Thursday, January 3, 2008

TGWJ: Understanding the Why of Justification

Last night while reading The God Who Justifies, I was reminded once again how many important things I have put on my mental "do that later" list, that I never get to. Ironically, it's that mental to-do list that is sitting right at the top of things to finally get to in 2008. One such thing on the list, is reading from start to finish, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, by Jonathan Edwards.

While I have read parts of it (probably enough parts to say I've read the whole thing, in seperate chunks) I've never just sat and read the sermon from beginning to end (and then taken the time anyone should, to really consider what I've just read). I don't even have a good excuse to offer as to why I never have done this, other than to say it's the language it's written in, that makes it hard for me to read it, meditate on it, and really appreciate it. I know that sounds like a lame excuse, but it's the only one I have. As a busy mom I guess other things have just taken top priority and this has just sat there on the list.

Dr. White, in The God Who Justifies, uses this sermon as an illustration to show the kind of preaching that was once commonly used to show unsaved men their true need for a Savior, in contrast to the kind of preaching we hear today that is really just a bargeload of fluff and affirmation that "I'm okay - you're okay". It's been the departure from preaching about the just wrath of God against all unrighteousness, that has brought about the vast lack of understanding of what justification truly is (among evangelicals), and why we as Christian people should have a sense of joy and privelege to not only understand it but be so ever-mindful of it.

In my opinion, such a departure truly is a criminal mishandling of God's word, as Dr. White wrote about in another of his books, Pulpit Crimes. The result has been countless Christians who are never hearing the depth of not only God's wrath, but but God's grace as well. We're ill-equipped when it comes to this subject partly due to those standing in the pulpit that shy away from preaching on this subject for fear of offending someone listening. While every man and every woman is responsible to read his or her own Bible themselves and study on their own, hearing preaching like this would only start a fire under us that would compel us to study more, and appreciate being under solid preaching!

To remedy this situation of never having read Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, I've decided to listen to it instead, at sermonaudio. You can too, and if you're like me and have never read it or heard it, I would encourage you to do that today. I'm glad I finally did.