Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Pursuit of God: Removing the Veil

Chapter 3 was chock full of some very profound concepts.
"God formed us for Himself. The Shorter Catechism "Agreed upon by the Reverend Assembly of Divines at Westminster," as the old New England Primer has it, asks the ancient questions what and why and answers them in one short sentence hardly matched in any uninspired work. "Question: What is the chief end of man? Answer: Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." With this agree the four and twenty elders who fall on their faces to worship Him that liveth forever and ever, saying, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelations 4:11)" (Pg. 32)
Technically, this is less a quote of Tozer and more a quote of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, but it is good stuff all the same. It's great reminder of Dan Franklin's thorough message (Sept 29 2007), "The Two Competing Passions", on the same issue.

Though, it is the following (lengthy) excerpt (completely worth every word) that was most revealing.
"It is not too mysterious, this opaque veil, nor is it hard to identify. We have but to look into our own hearts and we shall see it there, sewn and patched and repaired it may be, but there nevertheless, and enemy to our lives and an effective block to our spiritual progress...

It is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their subtlety and their power. To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love, and a host of others like them*. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them.... (Pg. 42)
*I would even venture to add "self-rights" and "self-gratification" to this list - can you think of more?
"One should suppose that proper instruction in the doctrines of man's depravity and the necessity for justification through the righteousness of Christ alone would deliver us from the power of the self-sins, but it does not work that way. Self can live unrebuked at the very altar. It can watch the bleeding Victim die and not be in the least affected by what it sees. It can fight for the faith of the reformers and preach eloquently the creed of salvation by grace and gain strength by its efforts. To tell the truth, it seems actually to feed upon orthodoxy and is more at home in a Bible conference than in a tavern. Our very state of longing after God may afford it an excellent condition under which to thrive and grow.

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. We may as well try to instruct leprosy out of our system. There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgement. We must prepare ourselves for an ordeal of suffering in some measure like that through which our Saviour passed when He suffered under Pontius Pilate. (Page 42-43)"
I challenge you to define this veil of self-sins in your own life that hide the face of God. It is only after we have completely abandoned ourself, our own identity, that Jesus can in ever increasing amounts be identified in us.

Chapter 1: Following Hard After God
Chapter 2: The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing
Chapter 3: Removing the Veil
Chapter 4: Apprehending God
Chapter 5: The Universal Presence
Chapter 8: Restoring the Creator-Creation Relation

1 comment:

Ashley Weis said...

Hm... Interesting and true.

What book is this?