A.W.Tozer – Isus, căpetenia credinţei noastre

Trebuie să mărturisim că pretutindeni în jurul nostru există un fel dureros de necredinţă neruşinată. Din cauză că nu au nici o teamă de Dumnezeu, bărbaţii şi femeile din generaţia noastră iau foarte puţin aminte la semnalele de avertizare venite de la Dumnezeu.

Sper să nu aud niciodată vreun creştin lăudându-se chiar şi numai puţin cu lucrurile la care el sau ea a renunţat şi cât de mult l-a costat sau a costat-o răspunsul la chemarea lui Dumnezeu. Orice am fost sau orice abilităţi pe care le-am avut au fost ca nişte nimicuri în comparaţie cu lucrul în care ne-a chemat Dumnezeu în calitate de copii credincioşi ai Săi.

De ce ne este atât de greu în bisericile noastre să fim sinceri în privinţa vieţii noastre şi a condiţiei noastre de păcătoşi înstrăinaţi de Dumnezeu? Noi nu am renunţat la nimic când Dumnezeu, în îndurarea şi dragostea Sa, ne-a chemat la Sine şi în binecuvântările harului, ale iertării şi ale păcii.

Nu doar o dată am fost întrebat la ce am renunţat când m-am convertit şi am devenit un copil credincios al lui Dumnezeu. Eram tânăr şi mi-aduc bine aminte că am renunţat la fabrica de cauciuc fierbinte şi mirositoare. Făceam cauciucuri pentru un salariu pe oră şi am renunţat la aceasta ca să urmez chemarea lui Hristos în slujba şi lucrarea creştină. Ca tânăr, mi-era frică de viaţă şi mi-era frică de moarte am renunţat la acestea. Eram nefericit, ursuz şi neîmplinit am renunţat la acestea. Aveam ambiţii egoiste, pământeşti şi materiale pe care nu le-aş fi putut realiza niciodată şi la acestea am renunţat. Aceasta formează schiţa lucrurilor fără valoare la care am renunţat. Şi am descoperit curând că în Isus Hristos, Dumnezeu îmi dăduse tot ce era valoros.

Credinţa nu se bazează pe făgăduinţe. Credinţa se bazează pe caracter. Credinţa trebuie să se bazeze pe încrederea în Acela care face promisiunile. Da, trebuie să fim preocupaţi cu Persoana şi caracterul lui Dumnezeu, şi nu doar cu făgăduinţele Lui. Prin intermediul promisiunilor, aflăm ce ne-a lăsat Dumnezeu ca moştenire, aflăm ce putem cere ca fiind moştenirea noastră, aflăm cum trebuie să ne rugăm. Dar credinţa în sine trebuie să se bazeze pe caracterul Dumnezeului nostru.

Credinţa în Dumnezeu trebuie manifestată, nu definită. Exact aşa cum Biserica lui Dumnezeu manifestă dragostea creştinească, tot aşa, această manifestare a credinţei evlavioase, umile este idealul lui Dumnezeu pentru Biserica Sa.

Dacă eşti creştin şi te simţi confortabil, „acasă” în Chicago, sau în Toronto, în Iowa sau Alberta sau la orice altă adresă de pe planeta pământului semnele sunt evidente că eşti în necaz spiritual.

Ecuaţia spirituală sună cam aşa: cu cât este mai mare mulţumirea ta cu împrejurările zilnice din această lume, cu atât este mai mare dezertarea ta din rândurile pelerinilor lui Dumnezeu, în drum spre o cetate al cărei arhitect şi ziditor este Dumnezeu Însuşi!

Necredinţa este totdeauna păcătoasă din cauză că implică o stare imorală a inimii.

Cred că majoritatea oamenilor sunt mai mândri de abilitatea lor de a raţiona decât de orice altă capacitate. Dar ei nici măcar nu bănuiesc că nimic altceva din ceea ce au nu este atât de mic precum puterea lor de a raţiona.

Enoh are o mustrare spirituală pentru generaţia lui. El a respins şiretlicurile şi ispitele diavolului. El s-a hotărât în sinea lui: „Eu voi umbla cu Dumnezeu prin credinţă chiar dacă lucrul acesta înseamnă că trebuie să fiu detaşat de generaţia mea. Eşti tu cu adevărat detaşat de generaţia ta pentru că te împotriveşti diavolului şi umbli în plinătatea Duhului Sfânt? Sunt eu? Aceasta este o întrebare foarte personală şi nu îndrăznim să răspundem la ea în numele altcuiva. Generaţia noastră din acest sistem al lumii susţine că nu există nici un diavol personal, nici un duşman al sufletelor noastre. Însă, în tot timpul acesta, Satan este ocupat. El foloseşte o tactică străveche, care are succes în cazul multor oameni. El îi asigură în multe feluri că nu este nici o urgenţă în chestiunile ce ţin de credinţă. „Amână-ţi deciziile până la un moment mai favorabil”, spune Satan. „Nu lua nici o decizie până când situaţia ta nu devine mai uşoară!” Diavolul mizează pe faptul că bărbaţii şi femeile nu vor lua niciodată aminte la avertismentul lui Dumnezeu că „acum este vremea potrivită” (2Corinteni 6:2). „Amână-ţi decizia până când vei simţi că eşti pregătit.” Acesta este sfatul diavolului pentru aceia care sunt pierduţi. Drept rezultat, milioane de oameni au aşteptat. Şi aşteptând, nu au mers niciodată la Dumnezeu în pocăinţă şi credinţă.

Dacă suntem satisfăcuţi să ne conformăm şi să fim nişte victime slabe în mijlocul păcatelor generaţiei noastre, vom muri împreună cu generaţia noastră. Există o alternativă. Dacă ne ridicăm prin credinţă deasupra generaţiei noastre, noi, asemenea lui Enoh, ne vom dovedi a fi o binecuvântare pentru aceia care vor veni!

A.W.Tozer on John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word… (a must read!)

John 1:1

The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

An intelligent plain man, untaught in the truths of Christianity, coming upon this text, would likely conclude that John meant to teach that it is the nature of God to speak, to communicate His thoughts to others. And he would be right. A word is a medium by which thoughts are expressed, and the application of the term to the Eternal Son leads us to believe that self-expression is inherent in the Godhead, that God is forever seeking to speak Himself out to His creation. The whole Bible supports the idea. God is speaking. Not God spoke, but God is speaking. He is by His nature continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking Voice.

One of the great realities with which we have to deal is the Voice of God in His world. The briefest and only satisfying cosmogony is this: “He spake and it was done.” The why of natural law is the living Voice of God immanent in His creation. And this word of God which brought all worlds into being cannot be understood to mean the Bible, for it is not a written or printed word at all, but the expression of the will of God spoken into the structure of all things. This word of God is the breath of God filling the world with living potentiality. The Voice of God is the most powerful force in nature, indeed the only force in nature, for all energy is here only because the power-filled Word is being spoken.

The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The life is in the speaking words. God’s word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God’s word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book.

We take a low and primitive view of things when we conceive of God at the creation coming into physical contact with things, shaping and fitting and building like a carpenter. The Bible teaches otherwise: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. . . . For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.” Again we must remember that God is referring here not to His written Word, but to His speaking Voice. His world-filling Voice is meant, that Voice which antedates the Bible by uncounted centuries, that Voice which has not been silent since the dawn of creation, but is sounding still throughout the full far reaches of the universe.

The Word of God is quick and powerful. In the beginning He spoke to nothing, and it became something. Chaos heard it and became order; darkness heard it and became light. “And God said — and it was so.” These twin phrases, as cause and effect, occur throughout the Genesis story of the creation. The said accounts for the so. The so is the said put into the Continuous present.

That God is here and that He is speaking — these truths are back of all other Bible truths; without them there could be no revelation at all. God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a Book and lives in His spoken words, constantly speaking His words and causing the power of them to persist across the years. God breathed on clay and it became a man; He breathes on men and they become clay. “Return ye children of men,” was the word spoken at the Fall by which God decreed the death of every man, and no added word has He needed to speak. The sad procession of mankind across the face of the earth from birth to the grave is proof that His original Word was enough.

We have not given sufficient attention to that deep utterance in the Book of John, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Shift the punctuation around as we will and the truth is still there: the Word of God affects the hearts of all men as light in the soul. In the hearts of all men the light shines, the Word sounds, and there is no escaping them. Something like this would of necessity be so if God is alive and in His world. And John says that it is so. Even those persons who have never heard of the Bible have still been preached to with sufficient clarity to remove every excuse from their hearts forever. “Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing Witness, and their thoughts the mean while either accusing or else excusing one another.” “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

This universal Voice of God was by the ancient Hebrews often called Wisdom, and was said to be everywhere sounding and searching throughout the earth, seeking some response from the Sons of men. The eighth chapter of the Book of Proverbs begins, “Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?” The writer then pictures wisdom as a beautiful woman standing “in the top of the high places, by the way in the places of the paths.” She sounds her voice from every quarter so that no one may miss hearing it. “Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men.” Then she pleads for the simple and the foolish to give ear to her words. It is spiritual response for which this Wisdom of God is pleading, a response which she has always sought and is but rarely able to secure. The tragedy is that our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing, and we have trained our ears not to hear.

This universal Voice has ever sounded, and it has often troubled men even when they did not understand the source of their fears. Could it be that this Voice distilling like a living mist upon the hearts of men has been the undiscovered cause of the troubled conscience and the longing for immortality confessed by millions since the dawn of recorded history? We need not fear to face up to this. The speaking Voice is a fact. How men have reacted to it is for any observer to note.

When God spoke out of heaven to our Lord, self-centered men who heard it explained it by natural causes: they said, “It thundered.” This habit of explaining the Voice by appeals to natural law is at the very root of modern science. In the living breathing cosmos there is a mysterious Something, too wonderful, too awful for any mind to understand. The believing man does not claim to understand. He falls to his knees and whispers, “God.” The man of earth kneels also, but not to worship. He kneels to examine, to search, to find the cause and the how of things. Just now we happen to be living in a secular age. Our thought habits are those of the scientist, not those of the worshipper. We are more likely to explain than to adore. “It thundered,” we exclaim, and go our earthly way. But still the Voice sounds and searches. The order and life of the world depend upon that Voice, but men are mostly too busy or too stubborn to give attention.

Every one of us has had experiences which we have not been able to explain: a sudden sense of loneliness, or a feeling of wonder or awe in the face of the universal vastness. Or we have had a fleeting visitation of light like an illumination from some other sun, giving us in a quick flash an assurance that we are from another world, that our origins are divine. What we saw there, or felt, or heard, may have been contrary to all that we had been taught in the schools and at wide variance with all our former beliefs and opinions. We were forced to suspend our acquired doubts while, for a moment, the clouds were rolled back and we saw and heard for ourselves. Explain such things as we will, I think we have not been fair to the facts until we allow at least the possibility that such experiences may arise from the Presence of God in the world and His persistent effort to communicate with mankind. Let us not dismiss such a hypothesis too flippantly.

It is my own belief (and here I shall not feel bad if no one follows me) that every good and beautiful thing which man has produced in the world has been the result of his faulty and sin-blocked response to the creative Voice sounding over the earth. The moral philosophers who dreamed their high dreams of virtue, the religious thinkers who speculated about God and immortality, the poets and artists who created out of common stuff pure and lasting beauty: how can we explain them? It is not enough to say simply, “It was genius.” What then is genius? Could it be that a genius is a man haunted by the speaking Voice, laboring and striving like one possessed to achieve ends which he only vaguely understands? That the great man may have missed God in his labors, that he may even have spoken or written against God does not destroy the idea I am advancing. God’s redemptive revelation in the Holy Scriptures is necessary to saving faith and peace with God. Faith in a risen Saviour is necessary if the vague stirrings toward immortality are to bring us to restful and satisfying communion with God. To me this is a plausible explanation of all that is best out of Christ. But you can be a good Christian and not accept my thesis.

The Voice of God is a friendly Voice. No one need fear to listen to it unless he has already made up his mind to resist it. The blood of Jesus has covered not only the human race but all creation as well. “And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” We may safely preach a friendly Heaven. The heavens as well as the earth are filled with the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush. The perfect blood of atonement secures this forever.

Whoever will listen will hear the speaking Heaven. This is definitely not the hour when men take kindly to an exhortation to listen, for listening is not today a part of popular religion. We are at the opposite end of the pole from there. Religion has accepted the monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity and bluster make a man dear to God. But we may take heart. To a people caught in the tempest of the last great conflict God says, “Be still, and know that I am God,” and still He says it, as if He means to tell us that our strength and safety lie not in noise but in silence.

It is important that we get still to wait on God. And it is best that we get alone, preferably with our Bible outspread before us. Then if we will we may draw near to God and begin to hear Him speak to us in our hearts. I think for the average person the progression will be something like this: First a sound as of a Presence walking in the garden. Then a voice, more intelligible, but still far from clear. Then the happy moment when the Spirit begins to illuminate the Scriptures, and that which had been only a sound, or at best a voice, now becomes an intelligible word, warm and intimate and clear as the word of a dear friend. Then will come life and light, and best of all, ability to see and rest in and embrace Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord and All.

The Bible will never be a living Book to us until we are convinced that God is articulate in His universe. To jump from a dead, impersonal world to a dogmatic Bible is too much for most people. They may admit that they should accept the Bible as the Word of God, and they may try to think of it as such, but they find it impossible to believe that the words there on the page are actually for them. A man may say, “These words are addressed to me,” and yet in his heart not feel and know that they are. He is the victim of a divided psychology. He tries to think of God as mute everywhere else and vocal only in a book.

I believe that much of our religious unbelief is due to a wrong conception of and a wrong feeling for the Scriptures of Truth. A silent God suddenly began to speak in a book and when the book was finished lapsed back into silence again forever. Now we read the book as the record of what God said when He was for a brief time in a speaking mood. With notions like that in our heads how can we believe? The facts are that God is not silent, has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak. The second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Word. The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God’s continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us put into our familiar human words.

I think a new world will arise out of the religious mists when we approach our Bible with the idea that it is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking. The prophets habitually said, “Thus saith the Lord.” They meant their hearers to understand that God’s speaking is in the continuous present. We may use the past tense properly to indicate that at a certain time a certain word of God was spoken, but a word of God once spoken continues to be spoken, as a child once born continues to be alive, or a world once created continues to exist. And those are but imperfect illustrations, for children die and worlds burn out, but the Word of our God endureth forever.

If you would follow on to know the Lord, come at once to the open Bible expecting it to speak to you. Do not come with the notion that it is a thing which you may push around at your convenience. It is more than a thing; it is a voice, a word, the very Word of the living God.

(via)

Tim Keller – Three Ways with Families

From the Gospel Coalition Site

In Japan, in Western Europe, and in Russia, the birth-rate has fallen precipitously, to below replacement levels. If this does not change, the economic and cultural impact will be very great on those nations. Many have pointed out that interest in child-bearing is lowest in the most secular countries and sectors of society, while it is the highest in the most religious countries. Why is this? One explanation is that more educated people put off child-rearing until later in life and that means fewer children. However, educated religious people have more children than educated secular people, and therefore the socio-economic answer isn’t the most basic answer. I don’t think anyone can be completely sure that they have a handle on this complex phenomenon, but I think it creates an interesting backdrop for the consideration of the unique Christian view of the family.

My European friends have two theories for why their secular neighbors have lost interest in the family. First, there is the sacrifice factor. For the last 30 years, sociologists have documented that secularism fosters individualism. A 2003 Ben Gurion University study found religious communes in Israel did better across the board than secular communes. (Cited in “Darwin’s God”, New York Times Magazine, March 4, 2007.) The reason? The members of secular communes simply were more selfish, particularly the men. Men who went to synagogue regularly were much more willing to sacrifice for the family and the community than men who did not. Despite the new financial incentives to have children that European governments are now offering, many people can’t imagine a happy life with the severe loss of independence that comes with parenthood. As the studies since Robert Bellah’s Habits of the Heart have shown, secularism teaches that every individual determines his or her own purpose in life—the autonomous self is sovereign. In this world-view, family life looks like the loss of personal meaning and happiness.

There is also the hope factor. My European friends tell me that their secular neighbors are much more pessimistic about the future. They (rightly) see oceans of injustice and poverty in the world surrounding islands of democracy and prosperity. They are keenly aware of the ecological and technological disasters that are possible, perhaps inevitable. Why bring children into such a bleak world? Religious persons, however, have a profound assurance that in the future is final justice, or paradise, or union with God in some form. They have an over-arching hope that makes them more optimistic about bearing and raising children.

At this point you might think I would simply say “Yay for religion, it is the friend of the family!” It is not that simple. While secularism in the West tends to make an idol out of the individual and his or her needs, traditional religion has often made an idol out of the family. According to theologian Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University, Christianity was the very first religion or world-view that held up single adulthood as a viable way of life. Jesus himself and St. Paul were single. “One…clear difference between Christianity and Judaism [and all other traditional religions] is the former’s entertainment of the idea of singleness as the paradigm way of life for its followers.” (Stanley Hauerwas, A Community of Character, p.174.) Nearly all religions and cultures made an absolute value of the family and of the bearing of children. There was no honor without family honor, and there was no real lasting significance or “legacy” without leaving heirs. By contrast, the early church not only did not pressure women to marry but it institutionally supported poor widows so they were not forced to remarry as they were out in the culture at large.

Why? The Christian gospel and hope of the kingdom-future de-idolized marriage. “Singleness was legitimated, not because sex was questionable, but because the mission of the church is ‘between the times’ [the overlap of the ages]…We must remember that the ‘sacrifice’ made by singles was not [just in] ‘giving up sex’ but in giving up heirs. There could be no more radical act than that! This was a clear expression that one’s future is not guaranteed by the family but by the [kingdom of God and the] church” ( Hauerwas, p.190). “[Now, in the overlap of the ages], both singleness and marriage are necessary symbolic institutions for the constitution of the church’s life . . . that witnesses to God’s kingdom. Neither can be valid without the other. If singleness is a symbol of the church’s confidence in God’s power to effect lives for the growth of the church, marriage and procreation is the symbol of the church’s understanding that the struggle will be long and arduous. For Christians do not place their hope in their children, but rather their children are a sign of their hope . . . that God has not abandoned this world.” (Hauerwas, p.191)

The gospel-based community practices a view of family that is contrary both to the cultural idols of secular and traditional societies. The gospel frees singles from the shame of being unmarried they find in conservative cultures. Their truest identity is in Christ and their assured future hope is the kingdom of God. Even bearing children, in the Christian view, is merely nurturing more lives for the family of God. That can be done in other ways than the biological. On the other hand, the gospel gives us the hope and strength for the sacrifices of marriage and parenthood that is lacking in liberal cultures. Christians grasp that they were only brought to life because of Jesus’ radical sacrifice of his independence and power. We know that children are only brought to life and self-sufficiency if their parents sacrifice much of their independence and power. In light of the cross, it is the least we can do.

The gospel is neither religion nor irreligion, it is something else altogether. Vital gospel Christianity’s influence on a society will produce neither a liberal and secular nor a traditional and conservative culture, but something we have seldom seen before.

Editor’s Note: This is a cross-post from Tim Keller’s blog at Redeemer City to City.

Dr. Tim Keller is the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Manhattan, New York. He is also co-founder and vice president of The Gospel Coalition. For more resources by Tim Keller visit Redeemer City to City.

Blogosfera Evanghelică

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!


România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari