Tag: Words

When Words and Deeds Conflict

A.W. Tozerby A.W. Tozer

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18–19

In the working out of God’s eternal purpose the society of the first Adam and the society of the last Adam, though utterly opposed, may for a while coexist, but not for long (Hebrews 12:26–27). The flesh may admire the spirit while refusing to go along with it, or it may misunderstand the spirit and believe that it is itself spiritual while actually sunk in corruption.

The latter, I believe, explains the present popularity of Christ in the world. The contradiction between Christ and unregenerate society is sharp and irreconcilable, but the contrast between society and its own mistaken conception of Him is scarcely noticeable. So the world can cherish its image of Christ and ignore His commandments without a qualm of conscience.

What should seriously concern us, however, is not that the world praises Christ without obeying Him, but that the church does. The men of this world go their way careless of the teachings of Christ, but in doing so they are consistent with their position. They have made no vows to the Lord nor taken His name upon them. But when a Christian ignores the commandment of Christ, he is guilty of sin doubly compounded. He violates holy vows, is guilty of rebellion against God and commits the grotesque sin of calling Jesus Lord with his words and denying His Lordship with his deeds.

by A.W. Tozer

Mistaking Word for Deed

A.W. Tozerby A.W. Tozer

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:26

The genuine philosopher, Epictetus used to say, was not one who had read Chrysippus and Diogenes and so could discourse learnedly on the teachings of these men, but one who had put their teachings into practice. Nothing else would satisfy him. He refused to call any man a philosopher who showed evidence of pride, covetousness, self-love or worldly ambition.

Epictetus was not impressed by eloquence or learning. It was a waste of time for the student to recite the list of books he had read. “What has your reading done for you?” he asked his students, and looked not to their words but to their lives for the answer. He required of the young men who sought him out that they bring their lives into immediate harmony with the Stoic doctrines. “If you don’t intend to live like a philosopher, don’t come back,” he told them bluntly. He drew a sharp distinction between a philosopher in fact and a student of philosophy, and would have nothing to do with the mere student. With him it was all or nothing. There was no middle ground.

This is not to advocate the teachings of the Stoics, but to assert that many of “the heathen in their blindness” appear to have more light than some Christians and that the children of this world often show more real wisdom than some of the children of God. For the snare Epictetus warned against is the very one into which multitudes of professed Christians are falling, viz., mistaking the word for the deed and falsely assuming that if they know the teaching of the Christian faith they are therefore in that faith.

by A.W. Tozer