Lately, I have frequently seen the incorrect application of something A.W. Tozer wrote. In his book, “Knowledge of The Holy,” Tozer wrote:
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
Sadly, this is taken to mean that nothing else matters. I can sin to my great delight, as long as I think about God. But is that really what Tozer was saying? Recently, I was reading an article from an advocate for the LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ lifestyle, and she used Tozer’s quote to justify her sin. She was saying, “See, it doesn’t matter that I embrace my sexual identity because all that matters is what I think about God.” Oh? Don’t stop reading there, Miss. Maybe you should actually read the context in which Tozer was writing.
That’s the problem. She took Tozer’s comment completely out of context. He was discussing the great needs within the Church and saying that they have gained a completely incorrect image of Who He is. In the same work, Tozer also wrote:
The history of mankind will probably show that no people have ever risen above its religion and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.
He went on to write,
We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit. The words, “Be still, and know that I am God,” mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshipper in this middle period of the twentieth century.
Tozer was explaining that the greatest question the Church has to ask itself, “What is God like?” Tozer wrote, “The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking,
worshipping men . . . The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking. With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the divine Presence.”
Seriously. What is the Lord saying in our day and time? Well, first of all, I believe we need to rid ourselves of the believing Him to be a doddering Grandfather-type who winks knowingly at our sin. He wants us to heed his words, “Jesus Christ is My beloved Son. Hear Him!”
So, why do men and women fail to listen? I believe that it is because the message in Jesus is a moral pronouncement. No one wants to be under the authority of the moral Word of God! For centuries, the Lord spoke in many ways. He inspired holy men to write portions of the message in a book. People still don’t like it so they work their darnest to avoid hearing it because He made it the final test of all morality, the final test of all Christian ethics.
Our Lord, being one in His nature, is always able to say the same thing to everyone who hears Him. Christian believers must know that any understanding of the Word of God must come from the same Spirit who provided the inspiration!
As Juli Slattery recently wrote, “Another profound statement from A. W. Tozer: ‘When large numbers of adherents in the Christian churches come to believe that God is different from who He actually is, that concept becomes heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind!’ Tozer taught that such heresy begins when we emphasize one attribute of God above all the other attributes. In other words, we can be holding to truths about God, but favoring certain truths to the point where we disregard the totality of God’s character.
“Because we are flawed, limited human beings, we will always get some things wrong. We can see the ‘generational pendulum’” swinging back and forth between God’s wrath and His grace. If Jonathan Edward were to preach his famous sermon ‘Sinners in the hand of an angry God‘ in America today, we would probably see both revival and outright hatred toward his wrathful representation of God’s righteousness!
“The average American Christian is more likely to learn theology from Jesus Calling than straight from God’s Holy Word. [In full confession, I read Jesus Calling every day, However, I, as all of us must, recognize that those types of devotionals pick and choose the verses and character traits of God we prefer to meditate upon]. Can you imagine a modern devotional called “365 Days of God’s Wrath and Judgement?” No one would want to read it. Yet, read the Bible cover to cover, and you will be forced to wrestle with the holiness and righteousness of God.”
In our quest to embrace and share Jesus’ love, we have chosen to ignore His justice. We have embraced what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace.” Bonhoeffer defined “‘cheap grace’ as “the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” (The Cost of Discipleship).
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.