Sunday, January 22, 2017

And He Dwelt among Us: Teachings from the Gospel of John #4

TozerWith this post we conclude our 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 that we know God as He really is. I welcome comments and discussion on my Facebook page. I am using the Logos version of the book.

The Eternal Christ is Both Judge and Savior John 5.22-29

In this section Tozer meditates on the fact that John presents Jesus as both judge and savior. Ultimately judgment is not made by society, government or even ourselves. It is made by Jesus Christ. He will judge with empathy because he is one of us and had been through what we have been through. He will also judge with full knowledge of us and with impartiality. His judgment of our deeds will be perfect. But, he is also our Savior and has taken our rightful judgment on Himself. Tozer closes with an plea to take Jesus as Savior rather than wait for Jesus to be our judge.

The basic concept of judgment is simply that human beings are morally accountable. The basis of this accountability is the fact that we have life derived from another and not from ourselves. Because our life has come from another, we have a moral responsibility to that one who gave us life. 155

For the judge to be the judge of humanity, He must be one of them. Jesus said, the Father hath given the Son power to execute judgment because He is a Son of man. Because He is a Son of man, He not only can be their advocate above, the Savior by the throne of love, but He can also be their judge to sit upon the throne. John 9.39, 164

For the Christ that we deal with has eyes as a flame of fire. And His feet are like burnished brass; and out of His mouth cometh a sharp two-edged sword (see Rev. 1:14–16). He will be the judge of humanity. You can leave your loved ones in His hands knowing that He Himself suffered, knowing that He knows all, no mistakes can be made, there can be no miscarriage of justice, because He knows all that can be known. 166

The Wonder and Mystery of the Eternal Christ Identifying with Man John 6.1-13

Tozer answers the great question, "Where is God?" with "God is with us." He is always involved with His creation. Jesus, the 2nd person of the Trinity, took on full humanity (without sin) and became one is us without diminishing His Deity in any way. He took our sin upon Himself and died for it; our choice is to die for our sin in Christ and rise with Him or die for our sins alone. God is with us through our "older brother" Jesus who seeks and saves his needy people.

When God made the heavens, He made the earth, and the same mark of God is on the earth that is in the heavens above. The God who made the world above made the world below; and though sin has entered and man fell and the shadow fell over the earth, there is still similarity, there are still some of the fingerprints of God all over His wonderful world. 173

The simple fact is there never was made a transfer of moral responsibility from one personality to another in atonement. But in Jesus Christ Himself, we became part of Him and He became part of us and took us up into Himself so that in one sense, when He died, as Paul said, we all died...The sinner dies alone and the Christian dies in Christ. But every man dies for his sins. He either dies by joining his heart to Jesus Christ, and is tucked up under the wings of Jesus and dies in the body of Christ, or else he dies alone in his sins. 181

The Bible says that He is the firstborn among many brethren (see Rom. 8:29). And the brethren were lost, and so the firstborn went and found them; or changing the figure, the shepherd was here for His sheep. 184

Living Victoriously in Two Kingdoms John 5.24

Tozer here laments the loss of emphasis on the supernatural in modern churches. He states that most Christians, though they would not call themselves materialists, live as materialists. We don't really believe in the spiritual world of angels, demons and other spiritual beings. We see faith as assent to a creed or a formula instead of deep belief. There is a danger that we will see assenting to certain doctrines and doing certain actions as what Christianity is all about when it is about a deep spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. This relationship must lead lead to the actions, etc. but is not the essence of Christianity. We need to return to that understanding the physical and spiritual world are very close together.

It is not what a church believes that matters so much as what that church believes enough to emphasize. It is not what a preacher will admit theologically when you pin him down and make him talk; it is what he believes with sufficient urgency to make it a living, constant part of his message. 187

I am an experientialist in that I believe that everything I hold as true should be mine in living, vibrant experience—what is really mine, that in which I have experience. Not that which I have believed strongly enough to write into a book of creed, but that which I have believed strongly enough to enter into and experience. 188

The kingdom of God coexists with the kingdom of man, and the two are together. One is inward and one is outward. One is internal and one is external. One is of the spirit; the other is of the flesh. 191

The Importance of a Proper Concept of God

Tozer closes this book with what is really the theme of most his writings: One must know God as He has revealed Himself in scripture. The climax of this revelation is the incarnation of Christ. "Christ is God acting like Himself." (212) Our view of God must always be controlled by what is revealed about Jesus Christ. If this is not the case our expression of faith will be deficient. The purpose of Christian faith is for us to become children of God by becoming more like Christ.

Personal faith cannot rise higher than a person’s concept of God. 205

Whoever knows Christ knows God. Whoever knows our Lord Jesus knows the Father, and whose eyes look upon Jesus look upon the Father. It may be said that whoever knows God can know God through Christ, and must know God through Christ. And it can be said that God does always act like Christ, and Christ always acts like God, because Christ is God walking among men. It may also be said with certainty that increasing knowledge of Christ means increasing knowledge of God. 212

Nobody ever comes around stoves when the fire’s gone out in them. Jesus had love in His heart, and love is always warm. Love is always attractive. People come to the churches where there is warmth. They come to Christians that are warm. 215

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