction only—free to fall, free to sin. As the Word expresses it: ‘For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness’ (Rom. 6:20). The sinner is free to do as he pleases, always as he pleases (except as he is restrained by God), but his pleasure is to sin” (A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God; italic emphasis Pink’s).

Does a person’s denial that God actively causes and completely controls their sinful actions necessarily stem from pride? Or, rather, is it possible that this person is simply striving to emulate the Assyrian concern to protect God’s holiness, honor, justice, and glory?

“So the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts shall send leanness among his fat ones. And under His glory will kindle a burning like the burning of fire. And the Light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame; and it shall burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day. And He shall consume the glory of his forest and his fruitful field, even from soul to flesh; and it shall be as a sick man melts away. And the rest of the trees of the forest shall be few, so that a boy might write them” (Isaiah 10:16-19).

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