THE DWELLING PLACE OF
THE DWELLING PLACE OF
Copyright © 2020 Sanage Publishing House LLP All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other eletronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed "Attention Permissions Coordinator," at the address below. Paperback: 978-939089634-9 Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Names, characters, and places are products of the author's imagination.
Sanage Publishing House LLP Mumbai, India [email protected]
Aiden Wilson Tozer was an American Christian pastor, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor. For his accomplishments, he received honorary doctorates from Wheaton and Houghton Colleges. Though he wrote many books,at least two are regarded as Christian classics: The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy. Many of his books impress on the reader the possibility and necessity for a deeper relationship with God.
CONTENTS Chapter 1: Man - The Dwelling Place Of God
Chapter 2: The Call Of Christ
Chapter 3: What We Think Of Ourselves Is Important
Chapter 4: The Once-Born And The Twice-Born
Chapter 5: On The Origin And Nature Of Things
Chapter 6: Why People Find The Bible Difficult
Chapter 7: Faith - The Misunderstood Doctrine
Chapter 8: True Religion Is Not Feeling But Willing
Chapter 9: How To Make Spiritual Progress
Chapter 10: The Old Cross And The New
Chapter 11: There Is No Wisdom In Sin
Chapter 12: Three Degrees Of Religious Knowledge
Chapter 13: The Sanctification Of The Secular
Chapter 14: God Must Be Loved For Himself
Chapter 15: True Faith Is Active, Not Passive
Chapter 16: On Taking Too Much For Granted
Chapter 17: The Cure For A Fretful Spirit
Chapter 18: Boasting Or Belittling
Chapter 19: The Communion Of Saints
Chapter 20: Temperament In The Christian Life
Chapter 21: Does God Always Answer Prayer?
Chapter 22: Self-Deception And How To Avoid It
Chapter 23: On Breeding Spotted Mice
Chapter 24: The Unknown Saints
Chapter 25: Three Faithful Wounds
Chapter 26: The Wrath Of God - What Is It?
Chapter 27: In Praise Of Dogmatism
Chapter 28: What Men Live By
Chapter 29: How To Try The Spirits
Chapter 30: Religious Boredom
Chapter 31: The Church Can Not Die
Chapter 32: The Lordship Of The Man Jesus Is Basic
Chapter 33: A Do-It Yourself Education Is Better Than None
Chapter 34: Some Thoughts On Books And Reading
Chapter 35: The Decline Of Apocalyptic Expectation
Chapter 36: Choices Reveal And Make Character
Chapter 37: The Importance Of Sound Doctrine
Chapter 38: Some Things Are Not Negotiable
Chapter 39: The Saint Must Walk Alone
Chapter 1: Man - The Dwelling Place Of God Deep inside every man there is a private sanctum where dwells the mysterious essence of his being. This far-in reality is that in the man which is what it is of itself without reference to any other part of the man’s complex nature. It is the man’s “ I Am,” a gift from the I AM who created him. The I AM which is God is underived and self-existent; the “ I Am” which is man is derived from God and dependent every moment upon His creative fiat for its continued existence. One is the Creator, high over all, ancient of days, dwelling in light unapproachable. The other is a creature and, though privileged beyond all others, is still but a creature, a pensioner on God’s bounty and a suppliant before His throne. The deep-in human entity of which we speak is called in the Scriptures the spirit of man. “ For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). As God’s self-knowledge lies in the eternal Spirit, so man’s self6
knowledge is by his own spirit, and his knowledge of God is by the direct impression of the Spirit of God upon the spirit of man. The importance of all this can not be overestimated as we think and study and pray. It reveals the essential spirituality of mankind. It denies that man is a creature having a spirit and declares that he is a spirit having a body. That which makes him a human being is not his body but his spirit, in which the image of God originally lay. One of the most liberating declarations in the New Testament is this: “The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). Here the nature of worship is shown to be wholly spiritual. True religion is removed from diet and days, from garments and ceremonies, and placed where it belongs - in the union of the spirit of man with the Spirit of God. From man’s standpoint the most tragic loss suffered in the Fall was the vacating of this inner sanctum by the Spirit of God. At the far-in hidden centre of man’s being is a bush fitted to be the dwelling place of the Triune God. There God planned to rest and glow with moral and spiritual fire. Man by his sin forfeited this indescribably wonderful privilege and must now dwell there alone. For so intimately private is the place that no creature can intrude; no one can enter but Christ; and He will enter only by the invitation of faith. “ Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). By the mysterious operation of the Spirit in the new birth, that which is called by Peter “ the divine nature” enters the deep-in core of the believer’s heart and establishes residence there. “ If 7
any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” for “ the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:9, 16). Such a one is a true Christian, and only such. Baptism, confirmation, the receiving of the sacraments, church membership - these mean nothing unless the supreme act of God in regeneration also takes place. Religious externals may have a meaning for the God-inhabited soul; for any others they are not only useless but may actually become snares, deceiving them into a false and perilous sense of security. “ Keep thy heart with all diligence” is more than a wise saying; it is a solemn charge laid upon us by the One who cares most about us. To it we should give the most careful heed lest at any time we should let it slip.
Chapter 2: The Call Of Christ To be called to follow Christ is a high honour; higher indeed than any honour men can bestow upon each other. Were all the nations of the earth to unite in one great federation and call a man to head that federation, that man would be honoured above any other man that ever lived. Yet the humblest man who heeds the call to follow Christ has an honour far above such a man; for the nations of the earth can bestow only such honour as they possess, while the honour of Christ is supreme over all. God has given Him a name that is above every name. This being true and being known to the heavenly intelligences, the methods we use to persuade men to follow Christ must seem to them extremely illogical if not downright wrong. Evangelical Christians commonly offer Christ to mankind as a nostrum to cure their ills, a way out of their troubles, a quick and easy means to the achievement of personal ends. They use the right words, but their emphasis is awry. The message is so presented as to leave the hearer with the impression that he is being asked to 9
give up much to gain more. And that is not good, however well intentioned it may be. What we do is precisely what a good salesman does when he presents the excellence of his product as compared with that of his closest competitor. The customer chooses the better of the two, as who would not? But the weakness of the whole salesmanship technique is apparent: the idea of selfish gain is present in the whole transaction. Jesus Christ is a Man come to save men. In Him the divine nature is married to our human nature, and wherever human nature exists there is the raw material out of which He makes followers and saints. Our Lord recognises no classes, high or low, rich or poor, old or young, man or woman: all are human and all are alike to Him. His invitation is to all mankind. In New Testament times persons from many and varied social levels heard His call and responded: Peter the fisherman; Levi the publican; Luke the physician; Paul the scholar; Mary the demon possessed; Lydia the businesswoman; Paulus the statesman. A few great and many common persons came. They all came and our Lord received them all in the same way and on the same terms. From any and every profession or occupation men and women may come if they will. The simple rule is that if the occupation is good, continue in it if you so desire; if it is bad, abandon it at once and seek another. If the call includes detachment from all common pursuits to give full time to the work of the gospel, then no profession or occupation, no matter how good or how noble, must keep us from obeying the call. The activities in which men engage may be divided into two 10
categories: the morally bad and the morally neutral. The activities of the burglar, the gambler, the dictator, the procurer, the dope addict, the gangster and all who prey upon society are bad; nothing can make them better. The call of Christ is away from all such. This is not to be questioned or debated, but accepted without delay and acted upon at once. But the majority of our human activities are not evil in themselves; they are neutral. The labourer, the statesman, the housewife, the doctor, the teacher, the engineer - such as these engage in activities that are neither good nor bad. Their moral qualities are imparted by the one who engages in them. So the call of Christ is not away from such things, for they may be sanctified by the prayer and faith of the individual, and thus turned into a positive good. One thing is certain: the call of Christ is always a promotion. Were Christ to call a king from his throne to preach the gospel to some tribe of aborigines, that king would be elevated above anything he had known before. Any movement toward Christ is ascent, and any direction away from Him is down. Yet though we recognize the honour bestowed upon us, there is no place for pride, for the follower of Christ must shoulder his cross and a cross is an object of shame and a symbol of rejection. Before God and the angels it is a great honour to follow Christ, but before men it is not so. The Christ the world pretends now to honour was once rejected and crucified by that same world. The great saint is honoured only after he is dead. Rarely is he known as a saint while he lives. The plaudits of the world come too late, when he can no longer hear them; and perhaps it is better that way. Not many are selfless enough to endure honour without injury to their souls. 11
In those early Galilean days Christ’s followers heard His call, forsook the old life, attached themselves to Him, began to obey His teachings and joined themselves to His band of disciples. This total commitment was their confirmation of faith. Nothing less would do. And it is not different today. He calls us to leave the old life and to begin the new. There must never be any vacuum, never any place of neutrality where the world can not identify us. Peter warming himself at the world’s fire and trying to seem unconcerned is an example of the kind of halfway discipleship too many are satisfied with. The martyr leaping up in the arena, demanding to be thrown to the lions along with his suffering brethren, is an example of the only kind of dedication that God approves.
Chapter 3: What We Think Of Ourselves Is Important The man who is seriously convinced that he deserves to go to hell is not likely to go there, while the man who believes that he is worthy of heaven will certainly never enter that blessed place. I use the word “ seriously” to accent true conviction and to distinguish it from mere nominal belief. It is possible to go through life believing that we believe, while actually having no conviction more vital than a conventional creed inherited from our ancestors or picked up from the general religious notions current in our social circle. If this creed requires that we admit our own depravity we do so and feel proud of our fidelity to the Christian faith. But from the way we love, praise and pamper ourselves it is plain enough that we do not consider ourselves worthy of damnation. A revealing proof of this is seen in the squeamish way religious writers use words. An amusing example is found in a cautious editorial change made in the song “ The Comforter Has Come.” One stanza reads: 13
“O boundless love divine! How shall this tongue of mine, To wondering mortals tell The matchless grace divine That I, a child of hell, Should in His image shine!” That is how Dr. Bottome felt it and that is how he wrote it; and the man who has seen the holiness of God and the pollution of his own heart will sing it as it was written, for his whole inner life will respond to the experience. Even if he can not find chapter and verse to brand hint a child of hell, Ins heart indicts him and he eagerly accuses himself before God as fit only for perdition. This is to experience something more profound than theology, more painfully intimate than creed, and while bitter and harsh it is true to the man’s Spirit illuminated view of himself. In so confessing, the enlightened heart is being faithful to the terrible fact while it is singing its own condemnation. This I believe is greatly pleasing to God. It is, I repeat, amusing if somewhat distressing to come upon an editorial change in this song, which was made obviously in the interest of correct theology, but is once removed from reality and twice removed from true moral feeling. In one hymnal it is made to read: “That I a child of SIN Should in His image shine!” The fastidious song cobbler who made that alteration simply could not think of himself as ever having been a “c hild of hell.” A finicky choice of words sometimes tells us more about a man than the man knows about himself. 14
This one instance, if isolated in Christian literature, ought not be too significant, but when this kind of thing occurs everywhere as thick as dandelions in a meadow it becomes highly significant indeed. The mincing religious prudery heard in the average pulpit is all a part of this same thing - art unwillingness to admit the depths of our inner depravity. We do not actually assent to God’s judgement of us except as we hold it as a superficial creed. When the pressure is on we back out. A child of sin? Maybe. A child of hell? No. Our Lord told of two men who appeared before God in prayer, a Pharisee who recited his virtues and a publican who beat on his breast and pleaded for mercy. The first was rejected, the other justified. We manage to live with that story in some degree of comfort only by keeping it at full arm’s length and never permitting it to catch hold of our conscience. These two men are long ago dead and their story has become it little religious classic. We are different, and how can anything so remote apply to us? So we reason on a level only slightly above our unconscious, and draw what comfort we can from the vagueness and remoteness of it all. But why should we not face up to it? The truth is that this happened not a long while ago, but yesterday, this morning; not far-away, but here where some of us last knelt to pray. These two men are not dead, but alive, and are found in the local church, at the missionary convention and the deeper life conference here, now, today. Every man lives at last by his secret philosophy as an aeroplane flies on its electric beam. It is the profound conviction that we are wholly unworthy of future blessedness, that, we are indeed by nature fitted only for destruction, that leads to true repentance. The man who inwardly believes that lie is too good to perish will 15
Man: The Dwelling Place of God, A. W. Tozer reveals what it truly means to have Christ within us—like leaving your old life behind, understanding the Bible, making godly choices, loving God for Himself, Christian fellowship, and more.Once the Spirit enters the core of the believer's heart and establishes residence there, man becomes a true child of God.
Write to us: [email protected]
INR 199 9 7 8 9 3 9 0 8 9 6 3 4 9