Perhaps you’ve heard that old saying: everyone wants to get to heaven, but no one wants to die to get there. In many ways it seems that we have dummied down the Gospel to the point that even though we have to die, we don’t have to change. It’s a simple omission. We invite people to invite Jesus into their heart, to accept Him as Savior, but we forget to tell them that they are also supposed to invite Jesus to be LORD of their lives. Although we don’t use these words, the unspoken message is ‘say the prayer; congratulations, you’ve got the golden ticket to paradise, now you’re free to go forth and sin happily ever after.
People are so anxious to do their part for the Kingdom, that they share the gospel, ask for a decision, but then forget to tell the rest of the story. We forget to tell them that eternity with Jesus starts at the moment of decision—not 5 seconds after you die. We forget to tell them about transformation, and how certain things are expected of Christians, not to earn salvation but out of gratitude for that free gift. We forget to tell them that being a Christian is more than an hour a week in a building that doesn’t look like any other place we visit during the week, singing music totally unlike anything we listen to from Monday to Saturday, and wearing clothes that just a short time ago we would have sworn would never be found on our bodies, or even in our closets. We forget to tell them about Jesus as LORD of our lives.
So, for those of you who have the ‘Jesus as Savior’ part of the good news down, but fall short when it comes to ‘Jesus as LORD’, Dr. Jason K. Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has done you a favor by writing Being a Christian: How Jesus Redeems All of Life (B&H Publishing, 2018).
The premise is simple. The Gospel is not only the Good News, it’s also the Best News in all of history, but there are still a lot of people who need help answering a simple question: What does it mean to be a Christian? And so, Allen walks us through life with the gospel. Our lives as Christians are not meant to be compartmentalized: marriage, family, work, money, play. These are not things that we should try to separate from the gospel. It’s not these hours are for family, these for work, these for sleep, these for recreation, and a couple of hours on Sunday for Jesus. We are meant to be first and foremost Christians who have jobs, families, hobbies, and bank accounts. The trick is how to get them to work together.
Each short chapter deals with one area of our life which we are called to turn over to Jesus’ LORDship. Why, based on scripture, and even a little bit of how. The gospel impacts all of life, so this is a good reminder for the mature Christian, and a good starting point for the new believer. A good tool for a Sunday school class or a small group.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.