Tozer Devotional

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  • True FaithIn the First Peter verses quoted [in the previous devotion] there has been no wish to quote out of context nor to focus attention upon one side of truth to draw it away from another. The teaching of these passages is altogether one with all New Testament truth. It is as if we dipped a cup of water from the sea. What we took out would not be all the water in the ocean, but it would be a true sample and would perfectly agree with the rest. The difficulty we modern Christians face is not misunderstanding the Bible, but persuading our untamed hearts to accept its plain instructions. Our problem is to get the consent of our world-loving minds to make Jesus Lord in fact as well as in word. For it is one thing to say, "Lord, Lord," and quite another thing to obey the Lord's commandments. We may sing, "Crown Him Lord of all," and rejoice in the tones of the loud-sounding organ and the deep melody of harmonious voices, but still we have done nothing until we have left the world and set our faces toward the city of God in hard practical reality. When faith becomes obedience then it is true faith indeed.
  • No Middle GroundSo throughout the entire New Testament a sharp line is drawn between the Church and the world. There is no middle ground. The Lord recognizes no good natured "agreeing to disagree" so that the followers of the Lamb may adopt the world's ways and travel along the world's path. The gulf between the true Christian and the world is as great as that which separated the rich man and Lazarus. And, furthermore, it is the same gulf, that is, it is the gulf that divides the world of ransomed from the world of fallen men. I well know, and feel deeply, how offensive such teaching as this must be to that great flock of worldlings which mills around the traditional sheepfold. I cannot hope to escape the charge of bigotry and intolerance that will undoubtedly be brought against me by the confused religionists who seek to make themselves sheep by association. But we may as well face the hard truth that men do not become Christians by associating with church people, nor by religious contact, nor by religious education; they become Christians only by an invasion of their nature by the Spirit of God in the New Birth. And when they do thus become Christians they are immediately members of a new race, "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people . . . which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy" (1 Peter 2:9–10).
  • Terrible Zone of ConfusionThat terrible zone of confusion so evident in the whole life of the Christian community could be cleared up in one day if the followers of Christ would begin to follow Christ instead of each other. For our Lord was very plain in His teaching about the believer and the world. On one occasion, after receiving unsolicited and carnal advice from sincere but unenlightened brethren, our Lord replied, "My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but me it hateth, because I testify of it that the works thereof are evil." He identified His fleshly brethren with the world and said that they and He were of two different spirits. The world hated Him but could not hate them because it could not hate itself. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Adam's house must remain loyal to itself or it will tear itself apart. Though the sons of the flesh may quarrel among themselves they are at bottom one with each other. It is when the Spirit of God comes in that an alien element has entered. "If the world hate you," said the Lord to His disciples, "ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." Paul explained to the Galatians the difference between the bond child and the free: "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now" (Galatians 4:29).
  • Spiritual EssenceThis whole thing is spiritual in its essence. A Christian is what he is not by ecclesiastical manipulation but by the new birth. He is a Christian because of a Spirit who dwells in him. Only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. The flesh can never be converted into spirit, no matter how many church dignitaries work on it. Confirmation, baptism, holy communion, confession of faith—none of these nor all of them together can turn flesh into spirit nor make of a son of Adam a son of God. "Because ye are sons," wrote Paul to the Galatians, "God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." And to the Corinthians he wrote, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" And to the Romans, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his."
  • Whitewashed WorldThe twilight in which many (or should we say most?) believers walk today is not caused by any vagueness on the part of the Bible. Nothing could be clearer than the pronouncements of the Scriptures on the Christian's relation to the world. The confusion that gathers around this matter results from the unwillingness of professing Christians to take the Word of the Lord seriously. Christianity is so entangled with the world that millions never guess how radically they have missed the New Testament pattern. Compromise is everywhere. The world is whitewashed just enough to pass inspection by blind men posing as believers, and those same believers are everlastingly seeking to gain acceptance with the world. By mutual concessions men who call themselves Christians manage to get on with men who have for the things of God nothing but quiet contempt.

 

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