Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Truth About Forgiveness


In this book, MacArthur outlines the Godly attribute of 'forgiveness'.  First he explains our need of it, and how God provided it, and defined it by His example, showings us how we are to forgive as well.  I thought it was a good overview of the topic.   I thought that the book would be longer than it was (its quite small, only 118 pages), but if you want a resource to give to someone who wants to learn about the Gospel, this is a nice concise read. 

http://www.booksneeze.com/art/_240_360_Book.627.cover.jpgI liked MacArthur's point about how the escalating depravity of humanity that Paul speaks about in Romans 1 is not merely grosser sins, rather, it is the loss of conscience:  "Paul knew that those who underestimate the enormity and gravity of human sinfulness - especially those who do not see their own depravity - cannot apply the only effective remedy to their problems…to attempt to eradicate the human conscience is one of the most spiritually destructive pursuits any individual or society can engage in.   It results in God's wrath- not yet ultimate wrath (hell( or eschatological wrath ( the Day of the Lord), but temporal wrath.  That is, He removes restraining grace and turns  a person or a society over the cycle of sin without the mitigating deterrent of conscience……That is Paul's main point in Romans 1:18-32.  There he describes the judgment of God that results in humanity's decline into wanton sin.  Notice that the most dramatic feature of his narrative is not the ghastly sins he names - although he chronicles some pretty gross practices.  But the singular feature that marks each step of mankind's descent under God's wrath involves the hardening and decimation of the conscience…….Paul said God's wrath is revealed because people 'suppress the truth in unrighteousness' (Romans 1:18).  He is referring to sinners who have successfully hushed their own consciences.  'The truth'  they suppress is innately known truth about the character of God, a sense of good and bad, and a basic knowledge of right and wrong.  These things are universally known to all, 'evident within them; for God made it evident to them' (vs.19 NASB).  In other words, God manifests Himself in the most basic sense within every human conscience."

Also, his critique of modern therapy, and our turning sin into 'illness' is very pointed:  "…the number of people who suffer from such newly identified "sicknesses" is increasing even faster.  The therapy industry is clearly not solving the problem of what Scripture calls sin. Instead it merely convinces multitudes that they are desperately sick and therefore not really responsible for their wrong behavior.  It gives them permission to think of themselves as patients, not malefactors.  And it encourages them to undergo extensive - and expensive- treatment that lasts for years, or better yet, for a lifetime.  These new diseases, it seems, are ailments from which no one is ever expected to recover completely……Recovery, the code word for programs modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, is explicitly marketed as a lifelong program.  We've grown accustomed to the image of a person who has been sober for forty years standing up in an AA meeting and saying, 'I'm Bill, and I'm an alcoholic.'  Now all 'addicts' are using the same approach - including sex addicts, gambling addicts, nicotine addicts, anger addicts, wife-beating addicts, child-molesting addicts,  debt addicts, eat addicts, or whatever.  People suffering from such maladies are taught to speak of themselves as 'recovering' never 'recovered.'  Those who dare to think of themselves as delivered from their affliction are told they are living in denial….. Disease model therapy therefore feeds the very problem it is supposed to treat. It alleviates any sense of guilt, while making people feel they are victims helplessly bound for life to their affliction….(it)is disastrously counterproductive.  By casting the sinner in the role of a victim, it ignores or minimizes the personal guilt inherent in misbehavior.  'I am sick' is much easier to say than, 'I have sinned'  But it doesn't deal with the fact that one's transgression is a serious offense against a holy, omniscient, omnipotent God.  Personal guilt is for that very reason at the heart of what must be confronted when dealing with one's sin.  But the disease-model remedy cannot address the problem of guilt without explaining it away.  And by explaining guilt away, disease-model therapy does untold violence to the human conscience.  It is therefore no remedy at all, but a disastrous prescription for escalating wickedness and eternal damnation."

If you want a good, but quick explanation of the Gospel to read, or just to carry around with you to give to inquirers this would be a good choice.

I received this book as a complimentary copy from BookSneeze® in exchange for my review(which does not have to be favorable).

 I review for BookSneeze®