Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


2 Comments

My Summer Reading List


I love to read and have a number of books in a variety of genres (theology, biography, leadership, faith and work) that I plan to read this summer. Here are ten books on my summer reading list:

Immanuel Labor: God’s Presence in Our Profession by Russell E. Gehrlein
I’ve enjoyed reading the author’s articles on the integration of faith and work and am looking forward to this book.
From the Amazon description:
“Here is a fresh, comprehensive, Christian perspective on work. This is a solid introduction to this critical subject. It is especially geared toward those in need of Gods guidance on finding the right career and how to integrate their faith with the job. It is well-grounded in scripture, contains numerous inspirational quotes from other Christian leaders, offers practical wisdom, and includes many personal illustrations. Topics consist of the value of everyday work, thorns and thistles, the eternal value of work, finding a job that fits, how we are to work, and implications for those in ministry. It includes a helpful index of three hundred scripture references and questions for group discussion or personal reflection. This book will expand your view of how God can use your unique abilities in the workplace and how his presence at work makes all the difference.”

The Affectionate Theology of Richard Sibbes by Mark Dever
Mark Dever is a respected author and the long-time pastor of Capital Hill Baptist Church.  I’ve enjoyed some of his previous books and hearing him speak at theology conferences.
From the Amazon description:
“In a time of political turmoil and religious upheaval, Richard Sibbes sought to consistently apply the riches of Reformation theology to his hearers’ lives. He emphasized the security of God’s covenant, the call for assurance of salvation, and the place of the heart in the Christian life. In The Affectionate Theology of Richard Sibbes, Dr. Mark Dever gives readers a penetrating look into the life and theology of this fascinating figure.”

Seven Leaders: Preachers and Pastors by Iain H. Murray
Iain Murray is co-founder of the Banner of Truth Trust. I enjoyed some of his previous books and hearing him speak at theology conferences.
From the Amazon description:
“Spiritual leaders lead people to heaven. Here in Seven Leaders are accounts of seven such men, together with the distinctive features of their lives in John Elias, the necessity of the power of the Holy Spirit; in Andrew Bonar, the reality of communion with Christ; in Archie Brown, the irresistibility of love; in Kenneth MacRae, the need for faithfulness to death; in Martyn Lloyd-Jones, theology and doctrine; in W. J. Grier, passing on the ‘sacred deposit’; and in John MacArthur, the governing authority of the word of God.
An Old Testament miracle once took place at a burial. We are told that when the deceased was ‘let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet’ (2 Kings 13:21).
Through books, the past can be touched, and the consequence may be as much of God as when Martin Luther handled the old writings of Jan Huss. Records of faithful servants of Christ still speak and can bring new life today.”

If There’s a God Why Are There Atheists?: Why Atheists Believe in Unbelief by R.C. Sproul
R.C. Sproul was my spiritual mentor for more than 30 years. He died in late 2017.
From the Amazon description:
“A common charge levelled against people with religious beliefs in general, and with Christian convictions in particular, is that their beliefs are motivated not by reasonable evidence but by psychological needs. In fact, many respected people, accepting the arguments of atheist thinkers, believe that psychology and the social sciences have explained away religion.
In this thoroughly revised and updated edition of If There’s a God, Why are There Atheists?, R.C. Sproul examines the arguments of four prominent atheists:
– Sigmund Freud: religion arises out of guilt and the fear of nature.
– Karl Marx: religion is used to keep the lower classes happy.
– Ludwig Feuerbach: religion is only wish–fulfilment.
– Friedrich Nietzsche: religion is rooted in man’s weakness.
Engaging with these thinkers’ works on a psychological as well as theological basis, Sproul shows that there are as many psychological and sociological explanations for unbelief as for belief – and that atheistic conclusions should not be accepted blindly.
For the believer who is troubled by doubts or who wants to respond intelligently to unbelievers, it offers clear, thought–provoking analysis. For the unbeliever who has an open mind, it offers stimulating debate, worthy of time and thought.”

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church by Albert Mohler
Albert Mohler is the President of the Southern Baptist Theology Seminary, host of the daily program The Briefing.
From the Amazon description:
“There is no more thrilling part of the Bible than the book of Acts, and no better guide to it than Albert Mohler. This first volume takes in the ascension of Jesus, the coming of the Spirit, the birth of the church, the start of persecution, the conversion of Saul, and the divine call to world-wide evangelism.
If you want to be fueled for Christian life and mission, you will want to read this book.
This Expository Guide takes you verse by verse through the text in an accessible and applied way. It is less academic than a traditional commentary and can be read cover-to-cover, used in personal devotions, used to lead small group studies, or used for sermon preparation. There is an accompanying Good Book Guide for small group Bible studies.”

Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock by Gregory Thornbury
I enjoyed Larry Norman’s ground-breaking music and am looking forward to reading this new book about him.
From the Amazon description:
“The riveting, untold story of the “Father of Christian Rock” and the conflicts that launched a billion-dollar industry at the dawn of America’s culture wars.
In 1969, in Capitol Records’ Hollywood studio, a blonde-haired troubadour named Larry Norman laid track for an album that would launch a new genre of music and one of the strangest, most interesting careers in modern rock. Having spent the bulk of the 1960s playing on bills with acts like the Who, Janis Joplin, and the Doors, Norman decided that he wanted to sing about the most countercultural subject of all: Jesus.
Billboard called Norman “the most important songwriter since Paul Simon,” and his music would go on to inspire members of bands as diverse as U2, The Pixies, Guns ‘N Roses, and more. To a young generation of Christians who wanted a way to be different in the American cultural scene, Larry was a godsend—spinning songs about one’s eternal soul as deftly as he did ones critiquing consumerism, middle-class values, and the Vietnam War. To the religious establishment, however, he was a thorn in the side; and to secular music fans, he was an enigma, constantly offering up Jesus to problems they didn’t think were problems. Paul McCartney himself once told Larry, “You could be famous if you’d just drop the God stuff,” a statement that would foreshadow Norman’s ultimate demise.
In Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music?, Gregory Alan Thornbury draws on unparalleled access to Norman’s personal papers and archives to narrate the conflicts that defined the singer’s life, as he crisscrossed the developing fault lines between Evangelicals and mainstream American culture—friction that continues to this day.  What emerges is a twisting, engrossing story about ambition, art, friendship, betrayal, and the turns one’s life can take when you believe God is on your side.”

The Gospel at Work: How the Gospel Gives New Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs (Updated and Expanded Edition) by Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger
I read the first edition of this book twice, once in a Faith and Work Book Club with friends at work and am looking forward to this new edition.
From the Amazon description:
“Reclaim God’s vision for your life.
Many Christians fall victim to one of two main problems when it comes to work: either they are idle in their work, or they have made an idol of it. Both of these mindsets are deadly misunderstandings of how God intends for us to think about our employment.
In The Gospel at Work, Sebastian Traeger and Greg Gilbert unpack the powerful ways in which the gospel can transform how we do what we do, releasing us from the cultural pressures of both an all-consuming devotion and a punch-in, punch-out mentality – in order to find the freedom of a work ethic rooted in serving Christ.
You’ll find answers to some of the tough questions that Christians in the workplace often ask:

  • What factors should matter most in choosing a job?
  • What gospel principles should shape my thinking about how to treat my boss, my co-workers, and my employees?
  • Is full-time Christian work more valuable than my job?
  • Is it okay to be motivated by money?
  • How do you prioritize – or balance – work, family and church responsibilities?

Solidly grounded in the gospel, The Gospel at Work confronts both our idleness at work and our idolatry of work with a challenge of its own – to remember that whom we work for is infinitely more important than what we do.”

Spurgeon on the Christian Life: Alive in Christ (Theologians on the Christian Life) by Michael Reeves
I’ve enjoyed a few of Michael Reeves earlier books and hearing him speak at theology conferences and am looking forward to this new volume from the Theologians on the Christian Life series. And can we ever read too many books about Spurgeon?
From the Amazon description:
“Charles Spurgeon, widely hailed as the “Prince of Preachers,” is well known for his powerful preaching, gifted mind, and compelling personality. Over the course of nearly four decades at London’s famous New Park Street Chapel and Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon preached and penned words that continue to resonate with God’s people today.
Organized around the main beliefs that undergirded his ministry—the centrality of Christ, the importance of the new birth, the indwelling of the Spirit, and the necessity of the Bible—this introduction to Spurgeon’s life and thought will challenge readers to live their lives for the glory of God.”

Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life: Doctrine and Life as Fuel and Fire (Theologians on the Christian Life) by Jason C. Meyer
I’ve read a few books about the respected London pastor Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and am looking forward to this new volume from the Theologians on the Christian Life series.
From the Amazon description:
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, commonly referred to as “the Doctor,” had a successful career in medicine before abandoning it all to become a preacher in London. His sermons—displaying the life-changing power of biblical truth—diagnosed the spiritual condition of his congregation and prescribed the gospel remedy.
This study of Lloyd-Jones’s life will encourage and exhort readers to consider the role of the knowledge of God, the power of the Spirit, and the fullness of Christ in their daily lives, allowing them to discover the inseparable union of doctrine and the Christian life.”

Arnold Palmer: Homespun Stories of The King by Chris Rodell
I’ve read several books by and about Arnold Palmer, and am looking forward to reading this new book written by someone who knew him.
From the Amazon description:
“About 40 miles east of Pittsburgh is the small town of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the place Arnold Palmer called home. The world knew Palmer as The King. But the Palmer Latrobe knew was funnier, goofier, saltier, and less grandiose than the one justifiably loved around the globe. In Arnold Palmer: Homespun Stories of the King, journalist, Latrobe resident, and accidental Palmer insider Chris Rodell draws upon over 100 interviews with the golf great conducted over 20 years, providing an intimate, charming, and at times irreverent glimpse at the icon outside the spotlight.”

This is my list (and I reserve the right to add other books too!). How about you? What do you plan to read this summer?

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Golf as a Metaphor for the Christian Life


As our weather finally warms up – Spring was long in coming for us this year in central Illinois – I’m looking forward to playing more golf than I have in the past several years. I’ve often thought of how a game of golf is like the Christian life.
I used to play a lot of golf by myself. With a season’s pass, in the summer after dinner I would frequently head around the corner to the local course to get in as many holes as possible before dark, hopefully 9. Stepping to the first tee, there was excitement and optimism, kind of like we felt as a new believer. Back then, everything was fresh and new as we read our bibles, prayed, and devoured Christian books and sermons.  As I stood on the first tee I knew I was in for a journey. Over the course of the 9 holes my emotions would ebb and flow depending how I was playing.
I remember far too clearly playing these same first few holes many years ago in college, back before I was a believer. I sliced the ball a good deal. Oh yes, and since I play left-handed, there is out of bounds on the left side the first three holes. Back then I’m sad to admit that I had quite the temper. More times than I would like to recall, I walked back to the clubhouse – sometimes after throwing my driver in the cornfield after a drive sailed out of bounds on one of these opening holes.  And once as a teenager, I broke an entire set of golf clubs while on vacation with my family… but that’s a story for another time.
So, as I played that first hole I begin my journey. Perhaps I would start out poorly, with a double-bogey, or worse. Think of that as your Christian life. A bad hole is like sin. We didn’t want that to happen, but it did. Emotionally we are upset, but there is no time to rest. What’s done is done, we can’t change it. You’ve got to calm yourself to tee it up on that second hole. In the Christian life we need to confess and repent of our sin, and then move on.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

Sometimes you’ll be reminded of past sins, and they can lead you off course – Satan is definitely an accuser and will bring them to mind.  So here’s Satan sitting on my shoulder… “Oh, you’re on the first tee – remember how you’ve lost your temper so many times on this hole and are off in the cornfield?  Just quit and walk off the course.”  Just remember Revelation 12:10: “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.”
Over the course of the next few hours, you proceed around the golf course (and in life), having successes, such as a good hole, or growth in our Christian life, or failure/falling into sin – hitting the ball out of bounds, three-putting or hitting the ball in a pond.   Neither golf, nor life, will ever be all good or bad. But we must persevere, pray and ask for the help of the Holy Spirit.   Maybe even find joy in the journey!  Although John Feinstein (a golf author) called the game of golf ‘a good walk spoiled’.
Doesn’t it seem like you’ll be cruising along, hitting the ball exactly where you want it, and then all of a sudden your game falls apart and you’re wondering what in the world happened?  Same as in the Christian life – being on the mountaintop can quickly lead to being humbled and off in the rough once again.  Remember the prophet Elijah? Here was a man who was able to call down fire from heaven to prove Yahweh’s preeminence (1 Kings 18:1–40). But when the Lord seemed to leave him all alone while Jezebel sought his death, Elijah could only flee to a cave and complain that God had not been with him to bless his ministry and keep him safe (19:1–10).
Golf also requires you to be a person of integrity and character.  Character can be defined as doing the right thing when no one else is looking (I know, God is always watching – hence the Latin phrase Coram Deo!)  Temptation to make yourself and your scorecard look good is always riding along with you in the cart.  “Oh, just take a mulligan.”  In the woods?  Use that foot wedge or drop that extra ball in your pocket and give yourself a clear shot.  Being a good loser and a humble winner is important – knowing you played your best and counted every stroke.
There’s even lessons about showing courtesy to others – let others play through if you’re playing slowly, don’t step on other players’ putting paths, take turns, etc.  The game of golf can be a delight or a drag – it can tempt you to vent your frustrations (a nice way of saying swearing or throwing your clubs).
Billy Graham said golf (and life) is a game about recovery.  It’s not about the man who doesn’t make mistakes, but has the courage and skill to overcome his errors.  Recently at the Masters a player had a shot onto the green that could tie him with the leader.  Instead he put it in the water and it cost him a number of strokes; not just on that hole, but on the remaining holes.  He couldn’t take his thoughts ‘captive’, (2 Corinthians 10:5), and he allowed his failure to get him off track.  It takes maturity, concentration and discipline to make a double bogey and then birdie the next few holes.  The Christian life is not about shooting a perfect par on every hole.  Have you lost your temper with your wife?  Take her by the hand and ask for her forgiveness and continue your walk together.

So dear ones, be encouraged, and keep persevering and pressing on in your Christian life. In theological terms, this is called progressive sanctification.

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:14

Do you have any more examples of how the game of golf is like the Christian life? Please share your thoughts. As I’ve learned from the book Pilgrim’s Progress, playing through this game of life is easier when you have friends walking beside you to help in your Christian journey.


2 Comments

6 Recommendations for Your Devotional Reading

There are any number of resources available for what has become known as our daily devotional reading as a part of our daily worship. I try to do my reading early in the morning. Although the resources I use change from time to time, below are six recommended resources that I would commend to you:

  1. Tabletalk Magazine. Tabletalk has been a consistent source for me since I became a believer. While the monthly magazine from Ligonier Ministries includes many great articles each month, here I’m referring to the daily readings.
  2. The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Tim and Kathy Keller. This relatively new book is a daily devotional that takes the reader through every verse of the book of Psalms in 365 days, with each devotional providing the reader with a daily reading from a psalm. It also gives the reader a brief meditation on the meaning of the psalm and a prayer to help us to actually use it in our heart and as a way to approach God. The authors ask us to look at the prayers as what they call “on-ramps,” not as complete prayers. They ask us to follow the trajectory of the prayers and keep going, filling each prayer out with personal particulars, as well as always praying in Jesus’s name (John 14:13).
  3. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett.The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett.   Arthur Bennett (1915-1994), was an English-born minister, tutor, and author who loved to study the Puritans. He has drawn the prayers in this much loved modern-day spiritual classic from what he refers to as the largely forgotten deposit of Puritan spiritual exercises, meditations and aspirations. He states that this book of Puritan prayers has a unity not often found in similar works. The title of the book comes from Isaiah 22:1 “The oracle concerning the valley of vision….” The book was first published in 1975. The research for this book took years to complete, most likely done in the mid-1960’s through the early 1970’s.Bennett’s desire is that the publication of these prayers will help to introduce people of today to the Puritans and their writings. It is a wonderful resource to read in daily devotions, which is how I use it. Bennett states that the book is not intended to be read as a prayer manual. He writes that the soul learns to pray by praying. Thus, the prayers should be used as aspiration units, with the Puritan’s prayers becoming springboards for our own prayers. A final section of the book has been added for occasions of corporate worship.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

10 (+ a bonus!) Family-Friendly Films That I Recommend

My wife and I love to go to the movies and usually see at least one a week – thanks to MoviePass!  Unfortunately, most films have some content issues. To assist parents here are 10 family-friendly films (plus one) from the past few years, along with my original reviews, that I can recommend to you.  Just click on the name in the list below to be taken to my review.

Paddington 2

Peter Rabbit

Ferdinand

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Wonder

All Saints

Hidden Figures

Queen of Katwe

The BFG

 The Jungle Book

And here’s a bonus family-friendly film for you to consider:  Zootopia

These are 11 family-friendly films for you to consider. What other family-friendly films would you add to the list?


Leave a comment

My Favorite Podcasts

For years, I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts and I subscribe to many of them. A podcast is defined as “a digital audio or video file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically”.  Many churches make their sermons available via a podcast for example. Some of the podcasts I subscribe to are from churches or other ministries. Some of the podcasts are related to leadership or faith and work. I subscribe to all of my podcasts on iTunes. Here are my favorite podcasts that I would recommend to you:

  • The Briefing. This podcast features Albert Mohler’s worldview analysis about the leading news headlines and cultural conversations. It is required listening for me each weekend morning.
  • The Gospel Coalition. The Gospel Coalition podcasts features lectures and workshops from their conferences, as well as timely interviews and round table discussions on applying the gospel to the issues of our day. Included among the podcasts is Nancy Guthrie’s helpful “Help Me Teach the Bible”.
  • Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast. This monthly podcast features Andy Stanley talking about a variety of leadership topics.
  • Tim Keller’s Sermon Podcast. This podcast from Gospel in Life features a classic message from Keller every month or so.
  • Ravi Zacharias Podcasts. Ravi Zacharias has two podcasts that I enjoy:
  1. Just Thinking. Just Thinking is a quarter-hour weekday broadcast. This program mixes biblical teaching and Christian apologetics. The programs seek to explore issues such as life’s meaning, the credibility of the Christian message and the Bible, the weakness of modern intellectual movements, and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.
  2. Let My People Think. Let My People Think is a half-hour program heard weekly. This program mixes biblical teaching and Christian apologetics. The programs seek to explore issues such as life’s meaning, the credibility of the Christian message and the Bible, the weakness of modern intellectual movements, and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.
  • Renewing Your Mind. Renewing Your Mind is an outreach of Ligonier Ministries, founded in 1971 by Dr. R.C. Sproul. The podcasts include teaching by Dr. Sproul and the other Ligonier Teaching Fellows (Sinclair Ferguson, Derek Thomas, Albert Mohler, etc.).
  • Truth for Life. This podcast features the daily bible teaching ministry of Alistair Begg.
  • Grace to You. Grace to You is the daily podcast of John MacArthur’s bible teaching.
  • Ask Pastor John. This podcast features John Piper answering questions from listeners.
  • Unlimited Grace. This new podcast features sermons from Bryan Chapell, Senior Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, IL (where Tammy and I were married), and President Emeritus of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri (where I attended seminary).
  • Martyn Lloyd-Jones Sermons. This podcast features the sermons of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the great Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London.

Just missed:

  • Revisionist History. I really enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s books, having read them all, some more than once. Last year he introduced this podcast with ten episodes. Revisionist History goes back and reinterprets something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood. I hope that he releases some additional episodes. This is really fascinating listening. If you enjoy his books you’ll enjoy this new podcast.

I also subscribe to podcasts from the following churches Grace Presbyterian (Bryan Chapell), Christ Presbyterian (Scott Sauls) and First Presbyterian (Derek Thomas).

These are my favorite podcasts. What about you? What are some of your favorites? Please share with us.


3 Comments

NEW BEGINNINGS

Spring is a time of new beginnings as we transition from the long, cold and dark winter.  Where I live in the Midwest, while the calendar may show that it is Spring, the weather has not yet made that transition. In fact, just a few weeks ago we had our biggest snowfall of the season.
Some can get down, or even depressed, during long winters. But Jon Troast, a talented singer/songwriter I recently saw in concert, said about a period of depression that he experienced “The Lord is more concerned about our faith than our comfort.” Unlike C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, where the White Witch cast a spell decreeing that it must always be winter but never Christmas, we know that God is faithful to bring Spring and new beginnings in our lives.
Locally, farmers have not yet been in the fields to plant. My wife and I always enjoy seeing the “little green rows” of the corn and soybeans as they quickly come up out of the fertile Illinois soil. Life can come from death. Jesus himself, in speaking of the resurrection of the body, said that what you sow does not come to life unless it dies. (1 Corinthians 15:36).

I like this short poem from author Eric Metaxas, titled “Renaissance”, which speaks to new beginnings in the Spring:
“Glory, glory,” said the bee.
“Hallelujah”, said the flea.
“Praise the Lord,” remarked the wren.
At springtime all is born again.

A few weeks ago, Christians celebrated the new beginning of Jesus’ resurrection. For the believer, Easter is a wonderful time of new life and new beginnings. Shortly after Easter, I, and many of my friends and co-workers, transitioned from our long-time employer as the organization goes through a massive transformation. For many, this was very unexpected and equally unwelcome. It was like a death, and some became depressed in the months leading up to our final days. Now we are experiencing new beginnings. Some will retire, but many are looking for new jobs, new beginnings. The loss of a job, or even retirement can feel like a death. But life comes out of death. Think of how many funerals you have gone to where someone is soon to, or recently had a baby.
One of my favorite hymns is “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, with lyrics by Thomas Obediah Chisholm. It speaks to God’s faithfulness each day:
Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

For those of you that are currently in the winter season of your life, look up! Take heart. God is faithful. The sun will rise after a dark night and spring will follow winter. Look for those little green rows of refreshment. Hope and trust in the Lord and not in your circumstances.  (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

If music refreshes you, is a balm for your soul or raises your religious affections, take a listen to Andrew Peterson singing RISEN INDEED.  Here’s an excerpt:

And so the winter dies with a blast of icy wind
Like a mournful cry—it’s giving up the ghost again
Another sheet of snow melts away to gold and green
Just look at Peter go, he’s racing to the tomb to see

Where has my Jesus gone?
He is not dead; he is risen, risen indeed

And now the flowers bloom like a song of freedom
Behold the earth is new, if only for the season
And so the seed that died for you becomes a seedling
Just put your hand into the wound that bought your healing

And let your heart believe
He is not dead; he is risen, risen indeed


Leave a comment

3 Free E-Books from R.C. Sproul

Here are the last three Crucial Questions booklets from R.C. Sproul that were published before his death in December.

How Can I Be Right with God? (Crucial Questions No. 26) by R.C. Sproul. Reformation Trust Publishing. 69 pages. 2017
****

The late Dr. R.C. Sproul writes that the gospel tells us how we can be right with God. In this short book looking at the doctrine of justification. That doctrine explains how we, as unjust people, can be reconciled to a just and holy God. Justification takes place when God declares a person to be just in His sight.
The author tells us that the good news of the gospel is that we don’t have to wait until we become perfectly righteous before God will consider us and declare us righteous. We are made and declared righteous by virtue of God’s imputing to us the righteousness of Christ. Christ’s righteousness and merit are attributed to us while we are still sinners.
God declares us just, not because He looks at us and sees our righteousness, but because He sees the righteousness of Christ. God counts the righteousness of Christ for us, and does not count our own sins against us.
The author compares the Reformed view and the Roman Catholic views. In the Reformed view, the righteousness of Christ is imputed by faith to the believer. In the Roman Catholic view, the righteousness of Christ is infused into someone via the sacraments. That person must then cooperate with this infusion of grace in order to become truly righteous.
We are told that faith is the instrument by which we are linked to the righteousness of Christ. Faith is the conduit through which His righteousness is given to us. The instant someone has true faith, God declares them justified and imputes to them all of the merit of Christ, so that all that Christ is and all that He has accomplished becomes his.
The author tells us that throughout, the Bible describes the relationship between a holy God and unholy people as a relationship of estrangement. However, when we are justified, we have peace with God that is forever.

Continue reading