"The Truth About Forgiveness" by John MacArthur is another book in "The Truth About" trilogy. In this book, the focus is forgiveness, both our need to receive it and to give it. He opens the book with a look at our utter sinfulness and need for a Savior. By starting with a portrait of humanity's total depravity, he sets the stage for the rest of the book: "It is the good news that man's sin can be forgiven, guilt can be removed, life can have meaning, and a hopeful future can be a reality" (p. 16). MacArthur then goes on to show that forgiveness comes from God alone through Jesus Christ and the extent to which we are forgiven. It is a beautiful picture of the love of God toward His people. He brilliantly weaves together our sinfulness, our need for forgiveness, and the grace and love of God poured out on humanity through Jesus Christ.
My two favorite portions of the book were in-depth looks at the story of the paralyzed man (Luke 5) and the story of the prodigal son. He helps the reader to better understand the culture of the day in order to fully grasp the depth and beauty of the story. I now have a much greater appreciation for those stories as a result of the teachings from this book.
It is a quick read, but so rich in its concepts and deep in its teachings. It is a fabulous book for individual study or for a small group study. Either way, it should be a must-read for all serious people of faith!
(I've received this complimentary book from Thomas Nelson Publishing House through the Book Sneeze program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)
Part of why I like John MacArthur is because he doesn't pull punches. He stays pretty close to the Bible whenever he expounds topically and always provides practical insights and wisdom. I'm currently enjoying a daily dose of his thoughts with Moments of Truth: Unleashing God's Word One Day at a Time and I always have at least one of his books in my "to-read" stack. This series (The Truth about...), offers a few thematic quick reads (about 100 pages) that cut to the chase on some popular topics.
First on the docket is forgiveness. MacArthur wastes no time before stepping on some toes, implicating modern society for their efforts to remove the need for forgiveness. We already have a built-in defense mechanism, and it's as old as mankind: passing the blame. Just as Adam passed the blame on to Eve and she passed it on to the serpent, today we blame illness. It's not "the Devil made me do it" anymore, it's "the disease made me do it."
MacArthur cuts through all the excuses to get to the heart of the issue. We all sin and we all need forgiveness. And that's the essence of our lives. The hope that we have is in knowing that God wants to and has forgiven us. As we become molded more in His likeness, it is our duty (and should be our desire) to forgive others, as well.
Does anyone really want to forgive? Or admit that we need forgiveness? Whether we're giving or receiving, forgiveness is hard. It seems unfair. It feels unnatural. And as best-selling author and pastor John MacArthur demonstrates, forgiveness apart from Christ is unnatural. It is only as we understand our need, Christ's power and example, and what it really means to love that we can embrace two of the most liberating acts of love: forgiving and being forgiven.
I have always enjoying listening to John MacArthur's sermons and reading his books because he always tackles the issues at hand head-on. He doesn't mince words. Every sentence he writes seems very well thought out and is filled with Biblical truth. His take on the prodigal son story is a very touching and could be life-changing for many people. I'm sure many of us have heard a lot of sermons about the prodigal son. John MacArthur delves into the details of the story and brings to the surface a portion that I had always skipped over without realizing it. The prodigal son's father had been keeping an eye out for him ever since he had left. And when he spotted him coming home, he ran to him to embrace him and forgive him before his son had the chance to even say a word. MacArthur explains that the very act of running was something that would be very out of place in the Middle Eastern culture of that time. It actually would have been shocking to the Pharisees who were chomping at the bit to hear about how the prodigal son had been punished. MacArthur draws a wonderful parallel to the forgiveness offered to us in the gospel and challenges us to remember that it's not because of anything we have done that we are forgiven. He writes "God does not love us for what we are. He loves us in spite of what we are. He does not love us because we are special. Rather, it is only His love and grace that give our lives any significance at all ... God loves us because He is love; love is essential to who He is. Rather than viewing His love as proof of something worthy in us, we ought to be humbled by it."
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to learn more about God's forgiveness and what a truly amazing gift it is to us.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Surprisingly, the Truth about Forgiveness by John MacArthur is a small book; a little over a hundred pages, but it is packed with information and truth! First, I had a lot of questions about forgiveness and this book answered most of them, though at times it seemed a bit harsh. Yet still really good and filled with Scripture to back things up.
If you have questions about forgiveness, I can't think of a better book to read, in spite of (or especially) because it is a short, small book.
I received this book from Booksneeze and I was not required to write a positive review.
Well, I did it. I read all three of John MacArthur's new trilogy of books - "The Truth About...." The last one in my reading list was "The Truth About Forgiveness". And let me just start by saying, although it was the last one I read, it was not the least. This book packs a lot of theology, wisdom, and Truth. And, just like the two before I read, it is easy to read and understand.
I started this book with the preconceived notion that it was about how we should have forgiveness for one another. But this isn't as much about our forgiveness of others as it is about the deep, costly, selfless forgiveness of our sins by our Lord Jesus Christ.
This book will have you examining your faith, your forgiveness... your repentance. John MacArthur dives in and defines sin, repentance, forgiveness. I was prepared for this to be a book that covered everything I had already heard, read or knew. I wasn't prepared to walk away in a state of worship at the foot of the Cross, so incredibly thankful for my undeserved gift of salvation and constant mercy.
My favorite part is when Pastor MacArthur goes through the Prodigal Son parable in Luke. He expands on the culture and the meaning behind the meaning. I have heard that parable used so much, but I will never look at it the same way again after that.
This is a great book and I highly recommend reading all three in this series. You will want to read them again and again.
God bless ya'all!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not asked or required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are completely my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."