Nov 18, 2008

Tozer Made Easy - Part 3 of 10

by Dan Grubbs

The Pursuit of God, Chapter Three: Removing the Veil

Tozer begins his third chapter with one of the most famous quotes in the history of man. He does this to ensure that there is no ambiguity about what he believes is the purpose of created man. Tozer quotes Augustine, “Thou has formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”

He explains this as the origin of our kind because it’s critical to our understanding of our relationship with God. He echoes it in his own words, “God made us for Himself: that is the only explanation that satisfies the heart of a thinking man, whatever his wild reason may say.”

All this is preamble to the point that we are created to be in a right relationship with God, but are guilty of sin. Our “foul revolt” broke this communion and man now lives alone outside of the “manifest Presence” of our heavenly Father. Or more metaphorically, a veil has been erected between us and our Lord because of our sin.

Tozer explains that the redemptive work of God is to “undo the tragic effects of that foul revolt and bring us back again into right and eternal relationship with Himself.”
Why is the veil there?

The veil was what separated the inner chamber of the tabernacle from the holy of holies where the very Presence of God above the mercy seat atop the arc of the covenant. The children of Israel did not have direct access to the holy of holies. They annually sent in the high priest to seek the atonement of his own sins and those of Israel from God. According to Tozer, this was the “beating heart of the Levitical order.” He helps us understand our condition by using the holy of holies and the separating veil and the Flame of the Presence of God as an identical description for us.

He writes, “At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His Presence.”

Tozer encourages us to remove the veil so that we can know of His Presence not only intellectually, but, more importantly in our hearts, leading to a personal relationship with the Creator.

What will we find when we push through the veil? Tozer answers that God will uncover Himself in “ravishing fullness to the humble of soul and the pure in heart.”

It’s because we don’t push through as believers, that Tozer says we are at a serious loss in the world. “The world is perishing for a lack of the knowledge of God, and the church is famishing for want of His Presence.”

Yes, God is omnipresent. People can understand that intellectually. But, it’s the manifast Presence that we have fled like Adam or Peter after their great sins. However, it is the manifast Presence for which we should seek. This is a spiritual communion — man can know Him really in a “deep spirit” where his “fire must glow or his love is not the true love of God.”

The reason for pushing through

There is something expected when we remove the veil between ourselves and God. It is that communion with a God “so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is.”

This is the love of God to which Tozer refers. Our relationship with God is an ever overflowing satisfaction of our nature to the point of our hearts being fit to break with love for our God. He writes that it is believers with such breaking hearts who have looked with open eye and lived within the Presence.

The point here is that this level of access and relationship with God is available to us. Every believer has the same access to the Presence as the high priests did and the prophet who reports what he sees.

Sadly, Tozer writes that the church is at a loss for want of those who have removed the veil and entered into the company of the Creator. He tells us that “the church waits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the veil and has gazed with an inward eye upon the Wonder that is God. And yet, thus to penetrate, to push in sensitive living experience in the holy Presence, is a privilege open to every child of God.”

Do we have access today?

As Tozer has already expressed, the joyous report is that every believer has access to God in the holy of holies. It was through the work of Christ on Calvary. Now there is nothing to keep us from His Presence. Nothing except our pride and sinful nature. Tozer asks, “Why do we tarry without? Why do we consent to abide all of our days just outside the holy of holies and never enter at all to look upon God?”

Scripture records for us that at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, the actual veil in the temple in Jerusalem was torn completely in two, forever revealing the holy of holies to all men. Why did God do this? Was it just to send a message to the Sanhedrin or the Pharisees? No, it is a clear message to all men, forever, that Christ has opened the way to the Father because of His shed blood, the atonement secured forever.

But why do we not all take this free gift from God? Tozer explains that it’s more than a cold heart, it is a veil over our own hearts. It’s a veil we must all tear from ourselves so that we do not hide the face of God from our own hearts. Tozer explains this as the veil of the self-life that hides our hearts from the joyous life that could be ours should we remove the veil once and for all. “Self is the opaque veil that hides the face of God from us. It can be removed only in spiritual experience, never by mere instruction.”

To remove this veil will be painful as it is part of our fleshly life. It will tear living spiritual tissue to rend it from our hearts. But, as Tozer writes, “Our part is to yield and trust. We must confess, forsake, repudiate the selflife, and then reckon it crucified.”

When this is done, like labor pains, it will be a faint memory. “After that is resurrection glory and power, and the pain is forgotten for joy that the veil is taken away and we have entered, in actual spiritual experience, the Presence of the living God.”

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