[anzac] INCREDIBLE CHRISTIAN! - by Tozer

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 23:59:02 +1300
INCREDIBLE CHRISTIAN! 
by A.W. Tozer

The cross stands in bold opposition to the natural man. Its philosophy 
runs contrary to the processes of the unregenerate mind, so that 
Paul could say bluntly that the preaching of the cross is to them 
that perish foolishness. To try to find a common ground between 
the message of the cross and man's fallen reason is to try the 
impossible, and if persisted in must result in an impaired reason, 
a meaningless cross and a powerless Christianity.

But let us bring the whole matter down from the uplands of theory 
and simply observe the true Christian as he puts into practice the 
teachings of Christ and His apostles. Note the contradictions:

The Christian believes that in Christ he has died, yet he is more 
alive than before and he fully expects to live forever. He walks on 
earth while seated in heaven and though born on earth he finds 
that after his conversion he is not at home here. Like the nighthawk, 
which in the air is the essence of grace and beauty but on the 
ground is awkward and ugly, so the Christian appears at his best 
in the heavenly places but does not fit well into the ways of the 
very society into which he was born.

The Christian soon learns that if he would be victorious as a son 
of heaven among men on earth he must not follow the common 
pattern of mankind, but rather the contrary. That he may be safe 
he puts himself in jeopardy; he loses his life to save it and is in 
danger of losing it if he attempts to preserve it. He goes down to 
get up. If he refuses to go down he is already down, but when he 
starts down he is on his way up.

He is strongest when he is weakest and weakest when he is 
strong. Though poor he has the power to make others rich, but 
when he becomes rich his ability to enrich others vanishes. He 
has most after he has given most away and has least when he 
possesses most.

He may be and often is highest when he feels lowest and most 
sinless when he is most conscious of sin. He is wisest when he 
knows that he knows not and knows least when he has acquired 
the greatest amount of knowledge. He sometimes does most by 
doing nothing and goes furthest when standing still. In heaviness 
he manages to rejoice and keeps his heart glad even in sorrow.

The paradoxical character of the Christian is revealed constantly. 
For instance, he believes that he is saved now, nevertheless he 
expects to be saved later and looks forward joyfully to future 
salvation. He fears God but is not afraid of Him. In God's presence 
he feels overwhelmed and undone, yet there is nowhere he would 
rather be than in that presence. He knows that he has been 
cleansed from his sin, yet he is painfully conscious that in his 
flesh dwells no good thing.

He loves supremely One whom he has never seen, and though 
himself poor and lowly he talks familiarly with One who is King of 
all kings and Lord of all lords, and is aware of no incongruity in so 
doing. He feels that he is in his own right altogether less than 
nothing, yet he believes without question that he is the apple of 
God's eye and that for him the Eternal Son became flesh and 
died on the cross of shame.

The Christian is a citizen of heaven and to that sacred citizenship 
he acknowledges first allegiance; yet he may love his earthly 
country with that intensity of devotion that caused John Knox to 
pray "O God, give me Scotland or I die."

He cheerfully expects before long to enter that bright world above, 
but he is in no hurry to leave this world and is quite willing to await 
the summons of his Heavenly Father. And he is unable to under-
stand why the critical unbeliever should condemn him for this; it 
all seems so natural and right in the circumstances that he sees 
nothing inconsistent about it.

The cross-carrying Christian, furthermore, is both a confirmed 
pessimist and an optimist the like of which is to be found nowhere 
else on earth.

When he looks at the cross he is a pessimist, for he knows that 
the same judgment that fell on the Lord of glory condemns in that 
one act all nature and all the world of men. He rejects every human 
hope out of Christ because he knows that man's noblest effort is 
only dust building on dust.

Yet he is calmly, restfully optimistic. If the cross condemns the 
world the resurrection of Christ guarantees the ultimate triumph 
of good throughout the universe. Through Christ all will be well 
at last and the Christian waits the consummation. Incredible Christian!