Tozer has always been and will be one the fiercest writers I know! Fierce in the sense he writes like a lion; you can tell the fire of God has breathed through his life in his years pastoring in Chicago. In this excerpt pay attention to God’s Justice, as an act versus an identity.
“Justice, when used of God, is a name we give tot he way God is, nothing more; and when God acts justly He is not doing so to conform to an independent criterion, but simply acting like Himself in a given situation. As gold is an element in itself and can never change nor compromise but is gold wherever it is found, so God is God, always, only, fully God and can never be other than He is. Everything in the universe is good to the degree it conforms to the nature of God and evil as it fails to do so. God is His own self-existent principle of moral equity, and when He sentences evil men or rewards the righteous, He simply acts like Himself from within, uninfluenced by anything that is not Himself….God’s compassion flows out of His goodness, and goodness without justice is not goodness. God spares us because he is good, but He could not be good if He were not just. When God punishes the wicked…it is just because it is consistent with their deserts; and when He spares the wicked it is just because it is compatible with His goodness; so God does what becomes Him as the supremely good God.”
– AW Tozer, “The Knowledge of the Holy”, The Justice of God, p. 88
There has always been a question that has burnt its place in my mind, and all my meanderings and readings have not satisfied this question. Soon I will be done with this essay, and I’ll have a much better grasp on this issue than before when I’m done, but until then I leave with you an excerpt.
I deal with the question of patience. Does God’s patience run out with me? Does it run out, at the 98th time I lose my temper, and I lose something, like a nice pretty jewel on my crown in heaven? So I turned to the word and fervently searched the pages in search of an answer.
I’ve found (not exhaustively of course), that God’s patience was mainly exercised for our Salvation, and patience is replaced with discipline for those who love Him. Here is an excerpt:
“The reason God shows kindness in his patience is that they who have lived a life against God would be given the chance to choose God. Indeed it takes much spiritual work to undo the hardening of the sin encrusted soul. But with one powerful word that God can utter, He changes the identity and nature of the perpetually sinning man; when God says, “This one is Mine!” Truly God’s mind has known that sinner as his even before the world was accepted, but the world obeys and acknowledges the admittance of another sinner into the kingdom. At that moment the unrepentant man is illuminated with the Holy Spirit, and its light shows him for who he really is, a man in need of a savior.
What a harrowing and deadly place it is to be on the ever shortening end of God’s patience. For the unrepentant man, patience does come to an end. “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions…God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” (Romans 1:26, Romans 1:28) The language here is definitely one of limit. Here we get the clear picture that God’s patience is indeed not limitless to the one who is a “hater of God”. The language here strongly depicts God handing over the unrepentant man to his own desires. It is a mercy that God had previously kept them from such a state, but after God deems it necessary, he gives the sinful natured man over to his own sinful flesh, and it is in such a circle of selfishness he thus continues. Man feeding sin, sin feeding man! God has withdrawn His caring hand to this individual, and two things will happen. If he repents, he will be saved, but if he continues to indulge in himself, the wrath of God is his. “But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” (Romans 2:8)
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Next time you sit down with your chicken bones, horoscopes, notepad and crystal ball and try to think up the next new coolest cult in your assailment of Christianity, just know, its probably already been thought of before. The first 500 years, we see most of Christianity’s main heresy’s emerge. Even before Paul died, there were plenty of misunderstandings to clarify. Much of his epistles were correcting epistles, they were doing something a little off, and need some loving correction, and sometimes a rebuke.
All it takes is to erroneously change your course by a couple of degrees initially in the first few feet of a journey, and miles later you will be way off course. Such is a way in which most heresies come about. Its not Joey came home one day with a toad, and was like “I found God!” But in very small measures, they deviate from the way.
Early church heresies are important for us today, because they are still the same questions many people wrestle through today. How can Jesus be totally man and totally God? Was Jesus really born of a virgin? If he was born, doesn’t that make him created (and therefore not fully God)? Why does Jesus have to be deity, and not just a teacher?
Find a great website explaining the first heresies here. Great website explaining them.
I also encourage you, if you find this interesting, to go as deep as you can. In learning what the heresies were, you’ll find how the church responded to such heresies to be a way to strengthen your walk with Christ.
Or watch it here!
Why learn theology? Am I already a theologian? True theology manifests true living.