Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How The Gospel Brings Us All The Way Home by Derek Thomas

I have always loved the book of Romans. Since my time in college when I took a class on Romans, it has been one of my favorite books in the Bible. The depth of the theology Paul communicates has so radically impacted my life to the core. And in this great book, chapter eight stands as the pinnacle. Some have said that it is the greatest chapter in the entire Bible. It is this great chapter that Derek Thomas faithfully and vividly articulates in How The Gospel Brings Us All The Way Home.

Even that title should make you stop and pause. I thought the gospel introduces us to Christ, but how does it get us home? In his exposition of Romans 8, Thomas gives "a description of the Christian life from death to life, from justification to glorification, from trial and suffering to peace and tranquility of the new heaven and new earth" (xiii-xiv). He is trying to show that the gospel is what introduces us to Christ, yes for sure. But it is also the greatness of the gospel that keeps us with Christ all the way to glory. Romans 8 begins with no condemnation facing the one who is in Christ Jesus. It ends with nothing being able to separate that person from Christ.

I cannot sugar coat it at all. There are some very deep theological concepts in this book. But the deeper you go theologically, the sweeter the truth becomes to your soul. Too many people are too content with shallow thinking about Christianity. This book will force you to wrestle with some very hard truths like: Man's inability, killing of sin, being 'in Christ', predestination, justification, and glorification, and a whole host of other things. But at the end, Thomas keeps hammering home the gospel.
"The gospel guarantees that we will be brought home to glory. It is by grace that we are saved from the consequences of our sin; the same grace of God in the gospel brings us home. Better, Jesus brings us home. Our salvation is bound up not in something intangible and impersonal, but in a person--in Jesus Christ. The grace that ensures our final glorification is the grace of God in Jesus Christ. 
The gospel--the good news (Greek, euangelion)--is that God has provided for sinners like me a Substitute, One who takes my place and bears the consequences of my sin. At the cross, the wrath that my sins deserve was poured out on the Substitute. Justice was satisfied and atonement was given. My sins were imputed to the Substitute; His righteousness (obedience) was imputed to my account. I received the benefits of the cross by faith alone. 
Who is the Substitute? He is Jesus, my Savior. (114-115)
What can be said other than, "do you believe that?" Do you really believe that Jesus is your Substitute? Have you turned to Him in faith alone for your salvation? If so, then this chapter speaks to your life. It tells your story of how God is going to bring you all the way home to glory! Don't just read this book (which would be a good idea). Read Romans 8, meditate on Romans 8, memorize Romans 8 . . . consume yourself with the truth of Romans 8 as you look forward to being home in glory someday.

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