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Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Truth About Forgiveness: Book Review

“The good news about salvation starts with the bad news about sin.” (The Truth About Forgiveness, John MacArthur, page 50)

204151: The Truth About Forgiveness The Truth About Forgiveness

Quite honestly, I’m not even sure where to begin in reviewing this book because it was so good I basically underlined, highlighted, starred and arrowed every other sentence!

One of the reasons I chose this particular book from Booksneeze was because I was, at the time, having some real forgiveness issues with my father and thought this book would help.

When I received the book in late April, my husband started thumbing through it and blurted, “You are going to LOVE this book. It’s about everything you’re always talking about.” Sure enough, when I began reading it last week, I couldn’t put it down. I finished the book within 3 short evenings. Again, highlighting nearly the entire book!

Upon first glance at the title, you may think this is a book about how to forgive others. It is, but it isn’t. So if you’re looking for a book like that, this isn’t it. However, if you’re looking for an in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is, no holds bar approach to who Jesus was and is, and the Godly benefits of owning up to your sins, then this IS the book to read!

Years ago I found myself interested in the field of social work, mainly because I have a great desire to help others. One of the courses I had to take was Drug & Alcohol Counseling. After a few classes I dropped out and eventually decided social work was NOT for me, especially if we are going to be coddling people into believing that their addictions are merely diseases they can’t control.
“Perhaps the most prevalent means of escaping blame is by classifying every human failing as some kind of disease… These days everything wrong with humanity is likely to be explained as an illness… All kinds of immorality and evil conduct are now identified as symptoms… Disease-model therapy therefore feeds the very problem it is supposed to treat.” (pgs. 3, 4, 8)
“In place of evil, therapeutic society has substituted ‘illness’; in place of consequence, it urges therapy and understanding; in place of responsibility, it argues for a personality driven by impulses.” (pg. 9)
I could go on and on about this topic, because it is one so very near and dear to my heart as our society is wiping out responsibility and consequences to our actions and behaviors. This is what’s wrong with our world!

MacArthur then proceeds throughout the book to explain how bold Christ was in His ministry on the topic of forgiveness. We hear so much about healings, but we often tend to only think of forgiveness at the cross. If we do that, we miss an awful lot of Christ’s story and purpose. I recently wrote a blog (The Lion and the Lamb) about this very topic.
“[The Pharisees] could not stand the compassion that would forgive a sinner on the spot… They had their own idea of what God should be like, and Jesus simply didn’t fit the profile.” (pgs. 44, 45)
This book gives us deep insight into the contrast between Christ and the Pharisees during His ministry. It is a bold and straight forward account of scriptures, background, history and culture of that time. We’ve all heard the story told at the pulpit of Christ forgiving the sin of the paralyzed man, and the parable of the Prodigal Son, but you won’t hear them explained in such a fresh concept like MacArthur has.
“Jesus had deliberately put Himself at the center of a scenario that would force every observer to render a verdict about Him… He purposely erased every possible middle-way alternative.” (pgs. 32, 33)
“The fact that they were not ‘open’ to [the truth] did not alter Jesus’ commitment to speaking the truth—without toning it down, without bending it to fit His audience’s tastes and preferences, without setting the facts of the gospel aside to speak to their ‘felt needs’ instead.” (pg. 107)
Jesus’ ministry spoke often of being set free through the forgiveness of sins. In today’s world, most of us don’t care to admit we are sinners at all. We like the idea of having our misconduct being nurtured, justified and excused, therefore making the cross null and void for anyone seeking true healing.
“Those who seek a do-it-yourself solution to the problem of sin only shackle themselves all the more securely to their guilt.” (pg. 113)
We are a generation of medicated children and excusable sins. The church has gone soft on sin, and as Christians, we’re buying into the lie that God has evolved. We need to get real about our sin, because only when we do can we experience the true healing God intended us to have. It’s what Christ lived…and died for.

This is a great, short book to share with loved ones who are in trouble in their sins—YES, sins! I recommend sharing this book with lost friends and family members weighed down and “shackled” in guilt. And I also strongly encourage anyone who has been told that their sin is merely a disease that will never be cured to grab hold of Christ’s redeeming power, because this book could quite literally save you from yourself.

I received this book for free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.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 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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