From the Grave: A 40-Day Lent Devotional features selections from the works of A.W. Tozer. With its simple format, this new devotional adapts easily into a daily routine. Each day starts with a short Scripture verse followed by words of inspiration on topics such as suffering, discipleship, obedience to Christ, etc.
The book opens with an introduction from the editors containing a brief description of Lent and some of their thoughts on its purpose:
“The forty days of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with the Saturday before Easter Sunday, commemorate Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, when He fasted and was tempted by the devil. The purpose of the season of Lent, therefore, is to prepare believers for commemorating Jesus’ self-sacrifice, especially as it is displayed in His death and resurrection, and to help them experience in a concrete way the Christian journey from death to new life.”
As I read through the book, I couldn’t help but think of the apostle Paul’s words about our new life in Christ as “new creations” ( 2 Cor. 5:17). But just what does should this “new” life look like?
According to Tozer, part of that involves understanding the role of suffering in a believer’s life:
“It is my conviction that one of the reasons we exhibit very little spiritual power is because we are unwilling to accept and experience the fellowship of the Savior’s sufferings, which means acceptance of His cross” (Day 10/The Key to Spiritual Power.)
Another important trait of a mature Christian is a proper understanding of contentment:
“Contentment with earthly goods is the mark of a saint; contentment with our spiritual state is a mark of inward blindness” (Day 12/Our Enemy Contentment).
I appreciate Tozer’s candor and wisdom. Overall, he has several worthwhile admonitions for believers on living the spiritual life.
My one point of contention, however, is with Tozer’s adherence to “Lordship salvation.” Typically, proponents of Lordship salvation argue that salvation must involve both trust in Christ and submission to Christ. In essence, they combine two things which should be kept separate: salvation and discipleship.
This comes across in portions of Tozer’s writings. For example:
“In the bible, the offer of pardon on the part of God is conditioned upon intention to reform on the part of man. There can be no spiritual regeneration till there has been moral reformation” (Day 5/No Regeneration Without Reformation).
What Tozer suggests is impossible. Believers are not born again by the will of the flesh, but of God (John 1:13). There can be no moral reformation in a person’s heart apart from the work of Christ. We don’t even come to Christ on our own, but our drawn by our Heavenly Father (John 6:44).
Another problem with this belief is that God’s gift of salvation is not truly free if there are strings attached. Our salvation is not based on our commitment toward righteous living. It’s all about trust in Christ alone. Period.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
(Disclaimer: This book was provided by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)