Thursday, October 23, 2008

Death By Love: Letter to Thomas

I have been reading portions of Mark Driscoll’s new “Death by Love: Letters From The Cross”. It is a very good book that deals with serious pastoral issues and how the cross of Jesus has comfort and hope. The format of the book is rather interesting; it is made up of letters from Driscoll to people in his church dealing with specific issues in their life. The issues dealt with are real and sometimes very painful things people face. The letter I read today dealt with Thomas a middle-aged man, married with kids. On the outside Thomas seems pretty put together and devoted to his family, but “there hasn’t been one day that Thomas hasn’t looked at porn on the computer”. Thomas approached Mark in counseling appearing broken over his sin, but Mark soon found out that he wasn’t. Thomas wanted to confess his sin, feel better and never change. This is not repentance as the bible states, instead it is guilt avoidance, Thomas had no intention to biblically repent. Thomas did not want anyone especially his family to know, but Mark being a loving pastor, told Thomas that he had to tell his wife and work towards reconciliation.

Mark’s letter to Thomas deals with the hope of reconciliation and freedom from sin found at the cross of Jesus. Mark delivers a hard rebuking letter that is passionately gospel filled. Mark shows Thomas how he is in slavery to sin, and that his heart is hardening much like Pharaoh’s did in Exodus. Thomas’ only hope for freedom is found in the power of the cross and God’s transforming grace. Mark gives Thomas a list of things needed and while doing this is emphatic to show that this list is not works for salvation. This is what Mark tells Thomas about the power of the gospel:

“The good news is that God is more powerful than anything, including your sinful desires. If you turn from sin and trust in Jesus, God the Holy Spirit will indwell you. As a result, you will receive a new power by which to say no to your sinful desires and yes to the holy desires of God. Unless you become a Christian, your sin will continue until it leads to death and the wrath of God being poured out upon you eternally in hell.” (pg. 63)

Mark ends the letter in humility. Mark sees a lot of himself in Thomas and admits to Thomas that apart from God’s amazing grace would be in the same boat Thomas is in. this letter does not come across as a mean, arrogant pastor just wagging his finger at one of his sheep. This letter shows the love of the under shepherd who loves his sheep enough to use the rod when needed.

I highly recommend this book to all, especially those that often find themselves doubting and wondering about God’s love.

To buy “Death By Love” click here

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