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Nothing Bad is Beautiful

April 23, 2009

I wanted to share some words from AW Tozer on God’s perfection that have been ministering to my spirit lately: 

“My conviction has been growing for years that we must recapture the concept of the perfections of God. We must see again how awful (awe-full) God is, how beautiful and how perfect. And we must begin to preach it, sing it, write about it, promote it, talk it, tell it and pray it until we have recaptured the concept of majesty, until the awareness of the divine is back in our religion again.” 

Tozer then goes on to talk about the beauty of God’s perfections as God having no degrees but rather unqualified fullness and completeness of whatever He has:

“God is what He is and that is it. God’s power and being, His wisdom and knowledge, His holiness and goodness, His justice and mercy, His love and grace – all of these and more of the attributes of God – are in shining, full, uncreated perfection. They are called the beauty of the Lord our God.” 

From this he draws out two implications, first, whatever honors and seeks to come into alignment with this perfect God is beautiful. In this vein he says:

“Theology itself is a beautiful thing, beautiful because it is the mind reasoning about God. It is the mind down on its knees in a state of breathless devotion, reasoning about God – or it should be. It is possible for theology to become a very hard and aloof thing, and we can lose God right out of our theology. But the kind of theology I’m talking about, the study of God, is a beautiful thing.” 

The second implication is that nothing that is out of alignment with God’s will or dishonoring to its Creator can be truly beautiful. Here he says:

“It is not possible for anything bad to be beautiful. The Scripture says that we’re to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (Ps. 29:2). It is possible for an unholy thing to be pretty or attractive, even charming. But it is not possible for it to be beautiful. Only that which is holy can be beautiful ultimately.” 

He closes with a call for preachers, but one that we could easily translate into “forerunners” – those who proclaim the message of the beautiful God in order to prepare His way in the hearts of others:

“When are we going to raise up a crop of preachers [forerunners] who will begin to share the perfection of God and tell people what they ought to hear – that Jesus Christ has come to bring us to the beauty that is God…If you want to pray strategically, in a way which would please God, pray that God might raise up men and women who would see the beauty of the Lord our God and would begin to hold it out to people, instead of offering peace of mind, deliverance from cigarettes, and a nicer cottage”(!)

May this entertainment fast over the coming six weeks be the beginning of our “seeing the beauty of the Lord” and being thereby equipped to “hold Him out to people” as the only truly satisfying One in the universe!


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  1. ashleyrobi permalink

    It seems that even when I speak theologically with passion and life, that some still hear it with the “theology is boring” mindset. This question may become redundant, but I am continually asking the Lord to give me greater understanding on how he wants me to awaken the hearts of His Bride to His greatness and glory. How do we reclaim good, solid, theology from the world of intellectualism for the sake of intellectualism? I like to use my mind, but I don’t want my mind to think it is self-sustaining in its genius comprehension of spiritual things. I want to be continually awed and amazed and for that utter awe and amazement to be communicated as I speak.

  2. brushep permalink

    I hear you about the need to reclaim “good, solid theology”! That’s why I loved Tozer’s description of theology as the mind down on its knees in breathless anticipation of encountering the beauty of God! I hope you’ve come back around the like your mind again – you’ve got a good one and we need it on the front-lines!

  3. Asha permalink

    I am seeing more and more how integral is the relationship between ‘good, solid theology’ and “right seeing” of God and His beauty. And as Piper says, right seeing necessarily involves savoring (the ‘being awed’ dimension to the seeing). And this revelation is a gift of the Spirit who testifies to us, making known to us the reality of the worth of Jesus and leading us to know and embrace Truth in increasing fullness. There is no way we can believe rightly unless we see God rightly, beholding/encountering in some part His perfection; in other words, our theology cannot be “solid” without beholding the beauty of the holiness of God. Tozer: “God is what He is and that is it.” To see Him as He is and respond with awe is what every creature is made to do. Oh would we grow to appreciate our Beautiful God more and more and make much of His majesty so that the earth is filled with His glory..if we truly saw His worth we’d join Heaven’s ceaseless praise, our whole selves (including mind!) falling on our knees and face with every revelation!

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