Monday, February 04, 2013

Review: Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart by J. D. Greear

4.5 out of 5 Stars
Author: J. D. Greear
Publisher: B&H Depth
Buy Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart
Reading Level: Liesure

J. D.’s personal testimony drew me immediately to Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart. He recounts asking Jesus into his hearts thousands of time and getting baptized multiple times. If you’ve read my testimony you know I was baptized as an infant in the Roman Catholic Church, baptized again around four years old, baptized again in junior high, and then again at the end of high school. Throughout my childhood until college I struggled deeply with my own salvation. I was particularly susceptible to the manipulation present in many of the messages preached at summer camp by evangelists. Many of these were filled with guilt and condemnation instead of grace and hope. The gospel was sadly absent.

I would sin, weep, and repent and then do well. I would then sin, weep, and repent and then do well. My life followed the pattern of Israel in Judges. I spent many nights up late night searching in Romans seeking God asking him why I couldn’t overcome my sin.

It wasn’t until God brought a handful of people into my life that loved the gospel and explained it in all its beauty and power that I discovered I was accepted by God and the same Spirit which changed my heart would empower me to live a life pleasing unto God (p. 18). J. D. went through a similar struggle and I believe with him that many Christians are experiecning this same cycle of sin, praying a prayer, baptism, ad infinitum.

Throughout this book J. D.’s exposition and application is balanced and straightforward. He doesn’t cover the gospel. He unleashes it. He mines down to the roots of the mountain to find the source of our confusion. For example, J. D. explains how belief and repentance are connected:
The biblical summation of a saving response toward Christ is “repentance” and “belief” in the gospel (p. 7).
Repentance and faith are heart postures you take toward the finished work work of Christ. You might express the beginning of that posture in a prayer. The sinner’s prayer is not a magic incantation or a recipe you follow to get a salvation cake. The real stuff--the stuff that matters--is the posture of repentance and faith behind the worlds you speak. The prayer is good only insofar as it verbalizes the posture (p. 8)
J. D. makes the connection between belief and repentance unmistakable. “Repentance is belief in action. . . . Biblical belief is the assumption of a new posture toward the Lordship of Christ and His finished work on the cross” (p. 40). Repenting is the shoes to belief’s feet.

The strength of this book is the focus on Christ and his finished work (“base your assurance on a promise God gave once for all in Christ” p. 12; see also pp. 11, 16-17, 27, 31, 32, 40, 118). Weaved throughout the entire message of hope and assurance in Christ is the foundation of Christ’s finished work. It’s this foundation which provides assurance because God’s faithful to his promises in Christ. I wish someone had shared this book with me in middle school or junior high. It may have saved me years of doubts and confusion. It certainly would’ve driven me to the foot of the cross. This is a book you can share with believers at any level. As someone who reads a lot I found meat in the promises of God in Christ and yet there was an approachability that the newest of believers could grasp. You won’t find a better value book for new believers on this topic.

A free copy of this book was provided by B&H Depth  If you plan on purchasing Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, support Grace for Sinners by purchasing from Amazon.

No comments: