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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Vendor: Moody Publishers
Publication Date: 2015
"Be wrong about social security, be wrong about baseball, be wrong about your career choice, but dont be wrong about where you will spend eternity."
How You Can Be Sure You Will Spend Eternity with Godits a big promise, but this short book delivers. It answers a host of questions, such as:
- Will good deeds help me get into heaven?
- Who goes to heaven and who doesnt?
- What role do I have in my own salvation?
- Can I lose my salvation if I commit a serious sin?
- Is it wrong to doubt my salvation, and what should I do if I doubt?
Dr. Lutzer takes many scriptural teachings and siphons them into clear, cohesive truths. The result is a concise, accessible book about how to be saved and be sure you are saved. It is straight gospelapplicable to the skeptic, newly saved, and long-time believer alike.
James Bradford Pate4 Stars Out Of 5Book Write-Up: Eternity with God, by Erwin L. LutzerApril 18, 2018James Bradford PateQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Erwin Lutzer has long been the senior pastor at Moody Church in Chicago. In How You Can Be Sure You Will Spend Eternity with God, Lutzer tackles the issue of assurance of salvation: How can a Christian know for sure that he or she is saved and will not go to hell after death?
Lutzer refers to New Testament passages, such as Matthew 7:21-22, which seem to indicate that there are people who think they are saved but actually are not. What, then, is the requirement for salvation? Drawing from Pauline and Johannine writings, and the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican in Luke 18:10-14, Lutzer argues that one must trust in the imputed righteousness of Christ to be saved. One accepts Christs sacrifice for sins on ones behalf, which brings divine forgiveness of sin (past, present, and future), and one accepts Gods free gift of imputed righteousness: God treats the sinful believer as if he or she lived the spiritual quality of life that Jesus lived. This differs from trusting in ones good works, which fall short in the face of Gods holiness. Lutzer sounds like a Calvinist in that he argues that the Holy Spirit needs to awaken and spiritually resurrect a person for that person to have saving faith. Lutzer also addresses the issue of assurance and what to do with doubt. He is critical of looking primarily at ones good works for assurance, yet he believes that a holy life should play some role in encouraging a person that he or she has been saved. Lutzer has a poignant chapter on doubt, as he discusses how a person can doubt his or her salvation yet have saving faith, and posits that doubt can play a constructive role in a Christians life. Throughout the book, Lutzer argues that trust in Christ is what saves, not rituals such as baptism, and he maintains that the salvation of the believer is eternally secure: it cannot be lost. In the final chapter, Lutzer lucidly responds to objections to such positions, as he offers alternative interpretations of Bible passages that have been cited in favor of contrary views.
The book is not incredibly deep, and Christians who have been around the block may not find much that is new in what Lutzer has to say. For me personally, the chapter on doubt provided helpful insights, even though Lutzer seems to vacillate between saying that believers can look at the quality of their spiritual lives as the fruit of salvation and a ground of assurance, and saying that this is not a helpful or biblical way to seek assurance. Lutzer writes in a friendly, inviting tone, as is often the case, and he tells stories of people with struggles and problems, whom he has tried to help. He also offers compelling historical anecdotes. All of this adds a tone of compassion to the book, which lightens it somewhat, since it does contain the disturbing message that non-Christians will suffer torment in hell for all eternity. Lutzer also did well to encourage Christians to let the Holy Spirit work in others rather than trying to force them to believe.
There were things that Lutzer said that initially sounded convincing, but were not as much so after some thought. For instance, Lutzer addresses the question of whether Ted Turner is saved even though he is no longer a Christian. Can a person apostasize and still be saved, since eternal security holds that a Christian cannot lose his or her salvation? Lutzers conclusion is that Ted Turner may not have had saving faith at the outset but may have trusted his works and misunderstood the Gospel. Maybe there is something to that, but there are plenty of people who did believe the right things (or say that they did) yet apostasized from the faith. That needs to be considered.
In terms of biblical exegesis, Lutzer was a mix of rather convincing, not overly convincing, intriguing, and mildly disappointing.
On where he is rather convincing, Lutzer points out that Hebrews 10:10, 14 states that Christ has perfected the sanctified for all time in arguing for eternal security. Lutzer notes Pauls strong contrast between receiving salvation by faith in Gods grace and trusting in good works. He interprets Jesus statement about being born of water and spirit (John 3:5), not in reference to water baptism, but in reference to Ezekiel 35:25-26, in which God promises to sprinkle clean water on the Israelites to cleanse them of their impurities and to give them a new heart and spirit. There, Lutzer argues, the water is spiritual, not physical.
On where he is not overly convincing, Lutzer states that the unprofitable servant of Luke 19:22-24 is still saved, yet does not reign with Christ, even though the unprofitable servant in a similar parable is cast into outer darkness and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30); the servant there does not appear to be saved. In trying to explain Hebrews 6, which some interpret to mean that Christians can lose their salvation, Lutzer vacillates between saying that the apostates were unbelievers, and saying that they merely lost temporal blessings but not their salvation. Lutzer does gymnastics to explain away I Peter 3:21s statement that baptism saves.
On where he was intriguing, Lutzer interprets passages about the Son of Man denying or being ashamed of people, not in reference to the straying Christians losing their salvation, but in reference to them losing a heavenly reward. Lutzer makes a fairly decent case that Revelation 3:5 does not mean that God will blot some Christians out of the Book of Life. In arguing against the idea that Acts 2:38 presents baptism as a prerequisite for salvation, Lutzer argues that the baptism in that verse is parenthetical: its verb is singular, whereas the verbs about repentance and receiving forgiveness of sins are in the plural. This is an intriguing suggestion, but the reason that the verb is singular is that Peter there is telling each (singular) to be baptized.
On where he was disappointing, there were so many passages that could be addressed. Lutzer seemed to be saying that a Christian could murder someone, die, then go to heaven. How would he address I John 3:15, which affirms that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him?
Something that I found ironic: In Christ Among the Gods, Lutzer argues against Christian inclusivism by saying that God does not necessarily act according to our standards of fairness. God permits inequalities in terms of peoples access to the truth. For Lutzer, those who lack access to the Gospel may still be going to hell. In Eternity with God, however, he seems to suggest that the Gospel is more inclusive than other religions: Lutzer inquires why God would only allow the religious into heaven. For Lutzer, God would not, and the Gospel provides salvation to the struggling and the grossest sinner. In both cases, Lutzer is saying that explicit belief in Christ is essential for salvation; it is just that, in the latter, Lutzer seems to be implying that the Gospel is about God making salvation easier for people.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My review is honest.
A.S. Lester5 Stars Out Of 5Clear and Biblically SoundDecember 20, 2016A.S. LesterQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Is it possible to know where one will spend eternity? Erwin Lutzer says it is, and he maintains God has made the answer crystal clear through what He has revealed and preserved in the Bible (17).
If you are struggling to understand what the Bible really says about being saved, or perhaps just curious about implications of the gospel, Lutzer's book, "How You Can Be Sure You Will Spend Eternity With God" is for you. It is a concise, but comprehensive, look at what the Bible says about salvation and how the reader can be sure he or she possesses it. In typical Lutzer fashion, he gracefully weaves together deep theological truths with simple illustrations and everyday stories to aid one's grasp of Scriptural truth. Also typical of Lutzer, you can expect to find an unwavering and unapologetic commitment to the Scriptures. This is not a book about church traditions, denominational distinctives, or political correctness. One of my favorite quotes from the book states, "The question is not whether a path looks good or even feels right. The question is: Is it God's way? Or is it what I think is God's way?" (28). In keeping with this conviction, Lutzer writes with a focus on what the Bible specifically, and clearly, says about the good news of what Jesus has done so that one can know, beyond any shadow of doubt, where he or she will spend eternity.
How You Can Be Sure You Will Spend Eternity With God will encourage the heart of the believer, assure the heart of the spiritually confused, and bring clarity to the doubtful.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
polly5 Stars Out Of 5review of 'How You Can Be Sure That You Will Spend Eternity With God'October 24, 2014pollyQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5Oh my, probably the most encouraging book I have ever read. I quite agree with a review you have that it is one of those books you really want to share with people who need to hear the wonderful news of God's salvation or who need a new burst of encouragement. Before reading, I had never fully appreciated the extent of God's love and forgiveness, Dr Lutzer has been able to convey His message in a spectacularly simple way. Yes, I highly recommend this book.
Gary Parks5 Stars Out Of 5August 23, 2010Gary ParksGREAT, I heard about the book and I ordered one right away and read it as soon as I opened the mail and loved it and I am still reading it... I beleive the LORD put it on my heart that I could use the book to breathe new life into my witnessing and I ordered as many as I could afford at the time. I have been passing them out to everyone that the LORD brings to me and sending them to Prisoners I write to. I want to send them to prisons to witness and I sure wish I could get a bunch for free...The cost makes it hard for me... I would like to get 100's of them into prisons...Can you imagine what a blessing it would be to have this book passing through the hands of 100's of prisoners...GOD bless you
Vernon K. Lockner5 Stars Out Of 5August 23, 2004Vernon K. LocknerDr. Lutzer hits a grand slam for grace in this book! Explaining the gospel in a way that anyone can understand, Dr. Lutzer shows the believer why they are completely secure in Jesus Christ. When justification before God depends upon Jesus Christ alone, through simple faith in Him alone, salvation is sure and secure. When justification before God depends upon any mixture of our works and Jesus Christ, salvation is not sure and it then becomes a false gospel (Rom. 10:3). "Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9). "Salvation belongeth unto the Lord" (Psalm 3:8). That's how we can be sure where we will spend eternity, when Jesus Christ alone is our only hope and reason for entrance into heaven. The second we think our works (either before we think we are saved or after we think we are saved) will merit us entrance into heaven, we have abandoned grace and Jesus Christ, and embraced a false, Satanic gospel. This book is one of the best books on the gospel and the security of the believer that I have ever read. I give it my highest rating. Thank you Dr. Lutzer!
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