DISCUSSION FORUMS
MAIN MENU
Home
Help
Advanced Search
Recent Posts
Site Statistics
Who's Online
Forum Rules
Bible Resources
• Bible Study Aids
• Bible Devotionals
• Audio Sermons
Community
• ChristiansUnite Blogs
• Christian Forums
• Facebook Apps
Web Search
• Christian Family Sites
• Top Christian Sites
• Christian RSS Feeds
Family Life
• Christian Finance
• ChristiansUnite KIDS
Shop
• Christian Magazines
• Christian Book Store
Read
• Christian News
• Christian Columns
• Christian Song Lyrics
• Christian Mailing Lists
Connect
• Christian Singles
• Christian Classifieds
Graphics
• Free Christian Clipart
• Christian Wallpaper
Fun Stuff
• Clean Christian Jokes
• Bible Trivia Quiz
• Online Video Games
• Bible Crosswords
Webmasters
• Christian Guestbooks
• Banner Exchange
• Dynamic Content

Subscribe to our Free Newsletter.
Enter your email address:

ChristiansUnite
Forums
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 17, 2017, 11:04:43 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
277656 Posts in 26439 Topics by 3790 Members
Latest Member: Goodwin
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  ChristiansUnite Forums
|-+  Entertainment
| |-+  Books (Moderator: admin)
| | |-+  KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
« previous next »
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 Go Down Print
Author Topic: KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY  (Read 9685 times)
nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2008, 02:42:24 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 5 - The Self-existence of God
by A. W. Tozer

Timeless, spaceless, single, lonely,
Yet sublimely Three,
Thou art grandly, always, only
God is Unity!
Lone in grandeur, lone in glory,
Who shall tell Thy wondrous story?
Awful Trinity!
Frederick W. Faber

It is not a cheerful thought that millions of us who live in a land of Bibles, who belong to churches and labor to promote the Christian religion, may yet pass our whole life on this earth without once having thought or tried to think seriously about the being of God. Few of us have let our hearts gaze in wonder at the I AM, the self-existent Self back of which no creature can think. Such thoughts are too painful for us. We prefer to think where it will do more good - about how to build a better mousetrap, for instance, or how to make two blades of grass grow where one grew before. And for this we are now paying a too heavy price in the secularlzation of our religion and the decay of our inner lives.

Perhaps some sincere but puzzled Christian may at this juncture wish to inquire about the practicality of such concepts as I am trying to set forth here. ”What bearing does this have on my life?” he may ask. ”What possible meaning can the self-existence of God have for me and others like me in a world such as this and in times such as these?”

To this I reply that, because we are the handiwork of God, it follows that all our problems and their solutions are theological. Some knowledge of what kind of God it is that operates the universe is indispensable to a sound philosophy of life and a sane outlook on the world scene.

The much-quoted advice of Alexander Pope,
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan:
The proper study of mankind is man,

if followed literally would destroy any possibility of man’s ever knowing himself in any but the most superficial way. We can never know who or what we are till we know at least something of what God is. For this reason the self-existence of God is not a wisp of dry doctrine, academic and remote; it is in fact as near as our breath and as practical as the latest surgical technique.

For reasons known only to Himself, God honored man above all other beings by creating him in His own image. And let it be understood that the divine image in man is not a poetic fancy, not an idea born of religious longing. It is a solid theological fact, taught plainly throughout the Sacred Scriptures and recognized by the Church as a truth necessary to a right understanding of the Christian faith.

Man is a created being, a derived and contingent self, who of himself possesses nothing but is dependent each moment for his existence upon the One who created him after His own likeness. The fact of God is necessary to the fact of man. Think God away and man has no ground of existence.

That God is everything and man nothing is a basic tenet of Christian faith and devotion; and here the teachings of Christianity coincide with those of the more advanced and philosophical religions of the East. Man for all his genius is but an echo of the original Voice, a reflection of the uncreated Light. As a sunbeam perishes when cut off from the sun, so man apart from God would pass back into the void of nothingness from which he first leaped at the creative call.
_______________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2008, 02:43:37 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 5 - The Self-existence of God
by A. W. Tozer

Not man only, but everything that exists came out of and is dependent upon the continuing creative impulse. ”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... All things were made by him and without him was not any thing made that was made.” That is how John explains it, and with him agrees the apostle Paul: ”For by him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” To this witness the writer to the Hebrews adds his voice, testifying of Christ that He is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His Person, and that He upholds all things by the word of His power.

In this utter dependence of all things upon the creative will of God lies the possibility for both holiness and sin. One of the marks of God’s image in man is his ability to exercise moral choice. The teaching of Christianity is that man chose to be independent of God and confirmed his choice by deliberately disobeying a divine command. This act violated the relationship that normally existed between God and His creature; it rejected God as the ground of existence and threw man back upon himself. Thereafter he became not a planet revolving around the central Sun, but a sun in his own right, around which everything else must revolve.

A more positive assertion of selfhood could not be imagined than those words of God to Moses: I AM THAT I AM. Everything God is, everything that is God, is set forth in that unqualified declaration of independent being. Yet in God, self is not sin but the quintessence of all possible goodness, holiness and truth.

The natural man is a sinner because and only because he challenges God’s selfhood in relation to his own. In all else he may willingly accept the sovereignty of God; in his own life he rejects it. For him, God’s dominion ends where his begins. For him, self becomes Self, and in this he unconsciously imitates Lucifer, that fallen son of the morning who said in his heart, ”I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. . . . I will be like the Most High.”

Yet so subtle is self that scarcely anyone is conscious of its presence. Because man is born a rebel, he is unaware that he is one. His constant assertion of self, as far as he thinks of it at all, appears to him a perfectly normal thing. He is willing to share himself, sometimes even to sacrifice himself for a desired end, but never to dethrone himself. No matter how far down the scale of social acceptance he may slide, he is still in his own eyes a king on a throne, and no one, not even God, can take that throne from him.

Sin has many manifestations but its essence is one. A moral being, created to worship before the throne of God, sits on the throne of his own selfhood and from that elevated position declares, ”I AM.” That is sin in its concentrated essence; yet because it is natural it appears to be good. It is only when in the gospel the soul is brought before the face of the Most Holy One without the protective shield of ignorance that the frightful moral incongruity is brought home to the conscience. In the language of evangelism the man who is thus confronted by the fiery presence of Almighty God is said to be under conviction. Christ referred to this when He said of the Spirit whom He would send to the world, ”And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

The earliest fulfilment of these words of Christ was at Pentecost after Peter had preached the first great Christian sermon. ”Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” This ”What shall we do?” is the deep heart cry of every man who suddenly realizes that he is a usurper and sits on a stolen throne. However painful, it is precisely this acute moral consternation that produces true repentance and makes a robust Christian after the penitent has been dethroned and has found forgiveness and peace through the gospel.
_________________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2008, 02:44:53 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 5 - The Self-existence of God
by A. W. Tozer

”Purity of heart is to will one thing,” said Kierkegaard, and we may with equal truth turn this about and declare, ”The essence of sin is to will one thing,” for to set our will against the will of God is to dethrone God and make ourselves supreme in the little kingdom of Mansoul. This is sin at its evil root. Sins may multiply like the sands by the seashore, but they are yet one. Sins are because sin is. This is the rationale behind the much maligned doctrine of natural depravity which holds that the independent man can do nothing but sin and that his good deeds are really not good at all. His best religious works God rejects as He rejected the offering of Cain. Only when he has restored his stolen throne to God are his works acceptable.

The struggle of the Christian man to be good while the bent toward self-assertion still lives within him as a kind of unconscious moral reflex is vividly described by the apostle Paul in the seventh chapter of his Roman Epistle; and his testimony is in full accord with the teaching of the prophets. Eight hundred years before the advent of Christ the prophet Isaiah identified sin as rebellion against the will of God and the assertion of the right of each man to choose for himself the way he shall go. ”All we like sheep have gone astray,” he said, ”we have turned every one to his own way,” and I believe that no more accurate description of sin has ever been given.

The witness of the saints has been in full harmony with prophet and apostle, that an inward principle of self lies at the source of human conduct, turning everything men do into evil. To save us completely Christ must reverse the bent of our nature; He must plant a new principle within us so that our subsequent conduct will spring out of a desire to promote the honor of God and the good of our fellow men. The old self-sins must die, and the only instrument by which they can be slain is the Cross. ”If any man come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,” said our Lord, and years later the victorious Paul could say, ”I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”

My God, shall sin its power maintain
And in my soul defiant live!
‘Tis not enough that Thou forgive,
The cross must rise and self be slain.
O God of love, Thy power disclose:
‘Tis not enough that Christ should rise,
I, too, must seek the brightening skies,
And rise from death, as Christ arose.
Greek hymn

TO BE CONTINUED....
________________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2008, 09:42:59 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 6 - The Self-sufficiency of God
by A. W. Tozer


Teach us, O God, that nothing is necessary to Thee. Were anything necessary to Thee that thing would be the measure of Thine imperfection: and how could we worship one who is imperfect? If nothing is necessary to Thee, then no one is necessary, and if no one, then not we. Thou dost seek us though Thou does not need us. We seek Thee because we need Thee, for in Thee we live and move and have our being. Amen

“The Father hath life in himself,” said our Lord, and it is characteristic of His teaching that He thus in a brief sentence sets forth truth so lofty as to the transcend the highest reaches of human thought. God, He said, is self-sufficient; He is what He is in Himself, in the final meaning of those words.

Whatever God is, and all that God is, He is in Himself. All life is in and from God, whether it be the lowest form of unconscious life or the highly self-conscious, intelligent life of a seraph. No creature has life in itself; all life is a gift from God.

The life of God, conversely, is not a gift from another. Were there another from whom God could receive the gift of life, or indeed any gift whatever, that other would be God in fact. An elementary but correct way to think of God is as the One who contains all, who gives all that is given, but who Himself can receive nothing that He has not first given.

To admit the existence of a need in God is to admit incompleteness in the divine Being. Need is a creature-word and cannot be spoken of the Creator. God has a voluntary relation to everything He has made, but He has no necessary relation to anything outside of Himself. His interest in His creatures arises from His sovereign good pleasure, not from any need those creatures can supply nor from any completeness they can bring to Him who is complete in Himself.

Again we must reverse the familiar flow of our thoughts and try to understand that which is unique, that which stands alone as being true in this situation and nowhere else. Our common habits of thought allow for the existence of need among created things. Nothing is complete in itself but requires something outside itself in order to exist. All breathing things need air; every organism needs food and water. Take air and water from the earth and all life would perish instantly. It may be stated as all axiom that to stay alive every created thing needs some other created thing and all things need God. To God alone nothing is necessary.

The river grows larger by its tributaries, but where is the tributary that can enlarge the One out of whom came everything and to whose infinite fullness all creation owes its being?

Unfathomable Sea: all life is out of Thee,
And Thy life is Thy blissful Unity.
Frederick W. Faber

The problem of why God created the universe still troubles thinking men; but if we cannot know why, we can at least know that He did not bring His worlds into being to meet some unfulfilled need in Himself, as a man might build a house to shelter him against the winter cold or plant a field of corn to provide him with necessary food. The word necessary is wholly foreign to God.

Since He is the Being supreme over all, it follows that God cannot be elevated. Nothing is above Him, nothing beyond Him. Any motion in His direction is elevation for the creature; away from Him, descent. He holds His position out of Himself and by leave of none. As no one can promote Him, so no one can degrade Him. It is written that He upholds all things by the word of His power. How can He be raised or supported by the things He upholds?

Were all human beings suddenly to become blind, still the sun would shine by day and the stars by night, for these owe nothing to the millions who benefit from their light. So, were every man on earth to become atheist, it could not affect God in any way. He is what He is in Himself without regard to any other. To believe in Him adds nothing to His perfections; to doubt Him takes nothing away.
________________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2008, 09:44:37 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 6 - The Self-sufficiency of God
by A. W. Tozer

Almighty God, just because He is almighty, needs no support. The picture of a nervous, ingratiating God fawning over men to win their favor is not a pleasant one; yet if we look at the popular conception of God that is precisely what we see. Twentieth century Christianity has put God on charity. So lofty is our opinion of ourselves that we find it quite easy, not to say enjoyable, to believe that we are necessary to God. But the truth is that God is not greater for our being, nor would He be less if we did not exist. That we do exist is altogether of God’s free determination, not by our desert nor by divine necessity.

Probably the hardest thought of all for our natural egotism to entertain is that God does not need our help. We commonly represent Him as a busy, eager, somewhat frustrated Father hurrying about seeking help to carry out His benevolent plan to bring peace and salvation to the world, but, as said the Lady Julian, “I saw truly that God doeth all-thing, be it never so little.” The God who worketh all things surely needs no help and no helpers.

Too many missionary appeals are based upon this fancied frustration of Almighty God. An effective speaker can easily excite pity in his listeners, not only for the heathen but for the God who has tried so hard and so long to save them and has failed for want of support. I fear that thousands of younger persons enter Christian service from no higher motive than to help deliver God from the embarrassing situation His love has gotten Him into and His limited abilities seem unable to get Him out of. Add to this a certain degree of commendable idealism and a fair amount of compassion for the underprivileged and you have the true drive behind much Christian activity today.

Again, God needs no defenders. He is the eternal Undefended. To communicate with us in all idiom we can understand, God in the Scriptures makes full use of military terms; but surely it was never intended that we should think of the throne of the Majesty on high as being under siege, with Michael and his hosts or some other heavenly beings defending it from stormy overthrow. So to think is to misunderstand everything the Bible would tell us about God. Neither Judaism nor Christianity could approve such puerile notions. A God who must be defended is one who can help us only while someone is helping Him. We may count upon Him only if He wins in the cosmic see-saw battle between right and wrong. Such a God could not command the respect of intelligent men; He could only excite their pity.

To be right we must think worthily of God. It is morally imperative that we purge from our minds all ignoble concepts of the Deity and let Him be the God in our minds that He is in His universe. The Christian religion has to do with God and man, but its focal point is God, not man. Man’s only claim to importance is that he was created in the divine image; in himself he is nothing. The psalmists and prophets of the Scriptures refer sad scorn to weak man whose breath is in his nostrils, who grows up like the grass in the morning only to be cut down and wither before the setting of the sun. That God exists for himself and man for the glory of God is the emphatic teaching of the Bible. The high honor of God is first in heaven as it must yet be in earth.

From all this we may begin to understand why the Holy Scriptures have so much to say about the vital place of faith and why they brand unbelief as a deadly sin. Among all created beings, not one dare trust it itself. God alone trusts in himself; all other beings must trust in Him. Unbelief is actually perverted faith, for it puts its trust not in the living God but in dying men. The unbeliever denies the self-sufficiency of God and usurps attributes that are not his. This dual sin dishonors God and ultimately destroys the soul of the man.
_______________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2008, 09:45:57 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 6 - The Self-sufficiency of God
by A. W. Tozer

In His love and pity God came to us as Christ. This has been the consistent position of the Church from the days of the apostles. It is fixed for Christian belief in the doctrine of the incarnation of the Eternal Son. In recent times, however, this has come to mean something different from, and less than, what it meant to the early church. The Man Jesus as He appeared in the flesh has been equated with the Godhead and all His human weaknesses and limitations attributed to the Deity. The truth is that the Man who walked among us was a demonstration, not of unveiled deity but of perfect humanity. The awful majesty of the Godhead was mercifully sheathed in the soft envelope of Human nature to protect mankind. “Go down,” God told Moses on the mountain, ”charge the people, less they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish”; and later, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.”

Christians today appear to know Christ only after the flesh. They try to achieve communion with Him by divesting Him of His burning holiness and unapproachable majesty, the very attributes He veiled while on earth but assumed in fullness of glory upon His ascension to the Father’s right hand. The Christ of popular Christianity has a weak smile and a halo. He has become Someone-up-There who likes people, at least some people, and these are grateful but not too impressed. If they need Him, He also needs them.

Let us not imagine that the truth of the divine self-sufficiency will paralyse Christian activity. Rather it will stimulate all holy endeavor. This truth, while a needed rebuke to human self-confidence, will when viewed in its Biblical perspective lift from our minds the exhausting load of mortality and encourage us to take the easy yoke of Christ and spend ourselves in Spirit-inspired toil for the honor of God and the good of mankind. For the blessed news is that the God who needs no one has in sovereign condescension set Himself to work by and in and through His obedient children.

If all this appears self-contradictory - Amen, be it so. The various elements of truth stand in perpetual antithesis, sometimes requiring us to believe apparent opposites while we wait for the moment when we shall know as we are known. Then truth which now appears to be in conflict with itself will arise in shining unity and it will be seen that the conflict has not been in the truth but in our sin-damaged minds.

In the meanwhile our inner fulfilment lies in loving obedience to the commandments of Christ and the inspired admonitions of His apostles. “It is God which worketh in you.” He needs no one, but when faith is present He works through anyone. Two statements are in this sentence and a healthy spiritual life requires that we accept both. For a full generation the first has been in almost total eclipse, and that to our deep spiritual injury.

Fountain of good, all blessing flows
From Thee; no want Thy fulness knows;
What but Thyself canst Thou desire?
Yet, self-sufficient as Thou art,
Thou dost desire my worthless heart.
This, only this, dost Thou require.
Johann Scheffler
______________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2008, 09:47:15 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 7 - The Eternity of God
by A. W. Tozer


This day our hearts approve with gladness what our reason can never fully comprehend, even Thine eternity, O Ancient of Days. Art Thou not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, mine Holy One?

We worship Thee, the Father Everlasting, whose years shall have no end; and Thee, the love-begotten Son whose goings forth have been ever of old; we also acknowledge and adore Thee, Eternal Spirit, who before the foundation of the world didst live and love in coequal glory with the Father and the Son.

Enlarge and purify the mansions of our souls that they may be fit habitations for Thy Spirit, who dost prefer before all temples the upright heart and pure. Amen.

The concept of everlastingness runs like a lofty mountain range throughout the entire Bible and looms large in orthodox Hebrew and Christian thought. Were we to reject the concept, it would be altogether impossible for us to think again the thoughts of prophets and apostles, so full were they of the long dreams of eternity.

Because the word everlasting is sometimes used by the sacred writers to mean no more than long-lasting (as ”the everlasting hills”), some persons have argued that the concept of unending existence was not in the minds of the writers when they used the word but was supplied later by the theologians. This is of course a serious error, and, as far as I can see, has no ground in serious scholarship. It has been used by certain teachers as an escape from the doctrine of eternal punishment. These reject the eternity of moral retribution, and to be consistent they are forced to weaken the whole idea of endlessness. This is not the only instance where an attempt was made to slay a truth to keep it quiet lest it appear as a material witness against an error.

The truth is that if the Bible did not teach that God possessed endless being in the ultimate meaning of that term, we would be compelled to infer it from His other attributes, and if the Holy Scriptures had no word for absolute everlastingness, it would be necessary for us to coin one to express the concept, for it is assumed, implied, and generally taken for granted everywhere throughout the inspired Scriptures. The idea of endlessness is to the kingdom of God what carbon is to the kingdom of nature. As carbon is present almost everywhere, as it is an essential element in all living matter and supplies all life with energy, so the concept of everlastingness is necessary to give meaning to any Christian doctrine. Indeed I know of no tenet of the Christian creed that could retain its significance if the idea of eternity were extracted from it.

”From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God,” said Moses in the Spirit. ”From the vanishing point to the vanishing point” would be another way to say it quite in keeping with the words as Moses used them. The mind looks backward in time till the dim past vanishes, then turns and looks into the future till thought and imagination collapses from exhaustion: and God is at both points, unaffected by either.

Time marks the beginning of created existence, and because God never began to exist it can have no application to Him. ”Began” is a time-word, and it can have no personal meaning for the high and lofty One that inhabited eternity.

No age can heap its outward years on Thee;
Dear God! Thou art; Thyself, Thine own eternity.
Frederick F. Faber
______________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2008, 09:48:46 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 7 - The Eternity of God
by A. W. Tozer

Because God lives in an everlasting now, He has no past and no future. When time-words occur in the Scriptures they refer to our time, not to His. When the four living creatures before the throne cry day and night, ”Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come,” they are identifying God with the flow of creature-life with its familiar three tenses; and this is right and good, for God has sovereignly willed so to identify Himself. But since God is uncreated, He is not himself affected by that succession of consecutive changes we call time.

God dwells in eternity but time dwells in God. He has already lived all our tomorrows as He has lived all our yesterdays. An illustration offered by C. S. Lewis may help us here. He suggests that we think of a sheet of paper infinitely extended. That would be eternity. Then on that paper draw a short line to represent time. As the line begins and ends on that infinite expanse, so time began in God and will end in Him.

That God appears at time’s beginning is not too difficult to comprehend, but that He appears at the beginning and end of time simultaneously is not so easy to grasp; yet it is true. Time is known to us by a succession of events. It is the way we account for consecutive changes in the universe. Changes take place not all at once but in succession, one after the other, and it is the relation of ”after” to ”before” that gives us our idea of time. We wait for the sun to move from east to west or for the hour hand to move around the face of the clock, but God is not compelled so to wait. For Him everything that will happen has already happened.

This is why God can say, ”I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning.” He sees the end and the beginning in one view. ”For infinite duration, which is eternity’s self, includeth all succession,” says Nicholas of Cusa, ”and all which seemeth to us to be in succession existeth not posterior to Thy concept, which is eternity.... Thus, because Thou art God almighty, Thou dwellest within the wall of Paradise, and this wall is that coincidence where later is one with earlier, where the end is one with the beginning, where Alpha and Omega are the same.... For NOW and THEN coincide in the circle of the wall of Paradise. But, O my God, the Absolute and Eternal, it is beyond the present and the past that Thou dost exist and utter speech.”

When He was a very old man, Moses wrote the psalm from which I have quoted earlier in this chapter. In it he celebrates the eternity of God. To him this truth is a solid theological fact as firm and hard as that Mount Sinai with which he was so familiar, and for him it had two practical meanings: since God is eternal, He can be and continue forever to be the one safe home for His time-driven children. ”Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.” The second thought is less comforting: God’s eternity is so long and our years on earth are so few, how shall we establish the work of our hands? How shall we escape the abrasive action of events that would wear us out and destroy us? God fills and dominates the psalm, so it is to Him that Moses makes his plaintive appeal, ”So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” May the knowledge of Thy eternity not be wasted on me!

We who live in this nervous age would be wise to meditate on our lives and our days long and often before the face of God and on the edge of eternity. For we are made for eternity as certainly as we are made for time, and as responsible moral beings we must deal with both.

”He hath set eternity in their heart,” said the Preacher, and I think he here sets forth both the glory and the misery of men. To be made for eternity and forced to dwell in time is for mankind a tragedy of huge proportions. All within us cries for life and permanence, and everything around us reminds us of mortality and change. Yet that God has made us of the stuff of eternity is both a glory and a prophecy yet to be fulfilled.
_____________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2008, 09:50:06 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 7 - The Eternity of God
by A. W. Tozer

I hope it will not be found unduly repetitious if I return again to that important pillar of Christian theology, the image of God in man. The marks of the divine image have been so obscured by sin that they are not easy to identify, but is it not reasonable to believe that one mark may be man’s insatiable craving for immortality?

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why;
He thinks he was not made to die
And Thou hast made him: Thou art just.

So reasons Tennyson, and the deepest instincts of the normal human heart agree with him. The ancient image of God whispers within every man of everlasting hope; somewhere he will continue to exist. Still he cannot rejoice, for the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world troubles his conscience, frightening him with proofs of guilt and evidences of coming death. So is he ground between the upper millstone of hope and the nether stone of fear.

Just here the sweet relevancy of the Christian message appears. ”Jesus Christ ... hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” So wrote the greatest Christian of them all just before he went out to meet his executioner. God’s eternity and man’s mortality join to persuade us that faith in Jesus Christ is not optional. For every man it must be Christ or eternal tragedy. Out of eternity our Lord came into time to rescue His human brethren whose moral folly had made them not only fools of the passing world but slaves of sin and death as well.

Brief life is here our portion,
Brief sorrow, short-lived care;
The life that knows no ending,
The tearless life is there.
There God, our King and Portion,
In fullness of His grace, We then shall see forever,
And worship face to face.
Bernard of Cluny
___________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2008, 09:51:37 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 8 - God’s Infinitude
by A. W. Tozer


Our Heavenly Father: Let us see Thy glory, if it must be from the shelter of the cleft rock and from beneath the protection of Thy covering hand. Whatever the cost to us in loss of friends or goods or length of days let us know Thee as Thou art, that we may adore Thee as we should. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The world is evil, the times are waxing late, and the glory of God has departed from the church as the fiery cloud once lifted from the door of the Temple in the sight of Ezekiel the prophet.

The God of Abraham has withdrawn His conscious Presence from us, and another God whom our fathers knew not is making himself at home among us. This God we have made and because we have made him we can understand him; because we have created him he can never surprise us, never overwhelm us’, nor astonish us, nor transcend us.

The God of glory sometimes revealed Himself like a sun to warm and bless, indeed, but often to astonish, overwhelm, and blind before He healed and bestowed permanent sight. This God of our fathers wills to be the God of their succeeding race. We have only to prepare Him a habitation in love and faith and humility. We have but to want Him badly enough, and He will come and manifest Himself to us.

Shall we allow a saintly and thoughtful man to exhort us? Hear Anselm; or better still, heed his words:

Up now, slight man! Flee for a little while thy occupations; hide thyself for a time from thy disturbing thoughts. Cast aside now thy burdensome cares, and put away thy toilsome business. Yield room for some little time to God, and rest for a little time in Him. Enter the inner chamber of thy mind; shut out all thoughts save that of God and such as can aid thee in seeking Him. Speak now, my whole heart! Speak now to God, saying, I seek Thy face; Thy face, Lord, will I seek.”

Of all that can be thought or said about God, His Infinitude is the most difficult to grasp. Even to try to conceive of it would appear to be self-contradictory, for such conceptualization requires us to undertake something which we know at the outset we can never accomplish. Yet we must try, for the Holy Scriptures teach that God is infinite and, if we accept His other attributes, we must of necessity accept this one too.

From the effort to understand, we must not turn back because the way is difficult and there are no mechanical aids for the ascent. The view is better farther up and the journey is not one for the feet but for the heart. Let us seek, therefore, such ”trances of thought and mountings of the mind” as God may be pleased to grant us, knowing that the Lord often pours eyesight on the blind and whispers to babes and sucklings truths never dreamed of by the wise and prudent. Now the blind must see and the deaf hear. Now we must expect to receive the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of secret places.

Infinitude, of course, means limitlessness, and it is obviously impossible for a limited mind to grasp the Unlimited. In this chapter I am compelled to think one step short of that about which I am writing, and the reader must of necessity think a degree under that about which he is trying to think. O, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!

The reason for our dilemma has been suggested before. We are trying to envision a mode of being altogether foreign to us, and wholly unlike anything we have known in our familiar world of matter, space, and time.
_____________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2008, 09:53:27 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 8 - God’s Infinitude
by A. W. Tozer

”Here, and in all our meditations upon the qualities and content of God,” writes Novatian, ”we pass beyond our power of fit conception, nor can human eloquence put forth a power commensurate with His greatness. At the contemplation and utterance of His majesty all eloquence is rightly dumb, all mental effort is feeble. For God is greater than mind itself. His greatness cannot be conceived. Nay, could we conceive of His greatness He would be less than the human mind which could form the conception. He is greater than all language, and no statement can express Him. Indeed, if any statement could express Him, He would be less than human speech which could by such statement comprehend and gather up all that He is. All our thoughts about Him will be less than He, and our loftiest utterances will be trivialities in comparison with Him.”

Unfortunately the word infinite has not always been held to its precise meaning, but has been used carelessly to mean simply much or a great deal, as when we say that an artist takes infinite pains with his picture or a teacher shows infinite patience with her class. Properly, the word can be used of no created thing, and of no one but God. Hence, to argue about whether or not space is infinite is to play with words. Infinitude can belong to but One. There can be no second.

When we say that God is infinite we mean that He knows no bounds. Whatever God is and all that God is, He is without limit. And here again we must break away from the popular meaning of words. ”Unlimited wealth” and ”boundless energy” are further examples of the misuse of words. Of course no wealth is unlimited and no energy boundless unless we are speaking of the wealth and energy of God.

Again, to say that God is infinite is to say that He is measureless. Measurement is the way created things have of accounting for themselves. It describes limitations, imperfections, and cannot apply to God. Weight describes the gravitational pull of the earth upon material bodies; distance describes intervals between bodies in space; length means extension in space, and there are other familiar measurements such as those for liquid, energy, sound, light, and numbers for pluralities. We also try to measure abstract qualities, and speak of great or little faith, high or low intelligence, large or meager talents.

It is not plain that all this does not and cannot apply to God? It is the way we see the works of His hands, but not the way we see Him. He is above all this, outside of it, beyond it. Our concepts of measurement embrace mountains and men, atoms and stars, gravity, energy, numbers, speed, but never God. We cannot speak of measure or amount or size or weight and at the same time be speaking of God, for these tell of degrees and there are no degrees in God. All that He is He is without growth or addition or development. Nothing in God is less or more, or large or small. He is what He is in Himself, without qualifying thought or word. He is simply God.

In the awful abyss of the divine Being may lie attributes of which we know nothing and which can have no meaning for us, just as the attributes of mercy and grace can have no personal meaning for seraphim or cherubim. These holy beings may know of these qualities in God but be unable to feel them sympathetically for the reason that they have not sinned and so do not call forth God’s mercy and grace. So there may be, and I believe there surely are, other aspects of God’s essential being which He has not revealed even to His ransomed and Spirit-illuminated children. These hidden facets of God’s nature concern His relation to none but Himself. They are like the far side of the moon, which we know is there but which has never been explored and has no immediate meaning for men on earth. There is no reason for us to try to discover what has not been revealed. It is enough to know that God is God.
_______________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2008, 09:55:42 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 8 - God’s Infinitude
by A. W. Tozer

Thine own Self forever filling
With self-kindled flame,
In Thyself Thou art distilling
Unctions without name!
Without worshipping of creatures,
Without veiling of Thy features,
God always the same!
Frederick W. Faber

But God’s infinitude belongs to us and is made known to us for our everlasting profit. Yet, just what does it mean to us beyond the mere wonder of thinking about it? Much every way, and more as we come to know ourselves and God better.

Because God’s nature is infinite, everything that flows out of it is infinite also. We poor human creatures are constantly being frustrated by limitations imposed upon us from without and within. The days of the years of our lives are few, and swifter than a weaver’s shuttle. Life is a short and fevered rehearsal for a concert we cannot stay to give. Just when we appear to have attained some proficiency we are forced to lay our instruments down. There is simply not time enough to think, to become, to perform what the constitution of our natures indicates we are capable of.

How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none. Eternal years lie in His heart. For Him time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with Him all the riches of limitless time and endless years. God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves. For those out of Christ, time is a devouring beast; before the sons of the new creation time crouches and purrs and licks their hands. The foe of the old human race becomes the friend of the new, and the stars in their courses fight for the man God delights to honor. This we may learn from the divine infinitude.

But there is more. God’s gifts in nature have their limitations. They are finite because they have been created, but the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus is as limitless as God. The Christian man possesses God’s own life and shares His infinitude with Him. In God there is life enough for all and time enough to enjoy it. Whatever is possessed of natural life runs through its cycle from birth to death and ceases to be, but the life of God returns upon itself and ceases never. And this is life eternal: to know the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.

The mercy of God is infinite too, and the man who has felt the grinding pain of inward guilt knows that this is more than academic. ”Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Abounding sin is the terror of the world, but abounding grace is the hope of mankind. however sin may abound it still has its limits, for it is the product of finite minds and hearts; but God’s much more” introduces us to infinitude. Against our deep creature-sickness stands God’s infinite ability to cure.

The Christian witness through the centuries has been that ”God so loved the world . . .”; it remains for us to see that love in the light of God’s infinitude. His love is measureless. It is more: it is boundless. It has no bounds because it is not a thing but a facet of the essential nature of God. His love is something He is, and because He is infinite that love can enfold the whole created world in itself and have room for ten thousand times ten thousand worlds beside.

This, this is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend,
Whose love is as great as His power,
And neither knows measure nor end.

‘Tis Jesus, the first and the last,
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home;
We’ praise Him for all that is past,
And trust Him for all that’s to come.
Joseph Hart
_____________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2008, 09:57:19 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 9 - The Immutability of God
by A. W. Tozer


O Christ our Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. As conies to their rock, so have we run to Thee for safety; as birds from their wanderings, so have we flown to Thee for peace. Chance and change are busy in our little world of nature and men, but in Thee we find no variableness nor shadow of turning. We rest in Thee without fear or doubt and face our tomorrows without anxiety. Amen.

The immutability of God is among those attributes less difficult to understand, but to grasp it we must discipline ourselves to sort out the usual thoughts with which we think of created things from the rarer ones that arise when we try to lay hold of whatever may be comprehended of God.

To say that God is immutable is to say that He never differs from Himself. The concept of a growing or developing God is not found in the Scriptures. It seems to me impossible to think of God as varying from Himself in any way. Here is why:

For a moral being to change it would be necessary that the change be in one of three directions. He must go from better to worse or from worse to better; or, granted that the moral quality remain stable, he must change within himself, as from miniature to mature or from one order of being to another. It should be clear that God can move in none of these directions. His perfections forever rule out any such possibility.

God cannot change for the better. Since He is perfectly holy, He has never been less holy than He is now and can never be holier than He is and has always been. Neither can God change for the worse. Any deterioration within the unspeakably holy nature of God is impossible. Indeed I believe it impossible even to think of such a thing, for the moment we attempt to do so, the object about which we are thinking is no longer God but something else and someone less than He. The one of whom we are thinking may be a great and awesome creature, but because he is a creature he cannot be the self-existent Creator.

As there can be no mutation in the moral character of God, so there can be none within the divine essence. The being of God is unique in the only proper meaning of that word; that is, His being is other than and different from all other beings. We have seen how God differs from His creatures in being self-existent, self-sufficient, and eternal. By virtue of these attributes God is God and not some other being. One who can suffer any slightest degree of change is neither self-existent, self-sufficient, nor eternal, and so is not God.

Only a being composed of parts may change, for change is basically a shift in the relation of the parts of a whole or the admission of some foreign element into the original composition. Since God is self-existent, He is not composed. There are in Him no parts to be altered. And since He is self-sufficient, nothing can enter His being from without.

”Whatever is composed of parts,” says Anselm, ”is not altogether one, but is in some sort plural, and diverse from itself, and either in fact or in concept is capable of dissolution. But these things are alien to Thee, than whom nothing better can be conceived of. Hence, there are no parts in Thee Lord., nor art Thou more than one. But Thou art so truly a unitary being, and so identical with Thyself, that in no respect art Thou unlike Thyself, rather Thou art unity itself, indivisible by any conception.”

”All that God is He has always been, and all that He has been and is He will ever be.” Nothing that God has ever said about Himself will be modified; nothing the inspired prophets and apostles have said about Him will be rescinded. His immutability guarantees this.

The immutability of God appears in its most perfect beauty when viewed against the mutability of men. In God no change is possible; in men change is impossible to escape. Neither the man is fixed nor his world, but he and it are in constant flux. Each man appears for a little while to laugh and weep, to work and play, and then to go to make room for those who shall follow him in the never-ending cycle.
__________________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2008, 09:58:57 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 9 - The Immutability of God
by A. W. Tozer

Certain poets have found a morbid pleasure in the law of impermanence and have sung in a minor key the song of perpetual change. Omar the tentmaker was one who sang with pathos and humor of mutation and mortality, the twin diseases that afflict mankind. ”Don’t slap that clay around so roughly,” he exhorts the potter, ”that may be your grandfather’s dust you make so free with”. ”When you lift the cup to drink red wine,” he reminds the reveler, ”you may be kissing the lips of some beauty dead long ago.”

This note of sweet sorrow expressed with gentle humor gives a radiant beauty to his quatrains but, however beautiful, the whole long poem is sick, sick unto death. Like the bird charmed by the serpent that would devour it, the poet is fascinated by the enemy that is destroying him and all men and every generation of men.

The sacred writers, too, face up to man’s mutability, but they are healthy men and there is a wholesome strength in their words. They have found the cure for the great sickness. God, they say changes not. The law of mutation belongs to a fallen world, but God is immutable, and in Him men of faith find at last eternal permanence. In the meanwhile change works for the children of the kingdom, not against them. The changes that occur in them are wrought by the hand of the in-living Spirit. ”But we all,” says the apostle, ”with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

In a world of change and decay not even the man of faith can be completely happy. Instinctively he seeks the unchanging and is bereaved at the passing of dear familiar things.

O Lord! my heart is sick,
Sick of this everlasting change;
And life runs tediously quick
Through its unresting race and varied range:
Change finds no likeness to itself in Thee
And wakes no echo in Thy mute Eternity.
Frederick W. Faber

These words of Faber find sympathetic response in every heart; yet much as we may deplore the lack of stability in all earthly things, in a fallen world such as this the very ability to change is a golden treasure, a gift from God of such fabulous worth as to call for constant thanksgiving. For human beings the whole possibility of redemption lies in their ability to change.

To move across from one sort of person to another is the essence of repentance: the liar becomes truthful, the thief honest, the lewd pure, the proud humble. The whole moral texture of the life is altered. The thoughts, the desires, the affections are transformed, and the man is no longer what he had been before. So radical is this change that the apostle calls the man that used to be ”the old man” and the man that now is ”the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”

Yet the change is deeper and more basic than any external acts can reveal, for it includes also the reception of life of another and higher quality. The old man, even at his best, possesses only the life of Adam: the new man has the life of God. And this is more than a mere manner of speaking; it is quite literally true. When God infuses eternal life into the spirit of a man, the man becomes a member of a new and higher order of being.
_______________________________________
Logged

nChrist
Global Moderator
Gold Member
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 60364


May God Lead And Guide Us All


View Profile
« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2008, 10:00:30 PM »

KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY
CHAPTER 9 - The Immutability of God
by A. W. Tozer

In the working out of His redemptive processes the unchanging God makes full use of change and through a succession of changes arrives at permanence at last. In the Book of Hebrews this is shown most clearly. ”He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second,” is a kind of summation of the teaching of that remarkable book. The old covenant, as something provisional, was abolished, and the new and everlasting covenant took its place.

The blood of goats and bulls lost its significance when the blood of the Paschal Lamb was shed. The law, the altar, the priesthood - all were temporary and subject to change; now the eternal law of God is engraven forever on the living, sensitive stuff of which the human soul is composed. The ancient sanctuary is no more, but the new sanctuary is eternal in the heavens and there the Son of God has His eternal priesthood.

Here we see that God uses change as a lowly servant to bless His redeemed household, but He Himself is outside of the law of mutation and is unaffected by any changes that occur in the universe.

And all things as they change proclaim
The Lord eternally the same.
Charles Wesley

Again the question of use arises. ”Of what use to me is, the knowledge that God is immutable?” someone asks. ”Is not the whole thing mere metaphysical speculation? Something that might bring a certain satisfaction to persons of a particular type of mind but can have no real significance for practical men?”

If by ”practical men” we mean unbelieving men engrossed in secular affairs and indifferent to the claims of Christ, the welfare of their own souls, or the interests of the world to come, then for them such a book as this can have no meaning at all; nor, unfortunately, can any other book that takes religion seriously. But while such men may be in the majority, they do not by any means compose the whole of the population. There are still the seven thousand who have not bowed their knees to Baal. These believe they were created to worship God and to enjoy His presence forever, and they are eager to learn all they can about the God with whom they expect to spend eternity.

In this world where men forget us, change their attitude toward us as their private interests dictate, and revise their opinion of us for the slightest cause, is it not a source of wondrous strength to know that the God with whom we have to do changes not? That His attitude toward us now is the same as it was in eternity past and will be in eternity to come?

What peace it brings to the Christian’s heart to realize that our Heavenly Father never differs from Himself. Incoming to Him at any time we need not wonder whether we shall find Him in a receptive mood. He is always receptive to misery and need, as well as to love and faith. He does not keep office hours nor set aside periods when He will see no one. Neither does He change His mind about anything. Today, this moment, He feels toward His creatures, toward babies, toward the sick, the fallen, the sinful, exactly as He did when He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to die for mankind.

God never changes moods or cools off in His affections or loses enthusiasm. His attitude toward sin is now the same as it was when He drove out the sinful man from the eastward garden, and His attitude toward the sinner the same as when He stretched forth His hands and cried, ”Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

God will not compromise and He need not be coaxed. He cannot be persuaded to alter His Word nor talked into answering selfish prayer. In all our efforts to find God, to please Him, to commune with Him, we should remember that all change must be on our part. ”I am the Lord, I change not.” We have but to meet His clearly stated terms, bring our lives into accord with His revealed will, and His infinite power will become instantly operative toward us in the manner set forth through the gospel in the Scriptures of truth.

Fountain of being! Source of Good!
Immutable Thou dost remain!
Nor can the shadow of a change
Obscure the glories of Thy reign.

Earth may with all her powers dissolve,
If such the great Creator will;
But Thou for ever art the same,
I AM is Thy memorial still.
From Walker's Collection
________________________________________
Logged

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



More From ChristiansUnite...    About Us | Privacy Policy | | ChristiansUnite.com Site Map | Statement of Beliefs



Copyright © 1999-2016 ChristiansUnite.com. All rights reserved.
Please send your questions, comments, or bug reports to the

Powered by SMF 1.1 RC2 | SMF © 2001-2005, Lewis Media