November 21, 2016

A.W. Tozer's Thoughts On...

Tozer's writings always move me, as well as make me think more deeply about the truths of the Bible. I recently finished his book 'God's Pursuit of Man' and came away with many great things to ponder. I found that though this book was first published in the 1950's it is still very relevant for today.

I thought I'd share a few of Tozer's thoughts, from this book, here...

On Books...

1. "It is that we beware the common habit of putting confidence in books, as such. It takes a determined effort of the mind to break free from the error of making books and teachers ends in themselves.

The worst thing a book can do for a Christian is to leave him with the impression that he has received from it anything really good; the best it can do is to point the way to the Good he is seeking. The function of a good book is to stand like a signpost directing the reader toward the Truth and the Life. That book serves best which early makes itself unnecessary, just as a signpost serves best after it is forgotten, after the traveler has arrived safely at his desired haven. 

The work of a good book is to incite the reader to moral action, to turn his eyes towards God and urge him forward. Beyond that it cannot go." (Page15)

On Salvation...

1. "It is the habit of languidly 'accepting' salvation as if it were a small matter and one wholly in our hands. Men are exhorted to think things over and 'decide' for Christ, and in some places one day each year is set aside as 'Decision Day,' at which time people are expected to condescend to grant Christ the right to save them, a right which they have obviously refused Him up to that time. 

Christ is thus made to stand again before men's judgement seat; He is made to wait upon the pleasure of the individual, and after long and humble waiting is either turned away or patronizingly admitted. By a complete misunderstanding of the noble and true doctrine of the freedom of the human will, salvation is made to depend perilously upon the will of man instead of upon the will of God.

However deep the mystery, however many the paradoxes involved, it is still true that men become saints not at their own whim but by sovereign calling." (John 6:63, 44, 65; 17:2; Gal. 1:15-16)" (Page 49)

 2. "The master choice is His, the secondary choice is ours. Salvation is from our side a choice, from the divine side it is a seizing upon, an apprehending, a conquest of the Most high God. Our 'accepting' and 'willing' are reaction rather than actions. The right of determination must always remain with God." (Pages 50-51)

3. "...we may as well face the hard truth that men do not become Christians by associating with church people, not by religious contact, not by religious education; they become Christians only by invasion of their nature by the Spirit of God in the new birth. And when they do thus become Christians they are immediately members of the new race." (Page 123)

On The Cross...

1. "...the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of self-assured and carnal Christianity whose hands are indeed the hands of Abel, but whose voice is the voice of Cain. 

The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. 

The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before the cross it bows and toward the cross it points with carefully staged histrionics - but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear." (Page 62)

2. "Before all who wish to follow Christ the way lies clear. It is the way of death unto life. Always life stands just beyond death and beckons the man who is sick of himself to come and know the life more abundant. But to reach the new life he must pass through the valley of the shadow of death, and I know that at the sound of those words many will turn back and follow Christ no more. But 'to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.' (John 6:68)" (Pages 63-64)

3. "The truth is that God has never planned that His children should live forever stretched upon a cross." (Page 65)

4. "Real faith must always mean more than passive acceptance. It dare mean nothing less than surrender of our doomed Adam-life to a merciful end upon the cross. That is, we won God's just sentence against our evil flesh and admit His right to end its unlovely career. We reckon ourselves to have been crucified with Christ and to have risen again to newness of life. Where such faith is, God will always work in line with our reckoning. 

Then begins the divine conquest of our lives. This God accomplishes by an effective seizing upon, a sharp but love-impelled invasion of our natures. When He has overpowered our resistance He binds us with the cords of love and draws us to Himself. There, 'faint with His loveliness' we lie conquered and thank God again and again for the blessed conquest. There, with moral sanity restored, we lift up our eyes and bless the Most High God. Then we go forth in faith to apprehend that for which we were first apprehended of God." (Page 65-66)

On The World and The Church... 

1. " real union between the world* and the church is possible. When the church joins up with the world it is the true church no longer but only a pitiful hybrid thing, an object of smiling contempt to the world and an abomination to the Lord." (Page 119-120)

On The Holy Spirit...

1. "Christianity takes for granted the absence of any self-help and offers a power which is nothing less than the power of God." (Page 94)

2. "We may be sure of one thing, that for our deep trouble there is no cure apart from a visitation, yes, an invasion of power from above. Only the Spirit Himself can show us what is wrong with us and only the Spirit can prescribe the cure. Only the Spirit can save us from the numbing unreality of Spiritless Christianity. Only the Spirit can show us the Father and the Son. Only the inworking of the Spirit's power can discover to us the solemn majesty and the heart ravishing mystery of the Triune God."             (Page 99)

On The Christian Life...

1. "At the base of all true Christian experience must lie a sound and sane morality. 

No joys are valid, no delights legitimate where sin is allowed to live in life or conduct. No transgression of pure righteousness dare excuse itself on the ground of superior religious experience. 

To seek high emotional states while living in sin is to throw our whole life open to self-deception and the judgement of God. 

'Be ye holy' is not a mere motto to be framed and hung on the wall. It is a serious commandment from the Lord of the whole earth." (Page 107)

2. "For myself, I fear any kind of religious stir among Christians that does not lead to repentance and result in a sharp separation of the believer from the world.* 

I am suspicious of any organized revival effort that is forced to play down the hard terms of the kingdom. No matter how attractive the movement may appear, if it is not founded in righteousness and nurtured in humility it is not of God.

If it exploits the flesh it is a religious fraud and should not have the support of any God-fearing Christian. Only that is of God which honors the Spirit and prospers at the expense of the human ego." (Page 131)

"That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord." 1 Cor. 1:31

*Note: 'The world' in the biblical sense is... "...the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world." 1 John 2:16

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  1. Amen....!

    This was good to read, Cathy. Thank you for sharing it here.

  2. I have recently read Tozer's "The Pursuit of God." I thought the same as you, even though it was written decades ago, it is still relevant today. The message was good and pointed me right back to Christ. I will defiantly be checking "The Pursuit of Man" out from the library the next time I visit. thank you for sharing.

    1. I really loved 'The Pursuit of God' too. I think you will like this one as well.

      Thanks for stopping by Kelli!

  3. I love Tozer's stuff too. so deep and causes you to think and reflect on the wonder of Christ! Something truly to be grateful for every day! thanks!

    1. Yes I agree! Thanks for stopping by Karen. : )

  4. You'd love a new release from Moody Press -- it's Tozer's thoughts on Christmas and the incarnation, and it's called From Heaven! We're going to use it for our family devotions in December.

    1. Oh! I will definitely being looking out for that one. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. I like the fact that he depends not on self-help, but in the power of God.

  6. What a poignant and powerful book Cathy. I love the truths He discussed about the Christian life. Thank you for sharing. Have a fantastic holiday weekend and may God bless you and yours in all your endeavors.

  7. Tozer is always good for provoking deeper thinking! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on!


Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )