"The Truth About the Lordship of Christ" by John MacArthur is another installment in "The Truth About" trilogy. My expectation about the book was that it would be an examination of the life of Christ: who He is, His ministry, His fulfillment of Scripture regarding the prophesied Messiah. Instead, it was primarily focused on Christian living. It was good subject matter, just not what I was expecting.
MacArthur dives deep into what it means to truly live as a Christian and a disciple of Christ. Drawing upon a myriad of Scripture passages, he examines the many aspects of living as a disciple. The challenge for believers is great. He exhorts "[i]f you want to live correctly, expose yourself to the Word of God" (p. 80). With so much junk surrounding us in today's world and culture, it's even more crucial for followers of Christ to dive into Scriptures and allow a transformation to happen based on the Word.
Overall, he covered a lot of great topics in great detail, but the book on the whole felt a bit disjointed to me. It didn't have the same flow as the other two books in the trilogy. I appreciated his thoughts and the challenge to live a holy life (chapter 4). This book just didn't do it for me like the other two did.
I'll close with my favorite quote from the book, found in chapter 2: "Becoming a Christian means being sick of your sin, longing for forgiveness and rescue from present evil and future hell, and affirming your commitment to the lordship of Christ to the point where you are willing to forsake everything. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it isn't just holding up your hand or walking down an aisle and saying 'I love Jesus.' It is not easy, it is not user-friendly or seeker-sensitive; it isn't a rosy, perfect world where Jesus gives you what you want. It is hard, it is sacrificial, and it supersedes everything. The manifestation of true faith is a commitment that no influence can sway." (p. 27)
(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 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.
Possibly the touchiest of the three topics is the Lordship of Christ. We like to acknowledge God's sovereignty when it comes to our salvation and the redemption that allows us to get to Heaven. However, when it comes to our daily lives, we'd rather not really think about it. Why? Well, that involves submission which is fast becoming a "dirty word" in our society. We all like to believe we're in control of our own life - even if we've already recognized our need for intervention.
Acknowledging the lordship of Christ in our lives requires becoming more like Him each day and, yes, submitting to His will in all things. We need to be available to His calling and willing to obey His commands. We must undergo a sanctification process that brings us ever closer to sharing a mind with Christ. It's a big responsibility and it's a daily process that takes our entire lifetime.
In true John MacArthur style, The Truth About the Lordship of Christ offers a straightforward lesson on what it means to call Jesus "Lord" and an elaboration on His awesome character. As Christ-followers, Christians are daily being molded and formed to be more like Him so it's vital that we know Who we are molded to be like. John MacArthur offers a concise look at what it means to be a follower of Jesus--that it calls for us to submit to Him not just once but daily.
This is an easy read, written in plain, understandable language that is appealing to a wide spectrum of audiences.
I was pleased to receive this book free to review from the BookSneeze blogging for books program! I was encouraged to state my honest opinion.
I found the cover, size, font and layout of the book appealing and conducive to enjoyable reading and studying.
A breath of fresh air, this book is Biblically-sound, clear, deep and yet easy to read! Through 6 chapters entitled Lord of the Universe, Lord in Our Lives, Daily Submission, Holy Living, Confession and Restoration, and Ultimate Destination, John MacArthur tackles with wisdom such topics as justification, love and hate, God's perfect love, God's view of sinners, the lifestyle of a true Christian, daily living in Christ, the joy of Christianity, maturity and glory in suffering, sanctification, confession, repentance, assurance of salvation, etc!
Although a small book, I found it to be worth the read. I think this book would make a good gift for a new Christian friend, and for anyone unused to reading books on doctrine or Christian living which are more than double the size. Additionally, this book would be great for a child to read. And lastly, although this book is addressed to a Christian, I do recommend it for anyone; it would therefore also be a good gift choice for your unsaved acquaintances as well. It explains very clearly salvation, and how God views sin, how we must repent in order to be saved, etc.
I assure you I will not be discarding this book!
However, I did run in to two problems in the book, which I'd appreciate you reading about, especially if you are going to read the book....
Near the beginning of the book, in fact on pages 5-8, I ran into something that disturbed me. I trust John MacArthur's teachings as Scripturally-sound, but here I quote MacArthur quoting Arthur W. Pink:
''God loves whom He chooses. He does not love everybody. Is it true that God loves the one who is despising and rejecting His blessed Son? God is Light as well as Love, and therefore His love must be a holy love. To tell the Christ-rejecter that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience, as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins. The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs...''
page 246 The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W. Pink
Read more here!
John MacArthur, surprisingly, does not support this paragraph. And neither does Banner in Truth publications, supposedly as they edit this paragraph out of their publication of The Sovereignity of God! I was disappointed to hear that, because I don't know about you, but I support Pink's statement. Read an amazingly clear article here! It's wonderful.
He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father...If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him" (Joh 14:21,23)
Thou hatest all workers of iniquity" (Psa 5:5)
Ps. 135:6 Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in seas and in all deeps.
Contrary to what I would believe is right, MacArthur says: ''Pink was attempting to make the crucial point that God is sovereign in the exercise of His love. The gist of his argument is certainly valid: it is folly to think that God loves all alike, or that He is compelled by some rule of fairness to love everyone equally...
Unfortunately, Pink took the corollary too far. The fact that some sinners are not elected to salvation is no proof that God's attitude toward them is utterly devoid of sincere love.''
(pg. 7 The Truth About the Lordship of Christ)
I don't believe what Pink stated was ''going to far''!
Turning now to John 3:16, it should be evident from the passages just quoted that this verse will not bear the construction usually put upon it.
"God so loved the world"Ã¢â¬âmany suppose that this means the entire human race. But "the entire human race" includes all mankind from Adam till the close of earth's history: it reaches backward as well as forward! Consider, then, the history of mankind before Christ was born. Unnumbered millions lived and died before the Savior came to the earth, lived here "having no hope and without God in the world," and therefore passed out into an eternity of woe. If God "loved" them, where is the slightest proof thereof?
Scripture declares "Who [God] in times past [from the tower of Babel till after Pentecost] suffered all nations to walk in their own ways" (Act 14:16). Scripture declares: "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient" (Rom 1:28).
To Israel God said, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth" (Amo 3:2).
In view of these plain passages who will be so foolish as to insist that God in the past loved all mankind! The same applies with equal force to the future.
Read through the book of Revelation, noting especially chapters 8 to 19, where we have described the judgments which will be poured out from Heaven on this earth. Read of the fearful woes, the frightful plagues, the vials of God's wrath, which shall be emptied on the wicked. Finally, read the twentieth chapter of the Revelation, the great white throne judgment, and see if you can discover there the slightest trace of love. But the objector comes back to John 3:16 and says: "World means world." True, but we have shown that "the world" does not mean the whole human family. The fact is that "the world" is used in a general way. When the brethren of Christ said "Shew thyself to the world" (Joh 7:4), did they mean "Shew Thyself to all mankind"?
When the Pharisees said "Behold, the world is gone after Him" (Joh 12:19), did they mean that "all the human family" were flocking after Him? When the apostle wrote, "Your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" (Rom 1:8), did he mean that the faith of the saints at Rome was the subject of conversation by every man, woman, and child on earth? When Revelation 13:3 informs us that "all the world wondered after the beast," are we to understand that there will be no exceptions? These, and other passages which might be quoted, show that the term "the world" often has a relative rather than an absolute force. (A.W Pink- read full article here)
MacArthur, I must say, sometimes DOES sound confusing...because after stating that he thought Pink took the corollary too far, he does end up saying: ''Nor should we imagine that such hatred is any kind of blemish on the character of God. It is a holy hatred. It is perfectly consistent with His spotless, unapproachable, incomprehensible holiness. We must remember that God is Lord of the universe, and He can do whatever He wants.''
Yes! Very true. And in agreement with Pink!
In the section about ''Assurance of Salvation'' (chapter 6), I was a little tense during my first read through it since the author gives the impression near the beginning of the chapter that it is wrong to question your salvation (by examining your life and your relationship with the Lord) too much, as ''the Puritans did'' which, according to the author, encourages ''morbid introspection and utter despair.'' However, later, to my relief, MacArthur does support self-examination and explains why it is crucial. So I am willing to overlook the flaw, especially since Mr. MacArthur does assure the reader that he admires the Puritans generally.
Anyhow: I was pleased to receive this book free to review from the BookSneeze blogging for books program! I was encouraged to state my honest opinion.
The Lordship of Christ is the third installment in a trilogy of books John MacArthur has written for his "The Truth About Series." I have already reviewed the books on Grace and Forgiveness (click each to read that review). He has written extensively about the lordship of Christ in his book "The Gospel According to Jesus." This book is a brief summary of the teachings found there.
Like the other two in the series this is Bible saturated and well written. Concerning Christ's lordship in our lives MacArthur covers these topics:
1. Lord of the Universe
2. Lord in Our Lives
3. Daily Submission
4. Holy Living
5. Confession and Restoration
6. Ultimate Destination
Obviously any conversation concerning Christ as our Lord has to begin with our justification. Too many Christians believe that we can save ourselves by their works yet salvation is wholly a work of Christ alone.
MacArthur does a wonderful job of showing that after He saves us He is to be Lord in our lives and we are to submit to Him daily. He is our master and we are his slaves. (MacArthur wrote a wonderful book on how we are God's slaves which I reviewed).
The chapter on holy living spoke to me the most. This is what I struggle with daily - living the life that I claim to be living. Sanctification is a process that we must work on daily. It requires God working in us for us to do any good for Him. Those who believe that they have any good in them needs to read Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10; Romans 7:24.
Anyone who is a Christian will be a different person then they were before Christ saved them. If they are the same then there was no change and therefore Christ hasn't saved them. Difficult truths but MacArthur handles them Biblically and with love.
The last chapter deals with assurance. We as believers should find comfort in the fact that when Christ saved us we can be sure of it. We don't need to doubt whether He has justified us before God. MacArthur spends much of the chapter on how a believer sin and still be saved. An encouragement to me, a Christians who sins much more than I want.
As with the other books in the series you won't be disappointed with this one. You will be challenged and convicted. If you have issues with Christ as Lord allow the passages that MacArthur uses in the defense of Christ as Lord to speak to you and I trust that your view will change.