All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God…
The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems . . .but even if the multiple burdens of time may be lifted from him, the one mighty single burden of eternity begins to press down upon him with a weight more crushing than all the woes of the world piled one upon another. That mighty burden is his obligation to God.
The gospel can lift this destroying burden from the mind…[b]ut unless the weight of the the burden is felt the gospel can mean nothing to the man; and until he sees a vision of God high and lifted up, there will be no woe and no burden. Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them.
~from Chapter One of The Knowledge of the Holy.
We hear quite a lot these days about the importance of the Gospel, on being Gospel-centered, on living Gospel-empowered lives, along with much on protecting and preserving the Gospel. I think this is a good thing–my own faith has been strengthened by such teaching. But Tozer here points out a component of the Gospel that may be frequently neglected; that is the hearer’s view of God.
I suspect we would agree that the revealing of Himself to an individual is ultimately God’s business. It is something He does or does not do for reasons known only to Him.
But God uses means. If we took some time, most of us could likely recall a parent, pastor, friend, or (as was the case with me) a professor, who, at key moments in our lives, impacted us toward a more profound and accurate understanding of who God is, thus magnifying the burden of our obligation to Him, and thereby ripening us for conversion.
Likewise we might all recall people who, although being in positions to so influence us, did not, or even influenced us away from such an understanding of God. To paraphrase an idea (the source of which I do not now recall), “One is always discipling those around him toward something.”
This is ought to cause us to soberly consider just how we influence others. Do people get the sense that our religion is more than rote exercise? Does our reverence toward God and His word help them understand the majesty of God? Or does our haphazard approach to family devotion or flippant use of scripture degrade the gospel to our children and students? Does the way we conduct corporate worship, despite the technical truth of what is said and sung, communicate to the congregation that God is not truly high and lifted up?
In what ways might we casually contribute to the destruction of the gospel?