Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Books #3: The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur

My youth pastor was greatly influenced by John MacArthur. When I was a freshman in college, he encouraged me to read The Gospel According to Jesus and I have never looked at salvation the same ever since. At that time, I was unaware of the controversy that arose over this book and what has since been deemed "the Lordship Controversy." I simply thought as I read it that it makes sense. Jesus is my Lord.

Since that time, I have been through this book several times. Each and every time, I have been brought back to a realization of what Jesus means when He invites others to follow Him. Probably the greatest criticism of this book is by those who claim MacArthur is teaching a works based salvation. He isn't. He very clearly from the beginning states his purposes.

"Saving faith, repentance, commitment, and obedience are all divine works, wrought by the Holy Spirit int he heart of everyone who is saved. I have never taught that some pre-salvation works of righteousness are necessary to or part of salvation. But I do believe without apology that real salvation cannot and will not fail to produce works of righteousness in the life of a true believer. There are no human works in the saving act, but God's work of salvation includes a change of intent, will, desire, and attitude that inevitably produces the fruit of the Spirit" (xiii).

His purpose in this book is to show that the calling to Jesus in salvation is not one that should be taken lightly. It is not a whimsical choice. He attacks the modern day gospel that says a person can accept Jesus as their savior now and then at some later point in life give Him their life. I fear for those people that think Jesus is there just to keep them from hell, but that He is not worthy enough to surrender their life to. Yet, this is the modern day gospel!

This book is radical. This book will change the way you view your relationship to Jesus. This book will produce questions. And this book will help you grow. So read it!

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