In the beginning God created the baryonic universe.

What We Think of Ourselves Is Important.

THE MAN WHO IS SERIOUSLY CONVINCED that he deserves to go to hell is not likely to go there, while the man who believes that he is worthy of heaven will certainly never enter that blessed place.

I use the word“seriously” to accent true conviction and to distinguish it from mere nominal belief.

It is possible to go through life believing that we believe, while actually having no conviction more vital than a conventional creed inherited from our ancestors or picked up from the general religious notions current in our social circle. If this creed requires that we admit our own depravity we do so and feel proud of our fidelity to the Christian faith. But from the way we love, praise and pamper ourselves it is plain enough that we do not consider ourselves worthy of damnation.

A revealing proof of this is seen in the squeamish way religious writers use words. An amusing example is found in a cautious editorial change made in the song“The Comforter Has Come.” One stanza reads:

“O boundless love divine!

How shall this tongue of mine,

To wondering mortals tell

The matchless grace divine -

That I, a child of hell,

Should in His image shine!”

That is how Dr. Bottome felt it and that is how he wrote it; and the man who has seen the holiness of God and the pollution of his own heart will sing it as it was written, for his whole inner life will respond to the experience. Even if he cannot find chapter and verse to brand hint a child of hell, His heart indicts him and he eagerly accuses himself before God as fit only for perdition. This is to experience something profounder than theology, more painfully intimate than creed, and while bitter and harsh it is true to the person’s Spirit illuminated view of oneself. In so confessing, the enlightened heart is being faithful to the terrible fact while it is singing its own condemnation. This I believe is greatly pleasing to God.

It is, I repeat, amusing if somewhat distressing to come upon an editorial change in this song, which was made obviously in the interest of correct theology, but is once removed from reality and twice removed from true moral feeling. In one hymnal it is made to read,

“That I a child of SIN

Should in His image shine!”

The fastidious song cobbler who made that alteration simply could not think of himself as ever having been a“child of hell.” A finicky choice of words sometimes tells us more about a person than the person knows about himself.

This one instance, if isolated in Christian literature, ought not be too significant, but when this kind of thing occurs everywhere as thick as dandelions in a meadow it becomes highly significant indeed. The mincing religious prudery heard in the average pulpit is all a part of this same thing — are unwillingness to admit the depths of our inner depravity. We do not actually assent to God’s judgement of us except as we hold it as a superficial creed. When the pressure is on we back out. A child of sin? Maybe. A child of hell? No.

Our Lord – told of two men who appeared before God in prayer, a Pharisee who recited his virtues and a publican who beat on his breast and pleaded for mercy. The first was rejected, the other justified.

We manage to live with that story in some degree of comfort only by keeping it at full arm’s length and never permitting it to catch hold of our conscience. These two people are long ago dead and their story has become it little religious classic. We are different, and how can anything so remote apply to us? So we reason on a level only slightly above our unconscious, and draw what comfort we can from the vagueness and remoteness of it all.

But why should we not face up to it? The truth is that this happened not a long while ago, but yesterday, this morning; not far-away, but here where some of us last knelt to pray. These two people are not dead, but alive, and are found in the local church, at the missionary convention and the deeper life conference here, now, today.

All people live at last by their secret philosophy as an airplane flies on its electric beam. It is the profound conviction that we are wholly unworthy of future blessedness, that, we are indeed by nature fitted only for destruction, that leads to true repentance. The person who inwardly believes that lie is too good to perish will certainly perish unless experiences a radical change of heart.

The poor quality of Christian that grows out of our modern evangelistic meeting may be accounted for by the absence of real repentance accompanying the initial spiritual experience of the converts. And the absence of repentance is the result of an inadequate view of sin and sinfulness held by those who present themselves in the inquiry room.

“No fears, no grace,” said Bunyan. “Though there is not always grace where there is fear of hell, yet, to be sure, there is no grace where there is no fear of God.” And again, “I care not at all for that profession which begins not in heaviness of mind …. For the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and they that lack the beginning have neither middle nor end.”

From "The Dwelling Place" by Dr. A. W. Tozer. Lightly updated to the language of the 21st century by D. N. Pham. (c) 2012.

CreationWord.org
Reach for the Calling Creator

The Dwelling Place - A.W. Tozer

The Essense of Being

The Call of Christ

What We Think of Ourselves Is Important

The Once-born and the Twice-born

On the Origin and Nature of Things

Why People Find the Bible Difficult

Faith: The Misunderstood Doctrine

True Religion IS Not Feeling but Willing

How to Make Spiritual Progress

The Old Cross and the New

There Is No Wisdom in Sin

Three Degrees of Religious Knowledge

The Sanctification of the Secular

God Must Be Loved for Himself

True Faith Is Active, Not Passive

On Taking Too Much for Granted

The Cure for a Fretful Spirit

Boasting or Belittling

The Communion of Saints

Temperament in the Christian Life

Does God Always Answer Prayer?

ON THE BOOK SHELF

Knowledge of the Holy - A.W. Tozer

The Pursuit of God - A.W. Tozer

The Dwelling Place - A.W. Tozer

Plumber of Lisburn - A.W. Tozer

Spiritual Power Vows - A.W. Tozer

Root of the Righteous - A.W. Tozer

Essays - A.W. Tozer

Fourfold Gospel - A.B. Simpson

Gospel of Healing - A.B. Simpson

Life of A.B. Simpson - C&MA

Mark Gospel 1/4 - A MacLaren

Mark Gospel 2/4 - A MacLaren

Mark Gospel 3/4 - A MacLaren

Mark Gospel 4/4 - A MacLaren

Gospel of St. John - F.D. Maurice

To the Romans - R.V. Foster

To the Romans, vol I - C. Gore

To the Corinthians - J.S. Riggs

To the Philippians - R. Rainy

To the Galatians - Luther

To the Hebrews - H.C.G. Moule

To the Hebrews - T.C. Edwards

Wisdom of James - A.T. Robertson

Epistles of John 1/2 - W. Alexander

Epistles of John 2/2 - W. Alexander

Kingdom of Heaven - E. Burbidge

Deuteronomy - C.H. Mackintosh

Religion and Theology - J. Tulloch

The Being of God - St Anselm

The Existence of God - St Anselm

God Became Man - St Anselm

The Other Wise Man - H. Van Dyke

First Christmas Tree - H. Van Dyke

A Christmas Carol - C Dickens

Thoughts on the Universe

Computer Notes

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