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Amazing Commentary on Romans
November 20, 2013
Source: Free copy from Crossway for purpose of review.
I'm often amazed at some books who have more publicity than others. The Finished Work of Christ is a diamond among a sea of books.
In The Finished Work of Christ, Francis Schaeffer teaches from the first eight chapters of Romans. These were originally recorded teachings that have now been published. I'm anxious to read the next book which will be the other half of Romans, chapters nine through sixteen. The key verses for this section of Romans is found in Romans 1:16-17, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.'" Schaeffer breaks it down to only a verse or two at a time to teach on. He defines key words and themes for chapters. We're most familiar with the words justification and sanctification in the book of Romans. Schaeffer points out words we hear less and less about in the modern Church age: morality, judgment, slave for Christ Jesus, and debt of sin.
Before reading The Finished Work of Christ, I'd not read anything else by Francis Schaeffer. I was familiar with his name, a few of the books he'd written, and L'Abri. I have been blown away by The Finished Work of Christ. Several times while reading it I had to back up and re-read chapters of the book because I needed to read them "aloud". A few times I became emotional with tears in my eyes because of Schaeffer's ability to explain a passage of Romans that I'd read countless times before, yet it was as if I was reading it afresh. I feel as if a defining light has shone in to my heart. You are probably wondering, what in the world could Annette be alluding to that she has learned something new?
"The righteous shall live by faith." Romans 2:17 ESV.
Schaeffer explains I am to "live in the present by faith". Live by faith in Jesus Christ and not just with my finances, but in every single area of my life.
Why didn't I "get" this before? I don't know, hardheadedness. Probably. But, I get it now.
My dad died recently, August 18. I've thought about death and the brevity of life a lot lately, no not really a morbid thought as you might think. Death comes to all of us, some of us sooner than later.
Schaeffer teaches us to, live for just this moment, and then the next, and then the next, all by faith in Jesus Christ. We should live by faith with our jobs, driving on the freeways and highways, raising children and grandchildren, health, saving for retirement, safety. Living by faith means we turn it all over to Jesus Christ. You may be thinking: shouldn't we save for retirement? Of course. But you and I both know the economy can take a nose dive and all our hard earned savings can blow away like dust. From beginning to end, have faith in Jesus, that somehow and someway He is going to work it all out.
A second point I want to bring out that came alive for me:
"But our greatest human talent may have nothing to do with our greatest usefulness to God...We must be dead to the big things even those that seem to be good, if we're to be alive to God...the Christian's chief calling is to love God and to be in fellowship with Him. If we are seeking to be big in the eyes of the world, we will not be alive to God." page 165-166.
How often have I wanted to do big things for God. I'm ashamed to even express this. Think about it, how can I do anything big for God. God is God and I'm not. Yet, people who have talents in music or art, public speaking, writing, using these talents must be used for God?
Frances Schaeffer states emphatically: we are called to love and serve God first. We are His servant to do with as is in His will. We give ourselves over to Him in faith, to do with as He wills. This can be a hard concept and truth to grasp. People in the Christian community encourage other Christians to do big things for God; however, God may be calling the person do something quiet, something no one will cheer on, and no one will notice but God.
I had to read and report on this book while working on my Masters in Biblical Counseling. This book bought the clear and resounding truth of Gods word home on Justification by faith. Clear sound doctrine of faith by grace in Christ Jesus; as the Word of God instructs. We are now going to use this as a required read in our Church Seminary.
A remarkable writing from a remarkable man. Full of timeless truths, Schaeffer's comentary is a landmark. Read the writings from the man that greatly influenced Tim LaHaye, Frank Peretti, R.C. Sproul, and countless others.