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The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian Life Paperback – October 6, 2009
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"Recovers lost aspects of the biblical faith for contemporary Christianity." -- Book News Letter
From the Inside Flap
Tozer asserts that the cause of many of our modern spiritual woes is the loss in today's church of a lofty concept of God. He argues persuasively that the cure lies in our rediscovery of God's majesty. "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us," he writes. "The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man's spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God." The Knowledge of the Holy bears eloquent witness to the concept of God's majesty, encourages reverent meditation on the being of God, and offers a way to bring back spiritual power to our lives.
- Publisher : HarperOne; 31935th edition (October 6, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 128 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060684127
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060684129
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 3.53 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.29 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #14,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The human heart is prone to idolatry. It assumes that God is other than He is, and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness.
“You thought that I was just like you” (Ps 50:21).
2. GOD INCOMPREHENSIBLE
“Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty? They are as high as the heavens, what can you do? Deeper than Sheol, what can you know?” (Job 11:7,8)
If God is not what we conceive Him to be, how should we think of Him? If He is indeed incomprehensible, how can we know Him?
The answer of the Bible is simply, “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
God came to us in the incarnation.
“No one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Mt 11:27).
3. HOW DOES GOD REVEAL HIMSELF TO US?
God reveals Himself through creation, the Scriptures, and His Son Jesus Christ.
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Ps 19:1).
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Rom 1:20).
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that bear witness of Me” (Jn 5:39).
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (Jn 14:6).
4. THE HOLY TRINITY
No one could have imagined the doctrine of the Trinity. It had to be revealed. The fact that it cannot be fully explained is a point in its favor. Who can fully understand God? "His greatness is unsearchable" (Ps 145:3).
Jesus used the plural form when speaking of Himself and the Father and the Spirit. “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our abode with him” (Jn 14:23).
“I and the Father are one” (Jn 10:30).
It was our Lord's claim to equality with the Father that outraged the religionists of His day and led to His crucifixion. The attack two centuries later on the doctrine of the Trinity by Arius and others was aimed at Christ's claim to deity. During the Arian controversy, 318 Church Fathers, many of them maimed and scarred by the physical violence suffered in earlier persecutions, met at Nicaea and adopted a statement of faith. It has stood for 1700 years as the final test of orthodoxy. It theologically summarizes the New Testament's teaching about Jesus as the Son of God.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of Him before all the ages,
God of God, Light of Light,
Very God of Very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father,
by whom all things were made.
The Nicene Creed also declares the Holy Spirit to be worshiped along with the Father and the Son.
I believe in the Holy Spirit
the Lord and giver of life,
which proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and Son together
is worshiped and glorified.
How do we reconcile Jesus' statement in John 14:28?
“The Father is greater than I.”
The old theologians said Jesus was equal to His Father in the Godhead, but lower than the Father by way of His humanity, as Hebrews 2:7 says, “You have made Him for a little while lower than the angels.” Yet, “You have crowned Him with glory and honor, and have appointed Him over the works of your hands.”
Christ' incarnation is certainly a mystery, but without confusion. When Christ became man, He was still fully God. While on earth, Jesus described Himself as still being “in the bosom of the Father' (Jn 1:18).
The three Persons of the Godhead work together, never alone. They have one will. Every act of God is accomplished by the Trinity in Unity.
The work of CREATION is attributed to the Father (Gen 1:1 “God created the heavens and the earth”), the Son (Col 1:16 “all things have been created through Him and for Him”), and the Holy Spirit (Job 26:13 “By His Spirit He has garnished the heavens”).
The INCARNATION was accomplished by the Trinity. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God” (Lk 1:35).
At Christ's BAPTISM, the Son came up out of the water, the Spirit descended upon Him as a dove, and the Father spoke from heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Mt 3:17).
The RESURRECTION of Christ is attributed to the Father (Acts 2:32 “This Jesus God raised up”), the Son (Jn 10:17,18 “I lay down My life so that I may take it again”) and the Holy Spirit (Rom 1:4 “according to the Spirit of holiness”).
5. THE SELF-EXISTENCE OF GOD
God has no origin. He is self-existent, self-dependent and self-sufficient. He told Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex 3:14). It requires humility for us to admit that God lies outside all our categories to understand Him, for everything we know was created.
God honored man above all His other creatures by creating man in His image (Gen 1:26). Therefore, he can only find his true identity in God only. Man sins when he challenges God's identity (self-dependent) with his own (dependent upon God). “All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isa 53:6). When we put our faith in Christ, He gives us the power to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him (Mt 16:24). We put God back on the throne of our hearts, where He belongs.
6. THE SELF-SUFFICIENCY OF GOD
“The Father has life in Himself” (Jn 5:26).
To God alone, nothing is necessary. He needs nothing. His interest in His creatures arises only from His sovereign good pleasure. To believe in Him adds nothing to His perfections. To doubt Him takes nothing away.
And yet, the God who needs no one has in His sovereign condescension stooped to work.
“For it is God who at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13).
God NEEDS NO ONE, but when faith is present HE WORKS THROUGH ANYONE.
7. THE ETERNITY OF GOD
“Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Ps 90:2).
God dwells in eternity but time dwells in God. He has already lived all our tomorrows as He has lived all our yesterdays. He appears at the beginning and end of time simultaneously.
If men crave for immortality, it is because God “has set eternity in their heart” (Eccl 3:11). And He promises immortality to those who believe in Jesus Christ (2 Tim 1:10).
8. GOD'S INFINITUDE
Novatian wrote, “God is greater than mind itself. His greatness cannot be conceived. He is greater than all language, and no statement can express Him. All our thoughts about Him are less than Him, and our loftiest utterances are trivialities in comparison with Him.”
God is without bounds or limits or measure. All His attributes are limitless.
The gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus is as limitless as God. “This is eternal life: to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent” (Jn 17:3).
His mercy is also limitless. “Where sin increased, grace abounded the more” (Rom 5:20).
His love is boundless. “For God so loved the world...” (Jn 3:16). His love can enfold the whole created world itself and still have room for ten thousand times ten thousand worlds beside.
9. THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD
“For I, the Lord, do not change” (Malachi 3:6).
God cannot change for the better. His perfections forever rule out such possibility. God has no parts to be altered. He is simple, altogether one.
All that God is He has ever been, and all that He has been and is will ever be.
What peace it brings to know that our heavenly Father never changes. We don't need to ever wonder if we will find Him in a receptive mood. He is always receptive to misery and need, as well as to love and faith. At this moment, He loves babies, the sick, the fallen, the sinful, exactly as He did when He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to die for mankind.
10. THE DIVINE OMNISCIENCE
God has never learned and cannot learn. He already has all knowledge.
“Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding?” (Isa 40:13,14)
God never asks questions because He doesn't know the answers.
It can be unnerving that God knows all our secrets.
“You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence” (Ps 90:8).
Yet how secure it is to know that none of our weaknesses can turn God away from us. He knew us fully before He called us to faith in Him.
“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you” (Isa 54:10).
“For He Himself knows our frame, He is mindful that we are but dust” (Ps 103:14).
11. THE WISDOM OF GOD
“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him...He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him” (Daniel 2:20-22).
“His understanding is infinite” (Ps 147:5).
Our response to God's wisdom?
“Amen, blessing, and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen” (Rev 7:12).
The infinitely wise God works in a manner not improved upon by His finite creatures.
“O Lord, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions” (Ps 104:24).
“I know that everything that God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take away from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him” (Eccl 3:14).
We must repudiate our own wisdom, and rely on God's wisdom.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Prov 3:5,6).
12. THE OMNIPOTENCE OF GOD
God has all power. “Once God has spoken; twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God” (Ps 62:11).
Whenever God dispenses His power to someone, His power is not diminished at all.
God told Abraham, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me and be blameless” (Gn 17:1).
It is by the power of the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead that we are able to put to death the deeds of the body and walk in the Spirit, so that we can be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 8:11-13,29).
13. THE DIVINE TRANSCENDENCE
“For thus the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, 'I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite'” (Isa 57:15).
God's transcendence means that He is exalted far above the created universe. “Far above” does not mean physical distance, but quality of being. We must not think of God as highest in an ascending order of beings, starting with a single cell. There is an infinite gulf between God and creation. Yet it is God Himself who puts it in our hearts to seek Him and know Him.
Whenever God appeared in the Old Testament, there was an overwhelming sense of terror and awareness of sinfulness.
Abram “fell on his face” (Gn 17:3,17).
Moses “hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God” in the burning bush (Ex 3:6).
Isaiah said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isa 6:5).
Daniel saw “a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightening, His eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of His words like the sound of a multitude.” Then Daniel said, “No strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength...I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground” (Dan 10:5-9).
How do we behave in the presence of the transcendent God?
14. GOD'S OMNIPRESENCE
God is everywhere. Because He is infinite, and is a Spirit, there is no place where He is not.
Hildebert of Lavardin wrote,“God is over all things, under all things, outside all, within but not enclosed, without but not excluded, above but not raised up, below but not depressed, wholly above, presiding, wholly beneath, sustaining, wholly within, filling.”
The omnipresence of God provides deep comfort in sorrow and steadfast assurance to Christians. The certainty that God is always near us, closer to us than our own thoughts, produces a state of high moral happiness and joy. Christ experienced strong crying and tears though He never left the bosom of the Father (Jn 11:35; 1:18).
15. THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD
“But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness” (Ps 89:33).
If God cannot change, then He cannot be unfaithful. He cannot succumb to desire, fear, weakness or disinterest. He cannot be compelled from without, but speaks and acts from His own sovereign will at it pleases Him.
Our whole hope of future blessings rests upon God's faithfulness, to keep His promises. “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies” (Jn 11:25).
“I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken” (Ps 37:25).
When Christ returns in glory from heaven, He will be seated on a white horse, and His name will be called Faithful and True (Rev 19:11).
16. THE GOODNESS OF GOD
The goodness of God is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men. He is tenderhearted and of quick sympathy, with an unfailing attitude toward all moral beings that is open, frank, and friendly. He bestows blessedness and takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people.
The cause of God's goodness is Himself. The recipients of His goodness are unworthy of it. There is nothing they do to earn it. How does God act toward us? Just like Jesus acted. To the penitent, He was merciful. To the self-condemned, He was generous and kind. To the frightened, He was friendly. To the poor in spirit, He was forgiving. To the ignorant, considerate. To the weak, gentle. To the stranger, hospitable. Likewise, to the hypocritical and insincere, He was cold and aloof.
17. THE JUSTICE OF GOD
Abraham said, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” (Gen 18:25).
It was prophesied that when the Messiah came He would “judge the world in righteousness and minister judgment to the people in uprightness” (Ps 9:8).
Considering that God is both just and merciful, how can He spare the wicked? Wouldn't this compromise His justice? But no attribute of God is in conflict with another. When God punishes the wicked, it is consistent with what they deserve (justice), and when He spares the wicked it is consistent with His goodness.
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God,” (1 Pet 3:18).
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
When Christ died on the cross, God imputed our sins to Him, as if He had committed all of them, so that He paid the penalty of our death for us, as our substitute. This satisfied God's justice for all sins ever committed. This “penalty paid” is applied to anyone who puts his or her faith in Christ. Just as God imputed our sins to Christ, who didn't commit any sins, so then God imputes the righteousness of Christ to us, who don't deserve it. Thus, God is both just, in requiring the death penalty for sin, and He is merciful, in granting us forgiveness.
18. THE MERCY OF GOD
“But God, being rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4)
Mercy is the infinite and inexhaustible compassion of God.
We must believe that God's mercy is boundless and free through Jesus Christ our Lord, and is available to us now in our present situation.
19. THE GRACE OF GOD
Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving. God's mercy is self-existent in Him. He pities the wretched, spares the guilty, welcomes the outcast, and brings favor to the disapproved. By God's grace we will sit together in the heavenly places “so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 1:7). God lifts up our heads out of the prison house (Isa 61:1) and exchanges our prison garments for royal robes (Rev 7:9).
God's grace is only available through His Son Jesus Christ. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph 1:7).
“Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jn 1:17).
20. THE LOVE OF GOD
“God is love” (1 Jn 4:8)
This means that loving is God's nature, not that love IS God. Because God is self-existent, His love had no beginning. Because He is eternal, His love has no end. Because He is infinite, it has no limit. Because He is holy, His love is pure. Because God is immense, His love is vast and bottomless.
God's love wills the good of all and never wills harm or evil to any.
The self-sufficient God, dependent upon no one, not only wills His heart to be identified with men, but delights in us. God's purpose for creating the world was His own pleasure. “The Lord shall rejoice in His works” (Ps 104:23). According to the book of Job, when God was creating the world, music was playing. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?...When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4,7) “The Lord is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy” (Zeph 3:17).
21. THE HOLINESS OF GOD
“Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior; because It is written, 'You shall be holy, for I an holy.'” (1 Pet 1:16; Lev 11:44).
The English word “holy” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon “halig, hal,” meaning “well, whole.”
God is the absolute quintessence of moral excellence and purity.
“Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You cannot look on wickedness with favor” (Hab 1:13).
Because of his sin, no man can honestly say at anytime he is holy, so how do we obey the divine command to be holy? We must hide our unholiness in the wounds of Christ. We must take refuge from God in God. We must believe that God sees us perfect in His Son while He disciplines and chastens and purges us that we may be partakers of his holiness.
22. THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
God is sovereign by ruling over His entire creation. He knows every detail of it. He has unlimited power and authority and freedom to do whatever He wills.
But if God is Lord over all, why does He allow evil, pain, and death?
God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice between good and evil. When man chooses evil, he does not countervail the sovereignty of God; rather, he fulfills Gods decree for man to be free to choose. Man's will is free because God is sovereign.
God has decreed that all who willingly commit themselves to His Son Jesus Christ in the obedience of faith shall receive eternal life and become children of God (Jn 1:12).
He has also decreed that all who love darkness and continue in rebellion against the high authority of heaven shall remain in a state of spiritual alienation and suffer eternal death, “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mk 9:48).
The Gospel commands all men and women everywhere to surrender and believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
The purity of AW Tozer. Both The Knowledge of the Holy and The Pursuit of God are considered Christian Classic literature. Each chapter is maybe 5-6 pages long, but will leave you deep in thought, enabling you to see God as you never thought possible.
After having been through the series, Behold Your God, our men's group followed up this excellent teaching with The Knowledge of the Holy. After reading just a few chapters, it leads you to a realization, as Tozer teaches, that the purest way to God is through faith and love, in real relationship, and not through the intellect. Because man is a finite being, earth bound and given to his own reconceived notions of God, we are likely to build idolatrous views of God in the mind and intellect. God is all loving, and because He is, He desires to be in intimate relationship with each one of us. Once we undertake such a pursuit, God takes you on a spiritual journey that will last a lifetime. Love the Lord your God and pursue Him only. Chapter 21, on the Holiness of God, could be one of his best.
Update: I just noticed on the first page in the book that the publisher states: "Minor typographical errors may have been corrected without note, however, for an authentic reading experience the Spelling, punctuation, and capitalization have been retained from the original text."
I have no way to verify this statement is fact, though.
Top reviews from other countries
Great book for seekers , students and well seasoned preachers and teachers.