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Reconciled to God

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A brief and concise exploration of the effects of the fall of man and how we can be reconciled to God through the Gospel message of Christ.

Synopsis

In the heart of mankind, there is a deep longing which never seems to be met. This short book seeks to show why all our striving for peace, goodness, and joy have been fruitless: We have been searching in the wrong places. In this age where an overwhelming amount of information is at our fingertips, it can be difficult to find truth among the chatter. This book aims to faithfully present our greatest problem and need, and the solution according to the Bible – the best-selling book of all time.

[Note: This book was provided free of charge by ReedsyDiscovery in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]


It is remarkable that there remains to the present day such an apparent demand for writings that discuss how it is that humanity is to be reconciled to God and each other. Given the fact that there is a false dilemma about reconciliation as being a matter of believers earning salvation through our meritorious deeds (a feature of many religions throughout the course of human history) or being an entirely passive matter that leads us to be hostile to the law because we judge it as legalism (the sort of cheap grace that comes from false ragamuffin gospels), it is immensely praiseworthy that the author manages to avoid these pitfalls by properly understanding that while the law and obedience to the law do not relate to our salvation, they do relate to the service that we give to God and to others as a result of having been saved from sin and death.


This book is a short one, only containing six chapters that give a brief overview of the state of mankind according to the Bible and the nature of the grace that God has provided to us. The author begins with a preface and then a discussion about the emptiness in our souls that many of us feel as human beings, that leads us to seek reconciliation with God, although frequently on our own terms rather than on biblical grounds (1). The author then returns, as is sensible, to the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden and points out the hostility between God and man, and within mankind as a result of the repercussions of sin (2). After that, the author discusses the Gospel message of grace and reconciliation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the imputed righteousness of Christ (3), as well as the response of the sinner to believe in Jesus Christ, and to be transformed from a rebel and an enemy of God to a servant and adopted child (4), who is united with Christ (5). The author then emphasizes, correctly, that righteousness for the believer is a matter of service to God and others rather than of seeking salvation through our merits (6), and the author also recommends a work of his that discusses practices of the early church, after which the author concludes, and includes a substantial bibliography and end-notes for his various quotations.


This book represents a point as close to biblical truth that one can get from the point of view of Hellenistic Christianity as opposed to apostolic Christianity. The author does not recognize the seventh day Sabbath and Holy Days as being part of the moral law, and does not urge that believers follow the early disciples in Sabbath observance, or an understanding of how the Holy Days show the plan of God for humanity. The author does correctly note biblical baptism as being for believers, at least given the biblical example, although he is apparently quite tolerant of those who hold to infant baptism. Even so, despite the fact that the author wrestles with the boundaries of moral law, as it relates to what is still proper, and godly service for Christians too, this book gets the core of repentance from dead works and reconciliation to God through the acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ right, and that is to be celebrated and appreciated. Although I wish that he would emphasize the nature of the service that we are to undertake as believers more than he does, it does not minimize the achievement that this short book represents as a concise discussion of the relationship between law and grace and the repentant believer.

Reviewed by

I read a wide variety of books, usually reviewing three a day, from diverse sources, including indie presses and self-publishing, and I enjoy talking about unfamiliar authors and introducing them to my blog audience.

Synopsis

In the heart of mankind, there is a deep longing which never seems to be met. This short book seeks to show why all our striving for peace, goodness, and joy have been fruitless: We have been searching in the wrong places. In this age where an overwhelming amount of information is at our fingertips, it can be difficult to find truth among the chatter. This book aims to faithfully present our greatest problem and need, and the solution according to the Bible – the best-selling book of all time.

The Emptiness in our Souls

In the heart of mankind, there is a deep longing that never seems to be satisfied…an emptiness that we try to fill with possessions, relationships, and the work of our hands but, each time we possess or achieve the thing we think will fill the void, we find that the emptiness has grown deeper. Like nostalgia from an old memory. It can almost be grasped when we see a beautiful sunset, share a meal with those we love, or hear a beautiful piece of music but it always seems to barely slip through our fingers. It is shown in how easily we become discontented, how feverishly we are always seeking that which will bring us peace and fill the emptiness, but we never quite find it.

We accumulate possessions but, before we know it, they lose their luster. We seek to meet the longing inside of us through other people, such as a lover or child. We soon become frustrated because we find that they cannot appease the relentless hunger of our emptiness. We think we can achieve our way to peace with education, promotions, or trophies. It seems that, no matter what we gain or achieve, the emptiness always returns. Some live their whole lives in this never-ending cycle of obtaining followed by emptiness, often turning to alcohol or drugs to numb the despair. Others surrender and end up in prison, a mental institution, or dead.

Are we meant to live our lives with this constant longing that never seems to be filled? C.S. Lewis points out:

 

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex.[1]

 

I propose that the deep longing in our hearts is meant to be met—we have just been looking in the wrong place. God says in Jeremiah 2:13, “They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”[2] We look here and there, trying to find fulfillment in anything besides God. J. C. Ryle tells us of the danger of seeking our fulfillment in earthly pleasures:

 

All that glitters is not gold. All that tastes sweet is not good. All that pleases for a while is not real pleasure. Go and take your fill of earthly pleasures if you will—you will never find your heart satisfied with them. There will always be a voice within, crying, like the leech in Proverbs 30:15, "Give! Give!" There is an empty place there, which nothing but God can fill. You will find, as Solomon did by experience, that earthly pleasures are but a meaningless show—promising contentment but bringing a dissatisfaction of spirit—gold plated caskets, exquisite to look at on the outside, but full of ashes and corruption within. Be wise in your youth. Write the word "poison" on all earthly pleasures. The most lawful of them must be used in moderation. All of them are soul-destroying if you give them your heart.[3]

 

One catechism aptly states: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”[4] When we seek to live life apart from God and His original design for humanity, we are living apart from the source of the peace, goodness, and joy we are seeking. Jesus Christ beckons you:

 

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.[5]


[1] C. S Lewis, The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics (San Francisco, Calif.: Harper San Francisco, 2007), 114.

[2] Jeremiah 2:13, NIV

[3] J. C. Ryle, Thoughts for Young Men, Kindle (Prisbrary Publishing, 2012), Kindle Location 277.

[4] The Westminster Shorter Catechism, 1647, Question 1.

[5] Matthew 11:28-30

About the author

I am married with two little boys and we live in Burton, Michigan. I currently work at General Motors. I am pursuing education in theology and my hobbies include playing guitar and board games. view profile

Published on February 14, 2020

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10000 words

Genre: Christian

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