A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved. (Proverbs 12:3)
I love A.W. Tozer, my brother in the Fellowship of the Burning Heart… though he’s often hard to read because of how convicted I usually feel afterward. One of the best collections of his is entitled, The Root of the Righteous. It is well worth getting and reading… and then reading again. By the way, it was first published in 1955. (That fact will explain why he’s often called a modern-day prophet.)
Here are a few quotes from the first chapter, also entitled, The Root of the Righteous…
One marked difference between the faith of our fathers as conceived by the fathers and the same faith as understood and lived by their children is that the fathers were concerned with the root of the matter, while their present-day descendants seem concerned only with the fruit.
Our fathers looked well to the root of the tree and were willing to wait with patience for the fruit to appear.
[Impatient Christians today] imitate their fruit without accepting their theology or inconveniencing ourselves too greatly by adopting their all-or-nothing attitude toward religion.
The bough that breaks off from the tree in a storm may bloom briefly and give to the unthinking passerby the impression that it is a healthy and fruitful branch, but its tender blossoms will soon perish and the bough itself wither and die. There is no lasting life apart from the root.
Much that passes for Christianity today is the brief, bright effort of the severed branch to bring forth its fruit in its
season. But the deep laws of life are against it. Preoccupation with appearances and a corresponding neglect of the out-of-sight root of true spiritual life are prophetic signs which go unheeded.
A church that is soundly rooted cannot be destroyed, but nothing can save a church whose root is dried up. No stimulation, no advertising campaigns, no gifts of money and no beautiful edifice can bring back life to the rootless tree.
In every generation the number of the righteous is small. Be sure you’re among them.
They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
from William Law
Although the goodness of God and his rich mercies in Christ Jesus are sufficient
assurance to us that he will be merciful to our unavoidable weaknesses, we have no reason to expect the same mercy toward those sins which we have not intended to avoid.
You may say that all people fall short of the perfection of the gospel and, therefore, you are content with your failings. But this is not the point. The question is not, Can gospel perfection be fully attained? but, Have you come as near it as a sincere intention and careful diligence can carry you? If you have made as much progress in the Christian life as you can, then you may justly hope that your imperfections will not be laid to your charge. But if your defects are the result of your negligence and lack of sincere intention, then you leave yourself without excuse.
If my religion is only a formal compliance with those modes of worship which are in fashion where I live; if it costs me no pain or trouble; if it puts me under no rules and restraints; if I have no careful thoughts and sober reflections about it – is it not foolish to think that I am striving to enter in at the strait gate? How can it be said that I am working out my salvation with fear and trembling?
[I included the quotes above by Law with some reservation. I don't think he's suggesting that our works... or even our intentions... can save us. What I did like about his comments, and why I chose to include them, is his emphasis against an antinomian attitude of... "I'm saved by grace, therefore, I don't have to pursue holiness." That's the interpretation of his words that I'm sticking with for the purpose of including them here.]
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