Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Book Review: Experiencing The Trinity

Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God. Joe Thorn. 2015. Crossway. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]

From the introduction:
What follows are fifty daily readings that reflect on God and the gospel and how they overcome our fear, failure, pain, and unbelief.

I loved, loved, LOVED Joe Thorn's Note To Self. It is a little book that I've read and reviewed twice now. If you haven't read it yet, you should, you really should! It's WONDERFUL.

Experiencing the Trinity is a follow-up of sorts. Fifty devotionals addressed directly to YOU. Thorn is a big, big believer that believers need the gospel every single day, that believers should 'preach' the gospel to themselves daily. This book does that within the framework of learning about grace and the trinity.

It is divided into three sections: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Entries from the first section include: "He is Holy," "He Is Present," "He Is Good," "He Is Love," "He Forgives," and "He Is Father." Entries from the second section include: "His Humanity," "His Deity," "His Poverty," "His Love," "His Obedience," "His Suffering," "His Death," "His Resurrection," "His Reign," and "His Return." Entries from the third section include: "He Regenerates," "He Indwells," "He Intercedes," "He Comforts," "He Teaches," "He Points to Jesus," "He Sanctifies," and "He Resurrects."

Each message is rich in scripture and doctrine. And I loved how straight-forward and relevant the messages were.

I loved this book. I did. I absolutely loved it. I loved the scriptural focus. I loved how simple and straightforward it was. I loved how relevant it was. But most importantly I recognized how needed it was. These fifty reflections speak truth--needed truths. Thorn's book is a blessing to believers.


From the introduction:
Preaching God’s Word to yourself is not necessarily a quick fix for your sorrows and suffering. At times God will delay granting you relief in order to draw you closer to himself. He might want to teach you just how helpless you really are and how all-sufficient he really is. Sometimes God will allow you to suffer for a season to test and strengthen your faith.
"He is Good"
The doctrine of God’s goodness is at the heart of some of your struggles. You affirm that God is sovereign and present, but you still fear and doubt his goodness. God is good, which means that he always does what is right; this stems from his very character. He is not good according to the standards of man. He is far better than that. He is trustworthy. Because God is who he is, you can trust him in all things at all times. He is good and upright, and he instructs sinners in the Way. Do you see that? He instructs sinners. He doesn’t abandon them, but he teaches them. Such an education is often painful. He convicts his children of sin; he afflicts their consciences that they may better see the ugliness of their corruption. But he does this with care and from a caring heart. It is his goodness that moves him to care for them in these ways. Understanding that God is absolutely sovereign will do you little good if you do not also understand his goodness. He is not simply calling the shots, ordering the days of your life in some arbitrary way. What he does with and to you is always good, even if it doesn’t seem that way.
"He Forgives"
Until a person knows his guilt, he cannot know pardon. Until you feel the bondage of your guilt, you cannot find the freedom of forgiveness. In this sense, guilt is not your enemy. Yes, guilt before God is the greatest problem a human being must face. That guilt will destroy you. But the sense of that guilt is itself a gift that should lead you to the only one who can deal with it. Do you see? Your guilt can ruin you, but your sense of guilt can guide you. Your guilt before God is your own. You have no defense for your actions. There is no self-justification for your thoughts and choices. But your sense of all this should lead you not to an empty despair that ends in death, but to a hungry despair that seeks and feasts on grace! It’s good that your sins bother you. They should. They are an offense and affront to God. But your tendency to lose hope in light of them is not of faith, because faith believes and receives the pardon of God. He forgives his people. Read that again: God forgives his people. He sees your guilt, takes it from you, and gives it to his Son, who willingly received it and its punishment on your behalf. This is what it means to be saved. You have been pardoned for crimes you have committed, rescued from the justice of God to rest in the mercy of God. Despite what so many are saying these days, you do not need to forgive yourself. You need to be forgiven.
"He Regenerates"
The world often makes a big deal out of near-death experiences. But you have experienced something far greater. You have gone from true death to true life by the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration. The Spirit’s work of regeneration is the instantaneous life-giving work of renewal. You experienced this at a specific point in time— that moment when you were brought from spiritual death to spiritual life. When Jesus said one “must be born again,” he implied that this is not a decision to make but a gift to receive. In fact, it is this gift, this sovereign change of your heart, that led to your faith. You believe because God made you alive by his Spirit. Get this. God chose to give you life. This irrevocable gift of life has forever changed you. You are now a new creation, with a new heart that loves, new eyes that see, and new power that motivates what you do. That you have been born again is not merely a spiritual experience, a thing that happened and changed your perspective. It is a transformation of your soul, and because of it you are not who you once were. One must be born again to see the kingdom of heaven. There is no sight apart from this work. There is no life apart from it. And this is why you pray to God for regeneration. This is why you can have real hope in evangelism and church growth. God grants salvation. The Spirit of God gives new life; he causes people to be born again (John 3: 6–8; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:3). And since this is the sovereign working of God, something far beyond your control, you pray that he would do what only he can do. Do you long for the salvation of your loved ones? Are you anxious about the eternal state of people you care about? Do you share the gospel with the hope that many will believe? Then you must pray for the Holy Spirit to regenerate them. By asking him to do a work that he alone can do, you move out of the realm of wishing people would believe to seeking their faith by the work of God.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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