Monday, July 17, 2017

Book Review: The Wisdom of God

The Wisdom of God: Letting His Truth and Goodness Direct Your Steps. A.W. Tozer. Edited by James L. Snyder. 2017. Bethany House. 190 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: For a long time I have been thinking about the subject of this book: wisdom. A better writer than I should write this book, but in the meantime, I will do my best to unburden my heart.

James L. Snyder has had permission from Tozer's estate to publish his "never-before-published" sermons into new books. There have been many in recent years, the Wisdom of God is the newest.

The theme of the book is Wisdom. He addresses what "wisdom" meant in Hebrew thought and doctrine, what "wisdom" meant in Greek thought and how the Greek and Hebrew thought differ from one another, and the connection between Jesus Christ and Wisdom. But perhaps more than all this is his focus on God: Father, Son and Spirit. The focus is on how God has revealed himself to us through His Word. The wise among us will treasure the Bible for what it is: the very revelation of God himself.

The subject is, without a doubt, a challenging one. I don't think many Christians would deny that God is wise. But I also don't think many would claim to understand--define, explain, elaborate on--GOD'S WISDOM. I am just not sure the human mind can grasp the fullness and depth. We can certainly affirm truths about God as revealed in Scripture. We can be humbled by God's wisdom--and the vastness in between our "wisdom" and His. I definitely think it is the height of foolishness to think that we can judge God, that we can judge God's actions, commands, or precepts. I think the more we try to defend God, to better God, to bring out God 2.0, the more foolish we become. I do think people can be deceived into thinking that they have all the answers and know better than God.

I definitely found this to be a thought-provoking read. But it wasn't Tozer at his clearest or best. It would not be the first book by Tozer that I'd recommend. But it certainly was worth reading. Tozer identifies wisdom so closely with God in the three persons of the trinity that a lot of his statements could be taken out of context and misunderstood. In other words, he uses the word "wisdom" in this one in ways that one would normally associate it with God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. For example, he says: the one thing a person needs most in life is wisdom. Or another example, when we saved we were joined with the eternal wisdom that created the universe itself.

Favorite quotes:

  • The purpose of God in redemption is not just to save us from hell. The purpose of God in redemption is to save us unto heaven. To be totally saved, He has to save us from something in order to save us unto something. We are saved from sin, which is the negative side. We are saved unto holiness, which is the positive side. We are saved from hell, but we are saved unto heaven. We are saved from the devil, but we are saved unto Christ. (26)
  • In our day, we have degraded Christianity to be a kind of soft vaccine against hell and sin. We gather people, stick them with a religious needle, and say, "If you just accept Jesus you will not go to hell, you will go heaven when you die. Keep living as well as you can, and when you die you'll go to heaven." Many are preaching what I refer to as a kind of lifeboat salvation, and even the songs today reflect that idea. Certainly, this is an inadequate concept of Christianity. The purpose of God in redeeming men was not to save them from hell only, but to save them to worship, and to allow them to be born into that eternal wisdom that was with the Father, which is synonymous with that eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed unto men. (38)
  • I believe the compelling need of this hour is for Christians to receive from God a baptism of eternal wisdom, the creative wisdom of God. Lacking this, the church is blind. (47)
  • We have ignored the fact that Christianity has a divine source; it is divinely ordained, divinely given, and it cannot be humanly explained. It can only be promoted by divine wisdom and power. (50)
  • Our relationship with God must be based upon God's ways and not our ways. The wisdom that comes from on high, this divine breath that settles down upon us is what enables us to understand God and our relationship to Him. (68)
  • It is a wonderful thing when you come to the conclusion that only God can help. (73)
  • Oh, what a different world it would be, what a different life we would live, what a different service we would render, and what a different death we would die if we were able to see the presence of God in all things all of the time. (93)
  • Does anybody preach on overcoming anymore? Is not this a good evangelical doctrine? Or are we so afraid that we will distract from the glory of grace that we are no longer teaching people that they must overcome? We have to be overcomes, and to do so there must be a fight. (120)
  • Repentance is to seek to become a new person. It is not simply to get peace, for you can have peace and be the same person you were. It is not to get a ticket to heaven. A Christian is not one who has a ticket to heaven as one might have a ticket to a ball game. A Christian is one who has sought to become a new person. He has found himself out and has learned what a scoundrel he is by the illumination of the Holy Spirit. (139)
  • The idea that Christ reaches out to you with a lifeboat and pulls you aboard without changing you is a modern heresy that ought to be set aside until the Lord comes, or until men learn better. (140)
  • The one who says he wants to be saved but has no interest in being changed cannot be saved. To be saved, one must care about being like Christ. He will be anxious to be free from sin and alive unto God. (141)
  • To be repentant means to come to Christ self-accusing and without defense. (142)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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