Nov 29, 2008

Tozer Made Easy - Part 10 of 10

by Dan Grubbs

The Pursuit of God - Chapter 10: "The sacrament of living"

Editor's note: If you’ve been following along, you know that the editor has taken each chapter of the book The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer and published here a short study in the form of articles. Chapter 10 is the final installment of this series. We hope you have found the series helpful to you in your walk with Christ.

Basing his last chapter on the doctrine found in 1 Cor. 10:31, Tozer ends his book on a triumphal note. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” His main point for us to understand is that we cannot have internal peace if we divide our lives into the sacred and the secular.

This false division of life causes inner turmoil and tends “to break up so that we live a divided instead of unified life.”

Merging two worlds

We live in two worlds simultaneously, the fleshly or natural and the spiritual. When we keep them separate, we “are uneasy most of the time ... with a feeling of deep frustration.” This is not the light yoke that Christ promises the repentant believer. But, we subject ourselves to this by trying “to walk a tight rope between two kingdoms and [we] find no peace in either.”

Tozer’s claim is that this dualistic life is not only unhealthy physically and spiritually, it is “wholly unnecessary.” He teaches that a divided life between the sacred and the secular is not founded in the New Testament. Christ Himself is the example, saying He does all things to please the Father.

This example was echoed by Paul who teaches us that we are to do all things to the glory of God. This isn’t just platitudes, this is the genuine way of the Christian walk. Tozer explains it this way, “It opens before us the possibility of making every act of our lives contribute to the glory of God.”

All things can glorify God

It begs the question, can eating and drinking and the banal things of life be an act of reference? Tozer, as well as the Apostle Paul, teaches that this is the case. “It may be said that every act of life is or can be as truly sacred as prayer or baptism or the Lord’s Supper.

Many may still disagree with this notion. However our author wrote that if we are saved and give ourselves wholly to God, all acts are holy. “By one act of consecration of our total selves to God we can make every subsequent act express that consecration.”

As Christians, we must not make a mental or actual division between the sacred and the secular or we will live divided lives. Once we get past this dilemma, the reality of living in a unified manner for Christ, it will “condition the complexion of our thoughts.”

Our morning meditations must include this training. We must recall to our mind frequently that our daily acts can be acts of worship and can give glory to God. “The knowledge that we are all God’s, that He has received all and rejected nothing, will unify our inner lives and make everything sacred to us.”

Disciplined sacramental living

Tozer explains that the old way of thinking will want to creep back into our lives because Satan doesn’t want the whole of our lives to be about God. He writes, “It will take intelligent thought and a great deal of reverent prayer to escape completely from the sacred-secular psychology.”

Offer every thing we do to God. He will accept them. Remind God in our time of private communion that our intention is to make all our activities for His glory. Or in Tozer’s wonderful style, “Let us practice the fine art of making every work a priestly ministration.”

A contributing factor to our erroneous belief that we keep things separate is the fact that many Christians believe in sacred places or things.

“It is little short of astonishing that we can read the New Testament and still believe in the inherent sacredness of places as distinguished from other places.” Tozer laments that this false doctrine has been allowed to be perpetuated for centuries.

An omnipresent spirit of worship

When Christ was crucified, many things took place. Not the least of which was the total access of the true believer to God. No longer was God limited to the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. The veil before the Holy of Holies was torn in two. Remember Christ’s own words, “Neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.” Worshipping God is a spiritual matter, not a matter of place or time or things.

Many denominations have let the sacredness of things creep back into the liberty we enjoy through Christ’s work. And it was from this “bondage reformers and puritans and mystics have labored to free us.”

Tozer also cautions us to understand that the concept of sacramental living doesn’t mean that all things are equal or of equal importance in this world or the next. “One act of a good man’s life may differ widely from another in importance.” He uses the example of Paul’s work as a tentmaker as an example. “Paul’s sewing of tents was not equal to his writing of an epistle to the Romans, but both were accepted of God.”

Why we act is most important

Driving home his point with his best shot, Tozer continues to explain, “It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it,” (emphasis added). Lay people should never consider what they do as inferior to that of the act of a preached sermon. It is the motive of the act that is the key to it being a sacred act done for God’s glory or not.

A spiritual condition is required. Tozer tells us that we must, “Sanctify the Lord God in [our] heart.” Upon doing so, except for our sins, nothing we will ever do will be secular. One who lives this way is pleasing to God. “All he does is good and acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For such a man, living itself will be sacramental and the whole world a sanctuary.”

The Pursuit of God along with The Knowledge of the Holy are two of Tozer’s most popular and impactful writings. I strongly encourage everyone to read and re-read these important, yet short, books.

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