When old men sit on the front porch or on a park bench, they reminisce by repeating the same old stories over and over. So pardon me, an old man, if I repeat myself from time to time. Did I ever tell you I love to read books? Often I will be winding my way through more than one book at a time. Perhaps one is too heavy so I take a break to enjoy something lighter.
I discover some, if not most, of my best ideas for a sermon or this blog come from a book. When I do uncover such an insight, I give the author credit where credit is due. For example, A. W. Tozer, a self-taught theologian, has written several books about a heavy subject matter but in a easy to read manner. Every Christian ought to have a few of Tozer’s works* in their personal library such as The Knowledge of The Holy or The Pursuit of God.
To that list I add a small book that I recently discovered. It’s titled, Jesus: The Life and Ministry of God the Son. This book, a collection of insights from Tozer, may be the clearest and most readable theology about Jesus Christ. The chapters are short in length but long in practical insights. Moody Publishers released the book in 2017. Tozer ministered in the early to mid 20th Century, but his words still resonate with everybody who has a passion to know and love God.
If you are one of those persons who assume theology is boring, I believe this book just might change your mind. To help whet your appetite I share a few insights from the book, giving credit to Tozer and the God who saved him and equipped him to become a prophet in our generation.
In chapter five, “The Mystery of the Incarnation,” the author unwrapped insights that tweaked my curiosity and made me stop to cogitate before pushing onward through nine pages of scattered nuggets rich with truth. He wrote, “The living God did not degrade Himself by this condescension. He did not in any sense make Himself to be less than God…. Instead of God degrading Himself when He became man, by the act of incarnation He elevated mankind to Himself.” (p. 50)
Tozer continues, “Then, too, there is another thing that we can know for sure about the acts of God—and that is that God can never back out of His bargain. This union of man with God is effected into perpetuity!”(p. 51) Jesus, the God-Man can never, observes Tozer, “de-incarnate Himself.”
This concept filters through the rest of the book, emphasizing that everything Jesus did while living here on earth and everything He is doing today as the exalted One at the right hand of the Father was done and is being done as the God-Man. When Jesus calmed the storm or healed the leper, He was one of us, but filled and empowered through the Holy Spirit. When He cried “I thirst” and “My God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me,” Jesus was one of us.
On page 113, Tozer quotes 1 Timothy 2:5-6, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (emphasis mine). Tozer continues, “This should be counted as a great victory for the Christian believer in our day, Jesus is a Man and He is enthroned at God’s right hand. That is significant!”
Emphasizing the importance of truth or doctrine Tozer writes, “If we would know the power of truth we must emphasize it. Creedal truth is coal lying inert in the depths of the earth waiting release. Dig it out, shovel it into the combustion chamber of some huge engine, and the mighty energy that lay asleep for centuries will create light and heat that can cause the machinery of a great factory to surge into productive action. The theory of coal never turned a wheel nor warmed a hearth. Power must be released to be made effective.” (p. 114-115)
Yes, Tozer was writing prior to coal falling into environmental disfavor. But his point is clear. Theology, treated as theory, is merely ink on paper. Put it into action in your life, however, and let there be light!
So here is my challenge for 2019: Dig deeply into God’s Word and apply its truths in your life. Develop a reading plan. Add a few books filled with meat and potatoes as comfort food for the troubled heart and as energy for the weary soul.
Let me also encourage you to share here on the Front Porch what you are reading and have found helpful. Perhaps we can encourage one another as we wade through the swamps and trials—as well as the mountain peaks and wide vistas—of the new year.
Perhaps, you will even consider reading God in His Own Image: Loving God for Who He Is not What We Would Like Him to be. Moody Publishers will release the book June 2019. My wife, who is rarely ever wrong, knows the author and recommends the book.
*A. W. Tozer wrote over 25 books. The Holy Spirit used a street preacher in Akron, Ohio to bring Tozer, as a teenager, to faith. The rest is His story.
What I am Reading:
Letters to The Church, Francis Chan
AI Superpowers China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, Kai-Fu Lee