What It Means to Accept Christ #AWTOZER

December 3, 2018
What It Means to Accept Christ #AWTOZER
A FEW THINGS, FORTUNATELY only a few, are matters of life and death, such as a compass for a sea voyage or a guide for a journey across the desert. To ignore these vital things is not to gamble or take a chance; it is to commit suicide. Here it is either be right or be dead. Our relation to Christ is such a matter of life or death, and on a much higher plane. The Bible instructed man knows that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and that men are saved by Christ alone altogether apart from any works of merit. That much is true and is known, but obviously the death and resurrection of Christ do not automatically save everyone. How does the individual man come into saving relation to Christ? That some do we know, but that others do not is evident. How is the gulf bridged between redemption objectively provided and salvation subjectively received? How does that which Christ did for me become operative within me? To the question “What must I do to be saved?” we must learn the correct answer. To fail here is not to gamble with our souls: it is to guarantee eternal banishment from the face of God. Here we must be right or be finally lost. To this anxious question evangelical Christians provide three answers, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” “Receive Christ as your personal Saviour,” and “Accept Christ.” Two of the answers are drawn almost verbatim from the Scriptures (Acts 16:31, John 1:12), while the third is a kind of paraphrase meant to sum up the other two. They are therefore not three but one. Being spiritually lazy we naturally tend to gravitate toward the easiest way of settling our religious questions for ourselves and others; hence the formula “Accept Christ” has become a panacea of universal application, and I believe it has been fatal to many. Though undoubtedly an occasional serious-minded penitent may find in it all the instruction he needs to bring him into living contact with Christ, I fear that too many seekers use it as a short cut to the Promised Land, only to find that it has led them instead to “a land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” The trouble is that the whole “Accept Christ” attitude is likely to be wrong. It shows Christ applying to us rather than us to Him. It makes Him stand hat-in-hand awaiting our verdict on Him, instead of our kneeling with troubled hearts awaiting His verdict on us. It may even permit us to accept Christ by an impulse of mind or emotions, painlessly, at no loss to our ego and no inconvenience to our usual way of life. For this ineffectual manner of dealing with a vital matter we might imagine some parallels; as if, for instance, Israel in Egypt had “accepted” the blood of the Passover but continued to live in bondage, or the prodigal son had “accepted” his father’s forgiveness and stayed on among the swine in the far country. Is it not plain that if accepting Christ is to mean anything there must be moral action that accords with it? Allowing the expression “Accept Christ” to stand as an honest effort to say in short what could not be so well said any other way, let us see what we mean or should mean when we use it. To accept Christ is to form an attachment to the Person of our Lord Jesus altogether unique in human experience. The attachment is intellectual, volitional and emotional. The believer is intellectually convinced that Jesus is both Lord and Christ; he has set his will to follow Him at any cost and soon his heart is enjoying the exquisite sweetness of His fellowship This attachment is all-inclusive in that it joyfully accepts Christ for all that He is. There is no craven division of offices whereby we may acknowledge His Saviourhood today and withhold decision on His Lordship till tomorrow. The true believer owns Christ as his All in All without reservation. He also includes all of himself, leaving no part of his being unaffected by the revolutionary transaction. Further, his attachment to Christ is all-exclusive. The Lord becomes to him not one of several rival interests, but the one exclusive attraction forever. He orbits around Christ as the earth around the sun, held in thrall by the magnetism of His love, drawing all his life and light and warmth from Him. In this happy state he is given other interests, it is true, but these are all determined by his relation to his Lord. That we accept Christ in this all-inclusive, all-exclusive way is a divine imperative. Here faith makes its leap into God through the Person and work of Christ, but it never divides the work from the Person. It never tries to believe on the blood apart from Christ Himself, or the cross or the “finished work.” It believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole Christ without modification or reservation, and thus it receives and enjoys all that He did in His work of redemption, all that He is now doing in heaven for His own and all that He does in and through them. To accept Christ is to know the meaning of the words “as he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17) . We accept His friends as our friends, His enemies as our enemies, His ways as our ways, His rejection as our rejection, His cross as our cross, His life as our life and His future as our future. If this is what we mean when we advise the seeker to accept Christ we had better explain it to him. He may get into deep spiritual trouble unless we do.
#BORNAGAIN #REGENERATION #NEWCREATION #INCHRIST #BORNOFGOD #BORNOFHOLYSPIRIT
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TRUE RELIGION IS NOT FEELING BUT WILLING by A.W. TOZER

November 25, 2018

(TRUE RELIGION IS NOT FEELING BUT WILLING by A.W. Tozer)
One of the puzzling questions likely to turn up sooner or later to vex the seeking Christian is how he can fulfil the scriptural command to love God with all his heart and his neighbour as himself. The earnest Christian, as he meditates on his sacred obligation to love God and mankind, may experience a sense of frustration gendered by the knowledge that he just can not seem to work up any emotional thrill over his Lord or his brothers. He wants to, but he can not. The delightful wells of feeling simply will not flow. Many honest persons have become discouraged by the absence of religious emotion and concluded that they are not really Christian after all. They conclude that they must have missed the way somewhere back there and their religion is little more than an empty profession. So for a while they belabour themselves for their coldness and finally settle into a state of dull discouragement, hardly knowing what to think. They do believe in God; they do indeed trust Christ as their Saviour, but the love they hoped to feel consistently eludes them. What is the trouble? The problem is not a light one. A real difficulty is involved, one which may be stated in the form of a question: How can I love by commandment? Of all the emotions of which the soul is capable, love is by far the freest, the most unreasoning, the one least likely to spring up at the call of duty or obligation, and surely the one that will not come at the command of another. No law has ever been passed that can compel one moral being to love another, for by the very nature of it love must be voluntary. No one can be coerced or frightened into loving anyone. Love just does not come that way. So what are we to do with our Lord’s command to love God and our neighbour? To find our way out of the shadows and into the cheerful sunlight we need only to know that there are two kinds of love: the love of feeling and the love of willing. The one lies in the emotions, the other in the will. Over the one we may have little control. It comes and goes, rises and falls, flares up and disappears as it chooses, and changes from hot to warm to cool and back to warm again very much as does the weather. Such love was not in the mind of Christ when He told His people to love God and each other. As well command a butterfly to light on our shoulder as to attempt to command this whimsical kind of affection to visit our hearts. The love the Bible enjoins is not the love of feeling; it is the love of willing, the willed tendency of the heart. (For these two happy phrases I am indebted to another, a master of the inner life whose pen was only a short time ago stilled by death.) God never intended that such a being as man should be the plaything of his feelings. The emotional life is a proper and noble part of the total personality, but it is, by its very nature, of secondary importance. Religion lies in the will, and so does righteousness. The only good that God recognises is a willed good; the only valid holiness is a willed holiness.It should be a cheering thought that before God every man is what he wills to be. The first requirement in conversion is a rectified will. “If any man will,” says our Lord, and leaves it there. To meet the requirements of love toward God the soul need but will to love and the miracle begins to blossom like the budding of Aaron’s rod. The will is the automatic pilot that keeps the soul on course. “Flying is easy,” said a friend who flies his own plane. “Just take her up, point her in the direction you want her to go and set the pilot. After that she will fly herself.” While we must not press the figure too far, it is yet blessedly true that the will, not the feelings, determines moral direction. The root of all evil in human nature is the corruption of the will. The thoughts and intents of the heart are wrong and as a consequence the whole life is wrong. Repentance is primarily a change of moral purpose, a sudden and often violent reversal of the soul’s direction. The prodigal son took his first step upward from the pigsty when he said, “I will arise and go to my father.” As he had once willed to leave his father’s house, now he willed to return. His subsequent action proved his expressed purpose to be sincere. He did return. Someone may infer from the above that we are ruling out the joy of the Lord as a valid part of the Christian life. While no one who reads these columns regularly would be likely to draw such an erroneous conclusion, a chance reader might be led astray; a further word of explanation is therefore indicated. To love God with all our heart we must first of all will to do so. We should repent our lack of love and determine from this moment on to make God the object of our devotion. We should set our affections on things above and aim our hearts toward Christ and heavenly things. We should read the Scriptures devotionally every day and prayerfully obey them, always firmly willing to love God with all our heart and our neighbour as ourself. If we do these things we may be sure that we shall experience a wonderful change in our whole inward life. We shall soon find to our great delight that our feelings are becoming less erratic and are beginning to move in the direction of the “willed tendency of the heart.” Our emotions will become disciplined and directed. We shall begin to taste the “piercing sweetness” of the love of Christ. Our religious affection will begin to mount evenly on steady wings instead of flitting about idly without purpose or intelligent direction. The whole life, like a delicate instrument, will be tuned to sing the praises of Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. But first of all we must will, for the will is master of the heart.


The Freedom of the Will (A.W. TOZER)

July 2, 2018

The Freedom of the Will (A.W. TOZER)

 

IT IS INHERENT IN THE NATURE OF MAN that his will must be free. Made in the image of God who is completely free, man

must enjoy a measure of freedom. This enables him to select his companions for this world and the next; it enables him to

yield his soul to whom he will, to give allegiance to God or the devil, to remain a sinner or become a saint.

And God respects this freedom. God once saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. To

find fault with the smallest thing God has made is to find fault with its Maker. It is a false humility that would lament that

God wrought but imperfectly when He made man in His own image. Sin excepted, there is nothing in human nature to

apologize for. This was confirmed forever when the Eternal Son became permanently incarnated in human flesh.

So highly does God regard His handiwork that He will not for any reason violate it. For God to override man’s

freedom and force him to act contrary to his own will would be to make a mockery of the image of God in man. This God

will never do.

Our Lord Jesus looked after the rich young ruler as he walked away, but He did not follow him or attempt to

coerce him. The dignity of the young man’s humanity forbade that his choices should be made for him by another. To

remain a man he must make his own moral choices; and Christ knew this and permitted him to go his own chosen way. If

his human choice took him at last to hell, at least he went there a man; and it is better for the moral universe that he should

do so than that he should be jockeyed to a heaven he did not choose, a soulless, willess automaton.

God will take nine steps toward us, but He will not take the tenth. He will incline us to repent, but He cannot do

our repenting for us. It is of the essence of repentance that it can only be done by the one who committed the act to be

repented of. God can wait on the sinning man; He can withhold judgment; He can exercise long-suffering to the point

where He appears “lax” in His judicial administration; but He cannot force a man to repent. To do this would be to violate

the man’s freedom and void the gift God originally bestowed upon him.

Where there is no freedom of choice there can be neither sin nor righteousness, because it is of the nature of both

that they be voluntary. However good an act may be, it is not good if it is imposed from without. The act of imposition

destroys the moral content of the act and renders it null and void.

For an act to be sinful the quality of voluntariness must also be present. Sin is the voluntary commission of an act

known to be contrary to the will of God. Where there is no moral knowledge or where there is no voluntary choice, the act

is not sinful; it cannot be, for sin is the transgression of the law and transgression must be voluntary.

Lucifer became Satan when he made his fateful choice: “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be

like the most High.” Clearly here was a choice made against light. Both knowledge and will were present in the act.

Conversely, Christ revealed His holiness when He cried in His agony, “Not my will, but thine, be done.” Here was a

deliberate choice made with the full knowledge of the consequences. Here two wills were in temporary conflict, the lower

will of the Man who was God and the higher will of the God who was Man, and the higher will prevailed. Here also was

seen in glaring contrast the enormous difference between Christ and Satan; and that difference divides saint from sinner

and heaven from hell.

But someone may ask, “When we pray ‘Not my will, but Thine be done,’ are we not voiding our will and refusing

to exercise the very power of choice which is part of the image of God in us?” The answer to that question is a flat No, but

the whole thing deserves further explanation.

No act that is done voluntarily is an abrogation of the freedom of will. If a man chooses the will of God he is not

denying but exercising his right of choice. What he is doing is admitting that he is not good enough to desire the highest

choice nor is he wise enough to make it, and he is for that reason asking Another who is both wise and good to make his

choice for him. And for fallen man this is the ultimate use he should make of his freedom of will.

Tennyson saw this and wrote of Christ,

Thou seemest human and divine,

The highest, holiest manhood, Thou;

Our wills are ours, we know not how;

Our wills are ours, to make them Thine.

There is a lot of sound doctrine in these words—” Our wills are ours, to make them Thine.” The secret of

saintliness is not the destruction of the will but the submergence of it in the will of God.

The true saint is one who acknowledges that he possesses from God the gift of freedom. He knows that he will

never be cudgled into obedience nor wheedled like a petulant child into doing the will of God; he knows that these

methods are unworthy both of God and of his own soul. He knows he is free to make any choice he will, and with that

knowledge he chooses forever the blessed will of God.


The Great God of Entertainment

January 29, 2018
The Great God of Entertainment
A German philosopher many years ago said something to the effect that the more a man has in his own heart the less he will require from the outside; excessive need for support from without is proof of the bankruptcy of the inner man.
If this is true (and I believe it is) then the present inordinate attachment to every form of entertainment is evidence that the inner life of modem man is in serious decline. The average man has no central core of moral assurance, no spring within his own breast, no inner strength to place him above the need for repeated psychological shots to give him the courage to go on living. He has become a parasite on the world, drawing his life from his environment unable to live a day apart from the stimulation which society affords him.
Sohleiermacher held that the feeling of dependence lies at the root of all religious worship, and that however high the spiritual life might rise it must always begin with a deep sense of a great need which only God could satisfy. If this sense of need and a feeling of dependence are at the root of natural religion it is not hard to see why the great god Entertainment is so ardently worshiped by so many. For there are millions who cannot live without amusement; life without some form of entertainment for them is simply intolerable; they look forward to the blessed relief afforded by professional entertainers and other forms of psychological narcotics as a dope addict looks to his daily shot of heroin. Without them they could not summon courage to face existence.
No one with common human feeling will object to the simple pleasures of life, nor to such harmless forms of entertainment as may help to relax the nerves and refresh the mind exhausted by toil. Such things if used with discretion may be a blessing along the way. That is one thing. The all-out devotion to entertainment as a major activity for which and by which men live is definitely something else again.
The abuse of a harmless thing is the essence of Sin. The growth of the amusement phase of human life to such fantastic proportions is a portent, a threat to the souls of modern men. It has been built into a multimillion dollar racket with greater power over human minds and human character than any other educational influence on earth. And the ominous thing is that its power is almost exclusively evil, rotting the inner life, crowding out the long eternal thoughts which would fill the souls of men if they were but worthy to entertain them. And the whole thing has grown into a veritable religion which holds its devotees with a strange fascination, and a religion, incidentally, against which it is now dangerous to speak.
For centuries the Church stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what it was – a device for wasting time, a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert attention from moral accountability. For this she got herself abused roundly by the sons of this world. But of late she has become tired of the abuse and has given over the struggle. She appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his powers. So today we have the astonishing spectacle of millions of dollars being poured into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment for the socalled sons of heaven. Religious entertainment is in many places rapidly crowding out the serious things of God. Many churches these days have become little more than poor theatres where fifth -rate “producers” peddle their shoddy wares with the full approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defense of their delinquency. And hardly a man dares raise his voice against it.
The great god Entertainment amuses his devotees mainly by telling them stories. The love of stories, which is a characteristic of childhood, has taken fast hold of the minds of the retarded saints of our day, so much so that not a few persons manage to make a comfortable living by spinning yarns and serving them up in various disguises to church people. What is natural and beautiful in a child may be shocking when it persists into adulthood, and more so when it appears in the sanctuary and seeks to pass for true religion.
Is it not a strange thing and a wonder that, with the shadow of atomic destruction hanging over the world and with the coming of Christ drawing near, the professed followers of the Lord should be giving themselves up to religious amusements? That in an hour when mature saints are so desperately needed vast numbers of believers should revert to spiritual childhood and clamor for religions toys?
“Remember, (I) Lord, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach. The crown Is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim.”
AMEN. AMEN. #AWTOZER

The Old Cross and the New

September 26, 2017
The Old Cross and the New
ALL UNANNOUNCED AND MOSTLY UNDETECTED there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial; the differences, fundamental. From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life, and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique-a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old,but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before. The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam’s proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he takes delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually. The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands;rather,it offers the same thing the world does,only on a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better. The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner anal jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, “Come and assert yourself for Christ.” To the egotist it says, “Come and do your boasting in the Lord.” To the thrill seeker it says, “Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.” The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public. The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross. The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more. The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life. That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die. We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God’s just sentence against him. What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God’s stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die. Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ. To any who may object to this or count it merely a narrow and private view of truth, let me say God has set His hallmark of approval upon this message from Paul’s day to the present. Whether stated in these exact words or not, this has been the content of all preaching that has brought life and power to the world through the centuries. The mystics, the reformers, the revivalists have put their emphasis here, and signs and wonders and mighty operations of the Holy Ghost gave witness to God’s approval. Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the truth? Dare we with our stubby pencils erase the lines of the blueprint or alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power. #AWTOZER

Nabeel Qureshi (1983-2017)

September 16, 2017

Without Jesus, we approach life with the expectation of death. With Jesus, we approach death with the expectation of life.
—Nabeel Qureshi
Today, September 16, our dear brother in Christ Nabeel Qureshi went to be with the Lord following a year-long battle with cancer.  We received this news with deep sadness and yet profound hope that he is finally and fully healed in the presence of his Savior.  
Please join the RZIM team in praying for Nabeel’s wife and daughter, as well as for his parents and extended family.  We know this is Nabeel’s gain, but a tremendous loss for all those who loved him and were impacted by his life and testimony on earth.  
May God bring comfort as we cling to our eternal hope in Jesus Christ. http://bit.ly/2w0xB1P


Watch “Why are you so afraid of subjective moral reasoning?” on YouTube

May 14, 2017


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