AW Tozer – Worship Begins at Creation
In the beginning, God… (Genesis 1:1)
One of the purposes of the Worldview Church is to help those in church leadership think clearly about the worldview implications. What the church teaches and how the people live out this teaching is to reflect the redemptive activity of Christ in the world. In particular, the Worship Arts pages focus upon themes that help us toward this ends.
We turn again to A.W. Tozer’s writings, a Christian thinker and theologian whose observations are as applicable today as they were in the mid-20th Century. In his unique way, Tozer reminds us that the focus—no matter what kind of artistic expression is used—ought to draw our attention to a broader perspective. Tozer’s words strike of both observation and warning.
“It is characteristic of the unregenerate man that he sees God only in nature, and of the immature Christian that he can see God only in grace!
Because sin has injured us so deeply and because the whole transaction of repentance and deliverance from the guilt and power of iniquity makes such a mighty impression upon us emotionally, we naturally tend to appreciate the work of God in redemption more than in nature.”
That we “naturally tend to appreciate the work of God in redemption more than in nature” reveals a misunderstanding of the importance of creation in the redemptive story. In fact, one could say that redemption is pointless without a “good” creation fashioned by a good God, one that was subsequently plunged into darkness because of Adam’s sin. It was because God loved mankind, as well as His whole created order, that He sent Christ to repair the damage of sin.
“But everything God does is praiseworthy and deserves our deepest admiration. Whether He is redeeming mankind or creating a world, He is perfect in all His doings and glorious in all His goings forth.”
Tozer does not ignore the reality of the great salvation that comes to us through faith in the Lord Jesus. He recognizes that our hearts naturally are drawn to this demonstration of God’s love for us (Romans 5:8).
“Yet the long, long ages, however far they may carry us into the mysteries of God, will still find us singing the praises of the Lamb that was slain. For it is hardly conceivable that we sinners can ever forget the wormwood and the gall.
We human sinners above all other creatures have benefited by His grace, so it is altogether natural that we above all others should magnify the blood that bought us and the mercy that pardons our sins.”
So it is proper and right for our hymnals and song books to be filled with praises for the redemptive work of Christ on our behalf. Although all of creation was infected with sin, and succumbs to its effects, it is Adam’s race into which Christ entered. As it was on this earth that sin’s corrupting influence began, so it was here, as a Man, that Christ’s redemptive work began.
Therefore, Tozer draws our thoughts back to creation itself.
“Yet we glorify God’s redeeming grace no less when we glorify His creating and sustaining power. If we miss seeing God in His works we deprive ourselves of the sight of a royal display of wisdom and power so elevating, so ennobling, so awe-inspiring as to make all attempts at description futile. Such a sight the angels behold day and night forever and ask nothing more to make them perpetually satisfied!”
With this grand vision, Tozer paints a broad stroke by associating meaningful worship with God’s grace in His work of creation.
It was by grace that God created the world out of His infinite love. Nothing in God’s created order deserved to be created. In other words, within the Godhead, all things were done by His unmerited favor (grace). He loved, He spoke, He created.
Ultimately, He created man in His own image to rule the earth as His representative. Again, this was an act of grace, for Adam had done nothing to deserve such a great honor. He was granted this honor by God solely because He desired to do so, and He enlisted man and woman as part of the means to do so.
After Adam’s sin and disobedience, we immediately see God’s grace continue to favor mankind in His planning and preparation for the redemption to be found in Christ, the One who would “bruise His heal” on the serpent’s head.
We see the fulfillment of God’s grace poured out upon us through the person and work of Jesus Christ. His redemption flows not only to His chosen but also to all of creation. In other words, God’s grace comes full circle as we—those He has redeemed—join Him in this redemptive work. It is in the midst of His work through us that we find ourselves praising Him for all of His grace, both in creation and redemption!
*All quotes from “Renewed Day by Day: A Daily Devotional” by A.W. Tozer, compiled by G.B. Smith (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1980).
(Original Post on June 19, 2013 at the Worldview Church: http://www.worldviewchurch.org/worshiparts/articles/19917-worship-begins-at-creation-)
Posted on February 10, 2014, in Christian Worldview, Content of Worship, Corporate Worship, theology, Worship Leader and tagged Mark Sooy, theology, Tozer, worship, WorshipThink. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.