“God’s gifts are many; His best gift is one. It is the gift of Himself. Above all gifts, God desires most to give Himself to His people. Our nature being what it is, we are the best fitted of all creatures to know and enjoy God. “For Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee” (from The Confessions of St. Augustine).
When God told Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites,” He in fact promised a portion infinitely above all the real estate in Palestine and all the earth thrown in (Numbers 18:20). To possess God–this is the inheritance ultimate and supreme.
There is a sense in which God never gives any gift except he gives Himself with it. The love of God, what is it but God giving Himself in love? The mercy of God is but God giving Himself in mercy, and so with all other blessings and benefits so freely showered upon the children of atonement. Deep within all divine blessing is the Divine One Himself dwelling as in a sanctuary.”
– A. W. Tozer
“Almost every cult with which we have any acquaintance practices this art of selecting and ignoring. The no-hell cults, for example, habitually stress everything in the Bible that seems to support their position and play down or explain away all the passages that deal with eternal punishment.
But we do well to look closer to home. Proneness to heresy is not confined to the cults. By nature, we are all heretics. We who count ourselves to be in the historic tradition of sound doctrine may in actual practice become heretics after a sort. We may unconsciously select for special attention such Scriptures as comfort and encourage us and pass over the ones that rebuke and warn us. This trap is so easy to fall into that we may be in it before we are aware.
Take, for instance, the “well-marked” Bible. It might be an illuminating experience to peep into one sometimes and note how the owner has underscored almost exclusively the passages that console him or that support his views on doctrine. We habitually love the verses that are easy on us and shy away from the ones that disturb us.”
– A. W. Tozer
“We Christians owe it to ourselves and to the human race to be above all persons, candid, downright and completely transparent. We must have no truck with fancy, but see to it that our religious talk hugs the facts as tightly as a glove and that our words always have some reality corresponding to them.
Over the years I have been disturbed more than a little by the vague unreality of much that I hear among religious people. This is not a charge of insincerity. I have no doubt of the sincerity of most religious persons. It is the lack of reality that disturbs me. Indeed the gravity of the situation is increased by the very earnestness with which many persons are occupied with unreality.
Religion stands at the top as being among all fields of human interest the one most addicted to words. Nowhere else are there so many words and so few deeds to support them. There is something about a religious gathering, and particularly about a church building, that produces in the worshiper a state of pleasant languor and suspends his critical faculties for the duration of the service. The average Christian goes to church expecting to hear certain words and phrases and the average preacher knows what they are. It does not matter too much in what order they occur, and if they should be spoken with a considerable degree of enthusiasm, so much the better; only let them be familiar and harmless. Nothing more is required or expected.”
– A. W. Tozer
“Many evangelical teachers insist so strongly upon free, unconditional grace as to create the impression that sin is not a serious matter and that God cares very little about it! They make it seem that God is only concerned with our escaping the consequences. The gospel, then, in practical application, means little more than a way to escape the fruits of our past! But the heart that has felt the weight of its own sin and has seen the dread whiteness of the Most High God will never believe that a message of forgiveness without transformation is a message of good news. To remit a man’s past without transforming his present is to violate the moral sincerity of his own heart. To that kind of thing God will be no party! For to offer a sinner the gift of salvation based upon the work of Christ, while at the same time allowing him to retain the idea that the gift carries with it no moral implications, is to do him untold injury where it hurts him most!”
– A. W. Tozer
“The spiritual man wants to carry his cross. Many Christians accept adversity or tribulation with a sigh and call it their cross, forgetting that such things come alike to saint and sinner. The cross is that extra adversity that comes to us as a result of our obedience to Christ. This cross is not forced upon us; we voluntarily take it up with full knowledge of the consequences. We choose to obey Christ and by so doing choose to carry the cross. Carrying a cross means to be attached to the Person of Christ, committed to the Lordship of Christ and obedient to the commandments of Christ. The man who is so attached, so committed, so obedient is a spiritual man. Again, a Christian is spiritual when he sees everything from God’s viewpoint. The ability to weigh all things in the divine scale and place the same value upon them as God does is the mark of a Spirit-filled life. God looks at and through at the same time. His gaze does not rest on the surface but penetrates to the true meaning of things. The carnal Christian looks at an object or a situation, but because he does not see through it he is elated or cast down by what he sees. The spiritual man is able to look through things as God looks and think of them as God thinks. He insists on seeing all things as God sees them even if it humbles him and exposes his ignorance to the point of real pain.”
-A. W. Tozer
“If we lived in a spiritual Utopia where every wind blew toward heaven and every man was a friend of God, we Christians could take everything for granted, counting on the new life within us to cause us to do the will of God without effort and more or less unconsciously. Unfortunately we have opposing us the lusts of the flesh, the attractions of the world and the temptations of the devil. These complicate our lives and require us often to make determined moral decisions on the side of Christ and His commandments. It is the crisis that forces us to take a stand for or against. The patriot may be loyal to his country for half a lifetime without giving much thought to it, but let an unfriendly power solicit him to turn traitor and he will quickly spurn its overtures. His patriotism will be brought out into the open for everyone to see. So it is in the Christian life. When the ?south wind blew softly? (Acts 27:13) the ship that carried Paul sailed smoothly enough and no one on board knew who Paul was or how much strength of character lay hidden behind that rather plain exterior. But when the mighty tempest, Euroclydon, burst upon them Paul?s greatness was soon the talk of everyone on the ship. The apostle, though himself a prisoner quite literally took command of the vessel, made decisions and issued orders that meant life or death to the people. And I think the crisis brought to a head something in Paul that had not previously been clear even to him. Beautiful theory was quickly crystallized into hard fact when the tempest struck.”
– A. W. Tozer
“If we compare what we ought to be and could be with what we are, and we don’t see that we are in a rut and we are not concerned, then one of three things may be wrong. First, we may not be converted at all. I am convinced that many evangelicals are not truly and soundly converted. Among the evangelicals it is entirely possible to come into membership, to ooze in by osmosis, to leak through the cells of the church and never know what it means to be born of the Spirit and washed in the blood. A great deal that passes for the deeper life is nothing more or less than basic Christianity. There is nothing deeper about it, and it is where we should have been from the start. We should have been happy, joyous, victorious Christians walking in the Holy Spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. Instead we have been chasing each other around the perpetual mountain. What we need is what the old Methodists called a sound conversion. There is a difference between conversion and a sound conversion. People who have never been soundly converted do not have the Spirit to enlighten them. When they read the Sermon on the Mount or the teaching passages of the epistles that tell them how to live or the doctrinal passages that tell how they can live, they are unaffected. The Spirit who wrote them is not witnessing in their hearts because they have not been born of the Spirit. That often happens.”
– A. W. Tozer