The Eternal Undefended
Quite recently I was given a few sets of Bible commentaries from my pastor at my hometown church. Throughout the past year, I have become pretty well-acquainted with the massive sets of commentaries lining the shelves of the library at my school. Being in the Biblical Studies program, I have spent a good amount of time poring over several of these commentaries to aide me in the completion of my assignments. I can remember one time in particular when I was in the library with a friend on a Friday afternoon and I returned to our table with a stack of six different books on the Epistles of John. The expression on her face very closely mirrored my overwhelmed demeanor as I proceeded to pull quotes and type up footnotes on the subtleties of Greek words I had never seen and theological inquiries and parallels I had never even thought of. Despite this somewhat stressful experience with commentaries, it did not take away from my excitement to line the shelves of my own bookcase with the few sets I had been given.
After compiling the sets in canonical order in their new locations on the bookshelf, I noticed a few thinner books that had found their way into the cardboard boxes. A bit worn, I picked through the more interesting titles and came across a couple books by A.W. Tozer. After hearing a bit about the pastor and author from my sister and a few of my friends, I was pretty excited to actually have something to start with. Of the few books left in the boxes once carrying the commentaries, I decided to pick The Knowledge of the Holy as the next book I would read.
In recent months I have really been captivated by trying to understand what I believe to be one of the most amazing attributes of God. While all of His characteristics are of equal importance, I have always had a certain level of intrigue with the subject of God's sovereignty. I have looked thoroughly into my own life and can come up with no possible explanation apart from God's masterful orchestration of the life He has given to me. The fact that I am even able to type the words you are reading is a result of the hand of God living and active in my life. Charles Spurgeon beautifully describes the sovereignty of God,
"There is no attribute more comforting to His children, than that of God's sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials–they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend, than the doctrine of their Master over all creation–the kingship of God over all the works of His own hands–the throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne."
It is God being God.
To attempt to describe the sovereignty of God is an attempt to explain God in His highest and most honored position. At the very core of His attributes, God is Creator, King, Lord, Master, and rightly so, seated upon His Throne.
Although Tozer wrote more than fifty years ago, the messages contained in his books could not be more practical or applicable for the modern day Church. Tozer dedicates The Knowledge of the Holy entirely to the reclamation of a sense of majesty and honor for God, seeking to rebuke what he calls "a low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians." It is for this very reason that Tozer dispels many of the false beliefs found in contemporary Christianity, beliefs formed by the Church's inability to combat "one hundred lesser evils" that infiltrated and deceived the Church. One of the largest and generally accepted lies believed by many in the church detracts from the very sovereignty of God, the very piece of doctrine Spurgeon believes to be held most dear and cherished to the follower of Christ.
For years the Church has deceived itself into thinking that apart from itself, God has no means of getting His glory. The very pinnacle of creation, declaring the Creator to be unfit for the acquiring of His glory. Fallen creation cries out to the very One that put the breath of life in its nostrils, "You are the One that needs us! We are the bringers of Your glory!" How utterly deceived we have become! We have convinced ourselves that we are the sole protectors of God's throne, that through our defense of God and His sovereignty, we are the only fortification that stands between God and His glory and the very Gates of Hell.
We have convinced ourselves that the Throne of God is under siege.
Tozer claims that to limit the Christian life to the protection of God's throne is to "misunderstand everything the Bible would tell us about God" and that "a God who must be defended is one who can help us only while someone is helping Him."
When it all comes down to it, I think many Christians, including myself, need to come to the point where we understand that God does not need our help. Our love for others and our desire to see others saved from their sins and welcomed into the kingdom of God comes not from obligation or duty but an outpouring of the grace and love with which we have been filled by Him. The sharing of the Gospel with nonbelievers is never about our abilities or even our testimonies. It is all about Jesus. Without Jesus, none would have hope and none would have salvation. It is God in His sovereignty alone that saves us.
But does this mean that we are to stop spreading the Gospel and sharing the good news of Christ because God in His sovereignty will decide who receives salvation? To quote the Apostle Paul:
By no means!
A person that has been forever changed by the Gospel cannot help but share the news of the transformation they have undergone through the sacrifice of Christ. God in His sovereignty, chooses us as imperfect people to spread the truth of His Son and to follow His commands is to place God on the throne in our lives.
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." – Galatians 2:20a
We must never live under the assertion that the persecution we experience as Christians is too much for our God to grow His Kingdom. In His sovereignty God is able. Although we may feel down-trodden, outcast, broken, contrite, persecuted, or hopeless, we can have full assurance that our God will come through, as He has always done, does, and will continue to do. God is on His Throne and while there may seem to be a threat against His right to sit upon that Throne, God will never be removed.