A Stolen Throne

The title here is not original. I’m currently reading A.W.
Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy,
and this phrase from chapter five struck me. Preceding Tozer’s proclamation
that we all sit on a stolen throne, he surmises this position is perfectly
natural to us when he writes:
Sin has many manifestations but its essence is one. A moral being,
created to worship before the throne of God, sits on the throne of his own
selfhood and from that elevated position declares, “I AM.” That is sin in its
concentrated essence; yet because it is natural it appears to be good.

I’ve often felt a slight discomfort when a sinner approaching
repentance does so with mention of this sin or that. As if giving up smoking
and drinking will make him right with God. I’ve done it myself, knowing deep
inside that my list of sins is not the problem. Recognition of offense is
not a bad gesture in the eyes of God, and in the life of a Christian it’s a necessary
part of moving toward righteous living. But my assortment of daily failures is
not what originally put space between my Creator and me. The Sin of taking my
seat on the throne is what caused the problem, and it was as natural as my
first breath, my first step, my first deviation away from God’s law. As Tozer puts
it, I was born a rebel.
Rebellion is the Sin that causes us to seize the throne. The list
of sins builds from there. But why the rebellion? God envy? Pride? Can’t we be
like Him? Shouldn’t the creature possess all the power of his Creator?
This brings two considerations to mind. First, am I still sitting
on a throne that belongs to God? I envision Him on the throne. I accept that He
is King of all. I confess my Sin, and my continual sin. But are there times and
situations when I won’t step down?
Second, I find a bit of a turn in the way I view the unredeemed.
Though it’s not new to my thinking to empathize their lost condition, if I see
their falling away from God as a natural thing, something that to them seems to
be good, then I must approach the issue with a deeper understanding of why they
cling to the usurped throne. I was rescued from the same condition. And now, if I no longer sit on the throne, self-righteousness
must be let go.
It seems right and good to take control of one’s self. The fact
that the self-throne is crumbling becomes a matter of denial, perhaps even
complete unawareness. Tozer writes: Yet so subtle is self that scarcely anyone is
conscious of its presence.
So I must be wary of my own self-throne,
and keep an understanding of why others have assumed their positions. I must
express the grace of God, even to those who strongly oppose the Christian
faith, who seem to be my enemies. They’re in need of the same rescue God
freely offered me. This is where the self-throne gives way to the Gospel. In my
rebellion, I couldn’t grasp that dethroning was what I deserved. In my
redemption, I gratefully accept it is exactly what I needed.

Another excerpt from The
Knowledge of the Holy,
chapter five:

The earliest fulfilment of these words of Christ was at Pentecost after
Peter had preached the first great Christian sermon. “Now when they heard this,
they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the
apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” This “What shall we do?” is the
deep heart cry of every man who suddenly realizes that he is a usurper and sits
on a stolen throne. However painful, it is precisely this acute moral
consternation that produces true repentance and makes a robust Christian after
the penitent has been dethroned and has found forgiveness and peace through the
gospel.

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