Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bad News First

I spent much of March blogging about the gospel and what it means to live a cross-centered life. But as I began Tozer's book, I realized something important: If the bad news doesn't come first, the good news is not good. The bad news is that we are all sinners--that all our good deeds, all our attempts to measure up and earn our way to heaven, are like filthy rags. The bad news is that on our own, we stand condemned before a holy God who cannot look upon our disgusting sin. We have betrayed and offended the Creator of the universe; we can do nothing to reconcile ourselves with Him.

Until we understand this, the good news of the gospel means nothing. You cannot appreciate a Savior until you recognize that you need to be saved. You cannot embrace a mediator until you realize that you are hopelessly separated from God.

Tozer puts it this way (emphasis mine):

"All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we are moral beings must do about Him.

"The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most cannot concern him for very long; but even if the multiple burdens of time may be lifted from him, the one mighty single burden of eternity begins to press down upon him with a weight more crushing than all the woes of the world piled one upon another. That mighty burden is his obligation to God. It includes an instant and lifelong duty to love God with every power of mind and soul, to obey Him perfectly, and to worship Him acceptably. And when the man's laboring conscience tells him that he has done none of these things, but has from childhood been guilty of foul revolt against the Majesty in the heavens, the inner pressure of self-accusation may become too heavy to bear.

"The gospel can lift this destroying burden from the mind, give beauty for ashes, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. But unless the weight of the burden is felt the gospel can mean nothing to the man; and until he sees a vision of God high and lifted up, there will be no woe and no burden. Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them."

--A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

2 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Wow! The fact that we have to recognize our sinfulness "sounds" easy enough but is it? Is it easy enough that a child can realize his sin? Is it possible for a child to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? These are questions that I have been searching answers to. My daughter professes to believe in Jesus Christ and she can tell why she believes, but is this just a head knowledge? Can she receive efficious faith from the Holy Spirit to believe without coming to a full understanding of the total depravity of her sins? I agree that we have to recognize we are in need of a saviour before we can accept the Saviour. However, as a child the total ramifications of justice from God can not be clearly grasped. Do you have a biblical opinion on the ability of a child to be genuinely saved?

Amy said...

whew! that's some heavy stuff to ponder. while I consider it, maybe some of my wiser readers will weigh in. at least, I'll hope that some of the wise, godly people whose blogs I read might stop in here.