Saturday, January 14, 2017

And He Dwelt among Us: Teachings from the Gospel of John #3

TozerWith this post we continue reading through the New Testament devotional book, And He Dwelt among Us: Teachings from the Gospel of John, by A. W. Tozer. This book is a meditation on the great truth and mystery that God became a human being. Here Tozer is especially concerned about our response to this truth. I welcome comments and discussion on my Facebook page. I am using the Logos version of the book.

What Really Matters to God John 3.16

What really matters to God are individual people. Though all are in sin, he loves each one enough to send His Son to take on the forces of evil and overcome the forces of death for each one. While God does have a kingdom agenda, it includes love and relationship with each individual too. The idea that God created some people just to send them to hell is not a biblical one. God has proved his love for all people through what He did for each one in Jesus Christ.

When I read those words “God so loved the world,” it means in personal terms that I mean something to God. God has His eyes upon me and is emotionally concerned about me. If this simple message could rise above the confusion of the religious world, it would offer hope to those who embrace it. 109

During His ministry, Jesus dealt in individuals, not in statistics. The Christian message reflects that. God does not love masses, He loves people; He loves them individually. 112

But no matter how bad or how far away from God you are or how often you have failed Him or how many lies you have told Him—how terrible you have been or how no good you feel you are—I have the word for you: You do matter. God is concerned; God is not happy about you; He says, “Come and let whoever hear it say come and whoever will let him come.” 120

The Personal Application of Christ's Coming Into the World John 3.17

Tozer calls John 3.17 the "proclamation extraordinary." The idea that God would enter his creation as a human being to save us, and not give us the judgment our rebellion deserves, should be the truth that provides the center and motivation for our lives. Sadly, most people, including church people, greet it with apathy and indifference. Jesus' does not want to condemn us. He wants to reclaim us for His Kingdom and make us what we were meant to be. He knows all about us and refuses to judge us. He won't coerce us, but calls us to come to Him.

The world is too much with us. We have wasted our powers in getting and spending. 129

The proclamation extraordinary is simply, He sent His Son into the world, but not to judge the world. That was not His purpose at all. He came that men might be saved. He did not come to condemn, but to reclaim. That was the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ. He came to reclaim that which was rightfully His by creation. 133

Single yourself out, not somebody else, but you. Jesus Christ came not to condemn you but to save you, knowing your name, knowing all about you, knowing your weight right now, knowing your age, knowing what you do, knowing where you live, knowing what you ate for supper and what you will eat for breakfast, where you will sleep tonight, how much your clothing cost, who your parents were. He knows you individually as though there were not another person in the entire world. He died for you as certainly as if you had been the only lost one. He knows the worst about you and is the One who loves you the most. 136

Perfect Harmony and Unity in the Trinity John 5.17-26

In this section Tozer is teaching about the mystery of the relationship between the Three persons of the Trinity. He sees the unity of the One Godhead as being expressed in the three persons co-equally. Thus, when one honors the Father they  honor the Son and the Spirit. When one prays to the Father or in the Name of the Son they are praying to the whole Godhead.

The ancient mystic theologians taught that the Godhead goes back of and beneath any of the three persons of the Trinity. They teach that there is the underlying Godhead and that the Godhead expressed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Ghost, in three personalities. That is what I believe. I believe that the Father is the ancient Godhead expressing Himself as the Father, and the Son is the ancient Godhead in expression as the Son, and the Holy Ghost is the ancient Godhead—all of one substance and of one eternity. One, without beginning and without creation. And so we have the triune God. 143

He never emptied Himself of any attributes of deity; rather, He emptied Himself of the accoutrements of deity. He emptied Himself of the evidences of the deity, covered the deity in a cloak of opaque flesh and walked among us as though He were a man. He was God in overalls, living on the earth, wearing the common denim of humanity and covering over His deity. 145

God knows that the most mature of us still need coddling sometimes, and so He is quick to overlook our ignorance, but He is never quick to overlook our sins. 150

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