Monthly Archives: April 2011

The perfect lamb


“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’ ” (Luke 22:20).

O Perfect Lamb of Passover,
Let me not quickly run.
Recount to me the blessed plot,
Tell how the plan was spun
That I, a slave of Egypt’s lusts,
A prisoner of dark dread,
Could be condemned unto a cross
And find you nailed instead.

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The Beloved!


James Smith, 1856
“He has made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6

Paul was speaking of the great and glorious privileges of the Lord’s people, and praising His holy name for them. He traces all up to the rich grace and sovereign pleasure of the Most High God. He rejoices in eternal and personal election to everlasting life, in the bestowment of all spiritual blessings, in predestination to adoption, and acceptance in the Beloved.

In Jesus, His people are pleasant in the sight of God, approved at His throne, and the objects of His highest love. But we are not going to speak of the saints — but the Savior; not the members — but the Head; not the twinkling stars — but the glorious and magnificent Sun.

Jesus is set before us as “The Beloved.” There is no need to mention His name if we speak of “The Beloved;” for though there are other objects of love, there is but one whom we emphatically call “the Beloved.” Oh, that the Holy Spirit would enable us to speak of Him so as to honor His dear name!

Jesus is “the Beloved” of His FATHER. At His baptism, and at His transfiguration, a voice came from the excellent glory saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And the evangelist John bears testimony, “The Father loves the Son, and gives all things into His hand.” Oh, the infinite, the eternal, the ineffable delight, which the Father has in His Son! The whole ocean of the Father’s love flows into the heart of Jesus! He is the highest object of His delight; He loves Him equally with Himself; He glories in Jesus, as the word plainly testifies.

Yet, such is His love to His people, poor, sinful, and despised as they are — that Jesus speaks as if the Father had a special love for Him, because of His love to them. Hence he says, “Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life.”

In HEAVEN Jesus is the Beloved object. From the Father on his blazing throne, to the least inhabitant of that glorious country — all love and delight in Jesus. Every eye sparkles with love to Him, and every song expresses love to Him!

Jesus is “the Beloved” of MEN. Not of all men, for they do not know Him. But all who know Him — surely love Him. However believers may differ in other things, they all agree in this, that Jesus is “The Beloved.” No one can extol Him too highly, or praise Him too much. He is the object all His people delight to honor. With, one heart and one voice they exclaim,

“Let Him be crowned with majesty,
Who bowed His head to death;
And be His honors sounded high,
By all things that have breath!”

We love Jesus — on account of what He has DONE for us. Whatever turn our love may take afterwards, it is this which kindles it: “We love Him, because He first loved us.” And we learn the love that was in His heart — by what appeared in His life. When we discover that he stood up for us in the eternal council, pledged Himself in the everlasting covenant, and engaged to become our Savior — our hearts warm with love to Him. But when we see Him coming into our world, taking our place, laboring, suffering, and dying in our stead — then our love begins to blaze, and flash, and glow. And to perceive that He is gone into heaven, to appear in the presence of God for us, that he is pleading our cause with His Father, interceding on our behalf, and preparing our mansion for us — our love is strengthened and increased yet more. He is our Beloved.

We love Jesus on account of what He has GIVEN us. He has given us . . .
His Spirit to quicken us,
His word to instruct us,
His providence to take care of us, and
His name to be pleaded for all good things by us!

For “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was rich — yet for our sakes, became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.” He conferred all upon us. He gave himself, and with himself — His unsearchable riches. So that having Jesus, we have all things — we are rich beyond expression, thought, or conception. Apart from Jesus, we are wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; but with Jesus, all things are ours, present or future, in this world or another. Well, then, may Jesus be our Beloved!

We love Jesus for WHAT HE IS. True love is sure to rise and fix on the person. At first, we are more taken up with what Jesus has done for us, and bestowed upon us; but afterwards we are more delighted with what Jesus is in himself. Advanced believers always dwell much on the person of Christ. They love to think of His Divinity — it expands their hearts, elevates their affections, and mixes adoration with their love. They equally love to think of his humanity — and to see him bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. Jesus as the man, possessing human passions, and exercising human sympathies — seems to soften our affections, and they flow forth with gentleness and joy.

But it is the complex person of Christ as God-man, that is the especial object of our love. As God, He is so much above us; as man, He is so nearly on a level with us; but as God and man in one Christ — He is peculiarly adapted to us. So that if we speak of our Beloved, we do not refer to one merely human, or to one only Divine — but to one who is both Divine and human.

The personal glory of Christ attracts our attention, excites our admiration, and draws forth our love. When the eye of the mind is first fixed on this glorious Jesus, the soul sighs out, “Oh, if this blessed Jesus could be mine!” But when the Holy Spirit reveals the fact that He is ours — we are almost in an ecstasy! The joy is so deep, so powerful, that it bears us away; and if it were not restrained, would unfit us for the duties of life.

We love Jesus on account of our enjoyment of Him. Oh, the happiness we have found in Jesus! When we first felt His blood applied to our conscience to remove our guilt, and realized our saving interest in His glorious person and finished work — our enjoyments were Divinely sweet. We can never forget the pleasure we felt then. And how often since, when hearing His Gospel, meditating on His word, or worshipping at His throne, have we found our joy unspeakable and full of glory. We feel that we are indebted to Jesus for all those sweet glimpses of glory, those foretastes of heaven, those spiritual pleasures, which we have often realized.

The presence of Jesus is our heaven. We love to hear of Him, to read of Him, to praise Him; but to enjoy His presence — is our highest bliss. We feel that we could be satisfied with the presence of Jesus anywhere; but without the presence of Jesus we could be satisfied nowhere. How can we help loving Him, who is “the glory of our brightest days, and comfort of our darkest nights.” The enjoyment of Jesus naturally fills us with love to Him, and leads us to exclaim, “This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!”

We love Jesus on account of what we EXPECT from Him. He will soon send for us — to be where He is; or He will come again and receive us to himself. He has given us grace — He will give us glory.

We expect great things from Him when He comes. He will exactly conform us to Himself, and we shall be like Him! He will confer on us a crown of righteousness that will never fade, or tarnish. He will robe us in light and glory. He will place us beside Him on His throne. He will beat down our foes before our face, and our enemies under our feet. He will present us faultless before His glorious presence; and He will present us unto his Father without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.

Indeed, we can conceive of nothing that will dignify the body, gratify the spirit, or delight the heart — but we may expect Jesus to bestow it upon us when He comes! And when we call to mind all that our eyes have seen, or our ears have heard, or our hearts conceived, which is great, grand, and glorious — the whole is not to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us! For “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man — what God has prepared for them that love Him.”

Is it any wonder, then, that Jesus is “The Beloved” to us? The only wonder is, that we do not love Him ten times more — if we were what we ought to be, we should be daily, yes, hourly, speaking of the glorious honor of His majesty, and telling of His wondrous works. Our thoughts would be full of Jesus; our conversation would be always of Jesus; our writings would be of Jesus. My heart at this moment exclaims, “Oh, that I could love Jesus as I ought! Oh that I could honor Jesus as I ought!”

Reader, do you love Jesus? If you do not — you know nothing of what real happiness, or what refined pleasure is. Is Jesus your Beloved? If not, you have never seen His glory as it is revealed in the Gospel, nor have you experienced the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart, as the glorifier of Jesus. You cannot be truly happy on earth, nor are you prepared to go to heaven. Jesus is the great object of love, adoration, and praise in heaven! All there admire Him, glow with love to Him, and ascribe their whole salvation to His blood!

In heaven, “Christ is all in all!”

In the Church below, “Christ is all in all!”

And in every sanctified heart, “Christ is all in all!”

Reader, is this your case? Is It?

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The Wrath of God


“Men try to forget that there is such a thing as Divine wrath. The realization of it makes them uneasy, so they endeavor to banish all thought of it. At times they are terrified at the bare mention of God’s wrath, hence their anxiety to dismiss the subject from their minds.”
A solemn thought….but so important to ponder. Pinks words ring true today as they did in 1917.

By Arthur W. Pink

This article is from the February 1917 “Our Hope” magazine.

“Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee” (Job. 36:18)

This is one of the danger-signals which God has placed across the sinner’s pathway to Hell. At every turn of the Broad Road there are notice boards giving warning of the Destruction which lies ahead. The Sunday School teacher, the prayers of godly parents, the sermons of faithful preachers, the little Gospel tract, the warnings of conscience, the innate fear of death, the declarations of Holy ‘Writ, are so many obstacles which God places in the way of the sinner-so many barriers to the Lake of Fire.

One chief reason why God wrote the Bible was to warn the sinner of the awful consequences of sin, and to bid him flee from the wrath to come. Our text is one of these warnings. There are many such scattered throughout the Bible. We mention one or two at random. “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb.9:27). “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3).

Our opening text naturally divides itself under three heads:

I. A Terrible Fact

“Because there is wrath.”

The reference here is to God’s Wrath. In regard to the wrath of God let us now contemplate four things:

1. The Fact of God’s Wrath

Men try to forget that there is such a thing as Divine wrath. The realization of it makes them uneasy, so they endeavor to banish all thought of it. At times they are terrified at the bare mention of God’s wrath, hence their anxiety to dismiss the subject from their minds. Others try to believe there is no such thing. They argue that God is loving and merciful, and therefore God’s Anger is merely a bogey with which to frighten naughty children. But how do we know that God is Loving and Merciful? The heathen do not believe that He is. Nor does Nature clearly and uniformly reveal the fact. The answer is, we know God to be such, because His Word so affirms. Yes, and the same Bible which tells of God’s Mercy speaks of His Wrath, and as a matter of fact, refers more frequently (much more so) to His anger than it does to His love.

The fact of God’s Wrath is clearly revealed in the Scriptures. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom. 1:18). “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6). In these, and in other passages too numerous to mention, the fact of the Divine wrath is affirmed. And now let us consider:

2. The Necessity for God’s Wrath

Wrath is one of the Divine perfections. If God did not punish evildoers He would be a party to evil doing, He would compromise with wickedness, He would condone sin. Of necessity God is a God of Wrath. Consider an argument from the less to the greater. In the human sphere he who loves purity and chastity and has no wrath against impurity and unchastity is a moral leper. He who pities the poor and defenseless and has no wrath against the oppressor who crushes the weak and slays the defenseless, but loves them too, is a fiend. Divine wrath is Divine Holiness in activity. Because God is holy He hates sin, and because He hates sin His anger burns against the sinner. As it is written, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5). And again, “God is angry with the. wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11). And now-

3. The Manifestation of God’s Wrath

God’s wrath is not an abstract quality. God’s wrath is not some thing that is inactive and inoperative. During Old Testament times God’s wrath was openly displayed against evil-doers, notably at the Flood; in the destruction of Sodom and Gormorrah with fire and brimstone from heaven; on the Egyptians and their haughty king, when He visited their land with plagues, slew their first born and destroyed their armies at the Red Sea; and in His dealings with the Nation of Israel, in selling them into the hands of their enemies, sending them into captivity and destroying their beloved city. God’s wrath against sin was publicly manifested at the Cross, when all His billows and waves passed over the head of the blessed Sin-Bearer, “I am afflicted and ready to die from My youth up: while I suffer Thy terrors I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over Me: Thy terrors have cut Me off” (Psalm 138:15, 16) was His solemn cry. And now:

4. The Greatness of God’s Wrath

Human wrath is oftentimes an awful thing. Scripture likens the wrath of a king to the roaring of a lion. When a man’s anger gets the better of him and he allows his fury to burst all restraints; it is a fearful thing to behold. Scripture also speaks of the Devil having “great wrath because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev. 12:12). But what shall be said of the Wrath of God? To what shall we liken it? How indescribably awful must be the unrestrained and unmixed wrath of such a Being! With what shall we compare the wrath of Him who made the heavens and the earth by the word of His power, who spake and it was done, who commanded and it stood fast! What must the wrath of Him be like who shaketh the earth out of its place and maketh the pillars thereof to tremble! What must the wrath of Him be like who rebuketh the sea and maketh it dry, who removeth the mountains out of their places and overturneth them in His anger! What must the wrath of Him be like whose majesty is so terrible that no fallen man can live in the sight of it, and in whose presence the very seraphim veil their faces!

Scripture speaks of God’s wrath “waxing hot” (Exod. 23:14). It declares “Great is the wrath of the Lord” (2 Kings 22:13). It makes mention of “The fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:15). It refers to God’s wrath coming upon sinners “to the uttermost” (I Thess. 2:16). Everything about God is unique. His power is omnipotent. His wisdom is a great deep. His love is unsearchable. His grace is unfathomable. His holiness is unapproachable. And like all His other perfections and attributes God’s wrath is incomparable, incomprehensible, infinite. It will be the Wrath of the Almighty! And what will the wrath of the Almighty be like when it comes upon sinners “to the uttermost”? And what power of resistance will poor, frail creatures of the dust have for enduring the full weight of it? None. None whatever. It will overwhelm them. It will utterly consume them. It will crush them more easily than we can a worm beneath our feet. It will sink them into the lowest depths of hopeless despair. It will be intolerable and unbearable. And yet it will have to be endured – consciously endured – endured day and night for ever and ever! May these unspeakably solemn thoughts prepare the unsaved reader for the next division of our text.

II. A Solemn Warning

In view of this terrific fact, “Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke.”

Sinners are even now threatened with God’s wrath, yea, they are by nature “children of wrath.” It is true that God’s wrath now slumbereth for a while, because this is the day of salvation. It is true that the time for the full and final and open manifestation of it has not yet arrived. It is true that sinners often defy God now with apparent impugnity, and because of this the wicked spread themselves like green bay trees. “Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, and what profit should we have if we pray unto Him?” (Job. 21:14, 15). Let all such heed the Divine warning, “Because there is wrath, BEWARE lest He take thee away with His stroke.” Sinner, be not deceived, God is not mocked. “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter. Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. Is not this laid up in store with Me, and sealed up among My treasures? To Me belongeth vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste” (Deut. 32:29, 31-35). The sinner is treading a path more slippery than ice, and unless he forsake it, in due time his foot shall slide. The bow of God’s wrath is already bent: the arrow of His vengeance is even now fitted to the string, and nothing but His infinite forebearance stays its release. My reader, the only reason why you have not already been cast into Hell fire is because it has been the good pleasure of the Most High to stay your doom. Flee then from the wrath to come while there is yet time.

“And thinketh thou this, O man that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” (Rom. 2:3). Did Adam escape the judgment of God? Did Cain, did Pharaoh, did Achan, did Haman? The only reason God has not “taken thee away with His stroke” before this is because He endures with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.

The time of the sinner’s opportunity for fleeing from God’s wrath is exceedingly brief and limited. The sad and tragic thing is that so few realize it. The sinner sees little cause for alarm and fails to apprehend his imperative need of promptly accepting Christ as his Saviour. He imagines himself secure. He goes on in his sin, and because judgment against an evil work is not executed speedily he increases in his boldness against God. But God’s ways are different to ours. There is no need for God to be in a hurry – all eternity is at His disposal. When one man robs another, instantly the cry is raised, “Stop thief!” lest he should soon be out of reach. When a murder is committed the hounds of the law at once seek to track down the guilty One. A reward is offered lest he should succeed in escaping justice. But it is different with God. He is in no haste to execute judgment because He knows the sinner, cannot escape Him. It is impossible to flee out of His dominions! In due time every transgression and disobedience shall receive “a just recompense of reward.”

“Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke.” The immediate reference is to death – the removal of the sinner from this earth to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. Scripture furnishes many solemn examples of God’s stroke “suddenly cutting off sinners out of the land of the living.” “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censor and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” (Lev. 10:1, 2). Again, “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the King’s palace. And this is the writing that was written, Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting In that night was Belshazzar the King of the Chaldeans slain” (Dan. 5). Unsaved reader, you may be enjoying the health and strength of youth, yet, thou knowest not how soon the dread summons shall come, “This night shall thy soul be required of thee.” Turning now to the last clause of our text, we have mention of:

III. An Utter Impossibility

“Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke, then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.”

Every member of Adam’s race richly merits God’s Wrath. Our sins which have mounted up to heaven; our profitless lives, spent in selfish gratification with no regard for God’s glory; our indifference and carelessness respecting our soul’s future welfare; our repeated refusals to respond to the invitations of God’s grace, all cry aloud for judgment to descend upon us. But God’s Mercy has provided a “Ransom” – a “covering” for sin – Christ! Our text speaks of this ransom as “great” – great in its value, great in its scope, great in its effectiveness, great because it delivers from so great a death and secures so great salvation. But great as this “ransom” is, it avails nothing for those who ignore and reject it.

“Beware lest He take thee away with His stroke, then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.” If this ransom be despised then there is no possible escape for the sinner. If Christ be rejected there remains nought but wrath. How this text shatters the “Larger Hope”! How it repudiates any possibility of a “Second Chance” in the next world! How effectually it closes the door of hope against all who die in their sins! Let the stroke of God remove such from this world and “then a great ransom cannot deliver” them. There are other Scriptures equally explicit. “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy” (Prov. 29:1). For the sinner there is no remedy, no deliverance, no hope whatever beyond the grave.

“Then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.” Why? Because it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that – not a second chance, not a further probation – but the judgment. Why? Because at death the sinner goes immediately to Hell (Luke 16 :22, 23) and there there is no preaching of the Gospel and no Holy Spirit to quicken into newness of life. Why? Because there awaits all such nothing but “the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:29) and the judgment of the Great White Throne. “Then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.” Why? Because repentance then will be too late. “Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them! (Ezek. 8:18). Then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. Why? Because, Whosoever’s name was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the Lake of Fire – and a “lake” has no outlet!

Here then is a solemn warning against indifference, “Because there is wrath.” Here is a solemn warning against procrastination, “Beware lest He take thee away with His stroke.” Here is a solemn warning against hoping in another chance after death. “Then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.” Here is a powerful plea for accepting Christ NOW. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” We shall not! There will be no escape! Then “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found: Call ye upon Him while He is near.”

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Despised and Rejected


Octavius Winslow:

Consider Jesus– the Object of Popular Hate

“He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief.” Isaiah 53:3

Our Lord’s was a chequered history. Lights and shadows thickly blended in the marvelous picture of His life. The lights were but few; the shadows predominated. He did not come into the world to be joyful and happy, but to make others so. Hence the portrait–“He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief.” We have just looked upon one of the earthly lights thrown upon the picture; we are now to contemplate one of its dark shadows. From viewing Him as for the moment favored with the adulations of the multitude, we turn to behold Him the object of their bitter scorn and rejection.

“He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief.” There is much in this chapter of Jesus’ history worthy of our consideration, and not a little that may be found to reflect in no inconsiderable degree the experience of many Christians. My soul, turn to it. It is a mournful yet a holy picture of Him you love. There is a bitterness in the contemplation, and yet a sweetness indescribably sweet. It is pleasant and cheering to know that your Lord Jesus has gone before you, has trodden the path you tread, and that the sorrow which now rests upon your soul so darkly is but the shadow of the yet darker sorrow that rested upon His.

Jesus was the object of popular hate, because of the DIVINITY OF HIS PERSON. Are real Christians less so? Were we not partakers of the Divine nature, we would not drink, in some small degree, of this cup that He drank of. The world despises the image of Christ. If it hated the fair and perfect Original, it will also hate the copy, however dim and imperfect it may be. Be of good cheer, then, if a portion of the world’s hatred of Jesus comes upon you. It is a sure evidence that you are in some measure assimilated to your beloved Lord, reflecting His divine and holy image, though marred with many a blot, and shaded with many a cloud.

Jesus was despised because of the UNWORLDLINESS OF HIS LIFE. “The world hates me because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” His whole life was one ceaseless testimony against the ungodliness of this ungodly world. It rejected Him because He was holy. In proportion as the life we live is a solemn and consistent protest against the vanities and sinfulness of the world, so will it hate and cast us out. “You are not of the world; therefore the world hates you.” In His memorable intercessory prayer, Jesus reminds His Father, “The world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Accept, then, the world’s despisings as your glory. The farther you recede from it, the more powerful your testimony, and the more decided and consistent your unworldly walk, the more virulent will be its malignity, bitter its hate, and wide its separation.

Jesus was equally the object of offence to the world, because of HIS TESTIMONY TO THE TRUTH. On one occasion His enemies took Him to the brow of a hill to hurl Him down to His death, for the testimony which He bore to the Sovereignty of Divine Grace. And it is recorded that, on a similar occasion, many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. The offence of the cross is not ceased. If, through the Holy Spirit’s teaching, and the Savior’s grace, you are enabled to bear a humble, loving, yet firm and uncompromising testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus, think it not strange if you are called to suffer.

The more spiritual and unadulterated, the more scriptural and unworldly your views of the gospel–its doctrines, its precepts, and its institutions–the more the world, even much of the so-called religious world, will separate from your company, hate, and despise you. But rejoice with exceeding joy if thus counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus’ sake. Keep your eye intently upon Him, and ever remember His animating words–“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.” Lord, let the world despise, and even the saints reject me–enough that I am loved and approved of You!

 

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A.W. Tozer: A Passion for God


I few years ago I found myself wandering around a local “Christian” bookstore.  I was a new Christian, I attended a large, Charismatic Church and after much prayer, Bible reading and research I realized everything I thought I knew was wrong. I was now aware of the false doctrine being taught in my Church and I was searching for a way out, a new home Church and the truth about God and experiencing a new hunger to learn His word. While perusing the shelves of the  bookshop I began talking to a woman who had worked there for many years and had also at one point attended my Church and left for the same reasons. I started talking to her and she recommended I start reading A. W. Tozer. I was blown away by his writing, he could articulate the swelling emotion I often had when thinking about God and the enormity of His mercy and grace.

As I read I started to realize that Tozer was a mystic, and even though I found his writing incredibly beautiful, lyrical and inspiring something bugged me about it. I think for years I could never reconcile in my heart how I could hold up other writer’s with intense scrutiny regarding their own mystical yarns and Roman Catholic influences but I overlooked these same issues when it came to Tozer. I have since began to attend  an Independent Baptist Church and believe the Doctrine’s of Grace,  hold to the 5 points of Calvinism and much of what I read is bent in that direction.  Although I no longer read much from Tozer I still find this to be a  pretty interesting article and book review from Tim Challies.  Reading it this morning  brought these same thoughts to the surface regarding Tozer  all these years later. It’s a sad and solemn warning that not living by the entire counsel of God can lead any of us into a serious ditch.

A very sad, but telling quote from Tozer’s wife concerning her husband, Leonard Odam, whom she married after Tozer had passed away: “Aiden Tozer loved Jesus Christ but Leonard Odam loves me.”

From Tim Challies website : http://www.challies.com

A.W. Tozer: A Passion for God by Lyle Dorsett

A Passion for God

A.W. Tozer is a man whose ministry has long fascinated me. A man who held closely to biblical, Protestant theology, he was also a man who loved the old Catholic mystics. He had little formal education, yet had the ability to hold the most educated of men and women at rapt attention. He had a single-minded devotion to Christ and the highest respect for the Scriptures. Reading A Passion for God has only increased my fascination with him, for here we see more strange and seemingly irreconcilable opposites. Biographer Lyle Dorsett has written a study of the man that deals as honestly with his faults as with the areas that are laudable. And in this case the faults are almost shocking.

Tozer was a man who loved Scripture and loved nothing more than preaching its truths to all who would listen. “A.W. Tozer heralded biblical truth. He loved the Bible and unflinchingly preached what he believed people needed to hear, regardless of what they wanted.” Yet he was a man who neglected the mission field in his home. “On and off over the years, Aiden exercised his role as head of the family by encouraging times of family devotions. These never lasted more than a few weeks. As one son explained, the children just did not want it and they were seldom all together for extended periods in any case.”

Tozer was a man who dedicated himself to reading, study and prayer and who delighted to be in the presence of God. “There is no way to measure the hours he spent in a typical day or week reading books and wrestling with ideas, but it was substantial. In a similar vein, we know that he increasingly devoted many hours each week praying, meditating on Scripture, and seeking deeper intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. During the 1930s Tozer read voraciously, and he also developed a magnificent obsession to be in Christ’s presence—just to worship Him and to be with Him.” Yet he was a man who was emotionally and spiritually distant from his own wife. “By early 1928 the Tozers had a routine. Aiden found his fulfillment in reading, preparing sermons, preaching, and weaving travel into his demanding and exciting schedule, while Ada learned to cope. She dutifully washed, ironed, cooked, and cared for the little ones, and developed the art of shoving her pain deep down inside. Most of the time she pretended there was no hurt, but when it erupted, she usually blamed herself for not being godly enough to conquer her longing for intimacy from an emotionally aloof husband.”

These strange inconsistencies abound. Tozer saw his wife’s gifts for hospitality and encouraged her in them; yet he disliked having visitors in his own home. He preached about the necessity of Christian fellowship within the family of Christ; yet he refused to allow his family or his wife’s family to visit their home. For every laudable area of his life there seemed to exist an equal and opposite error. This study in opposites leaves for a fascinating picture of a man who was used so greatly by God, even while his life had such obvious sin.

Though certainly not an exhaustive biography (weighing in at just 164 pages before the indexes and appendices) A Passion for God is nevertheless a good and valuable one. Those who have enjoyed Tozer’s writings will find here the life of a man who can and should be much admired for his deep spirituality and for his overwhelming love for Scripture. They will find here also the sad reality that Tozer, as have so many men before and after him, was willing to sacrifice his family on the altar of ministry. They will wrestle with the great irony that as Tozer grew closer to his Savior he seemed to grow more and more distant from his wife and family. His life stands as both an inspiration and a solemn warning.

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