Tuesday, January 05, 2021

You Could Have It All, by Geoffrey Thomas

Reformation Heritage Books, 2020, 96pp

This little book by the veteran preacher sets out to commend the Christian faith to thoughtful non-believers. The secular world offers much, but delivers little when it comes to living a life full of meaning and purpose. All that this world has to give isn't enough to satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart. Indeed, according to Yuval Noah Harari who is cited here, "any meaning that people ascribe to their lives is just a delusion." How could it be otherwise if the universe is the product of impersonal evolutionary processes?

Things look rather different when God is brought into the picture. In saying You Can Have It All, however, the author isn't promising his readers a trouble-free life of untold riches where no sacrifices will be necessary. Far from it. Believe and bad stuff will still happen. That isn't tough luck, but part of God's purpose for his children in which he works all things together for the good of those who love him. 

We can know this God because he has revealed himself to us in his Son the Lord Jesus Christ. In knowing God we also come to know ourselves, for human beings are made in his image. Although we have strayed from him in our sin, God offers us forgiveness and a fresh start through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. More than that, we can become children of God, living under his fatherly care and provision all our days until he takes us home to be with him for ever.

Knowing that is an essential element in learning to be contented in every circumstance in which we find ourselves. The believer has a joy that is independent of their situation, however dire, because it is rooted in the unchanging faithfulness of God. In his goodness the Lord places his children in church families where they will find the spiritual support and encouragement they need 'among the best and happiest people on earth'. 

Our Covid-stricken age is one in which we 'sit in darkness and the shadow of death'. But the 'last enemy' has been defeated by the death and resurrection of Jesus. The believer has the assurance that God will welcome them into his presence when they die. And beyond that, they will be raised to everlasting glory when the Lord comes. 

Thomas's writing reflects the rhythms and cadences of the preacher that he is. You can imagine him in full flow, delivering this material to a rapt congregation. His handling of the grand themes dealt with here is full of interest and urgency. Kermit the Frog gets a look in as well as the gloomy intellectual Yuval Noah Harari. An occasional 'big word' is thrown in here and there, but the writer's overall approach is straightforward and down to earth. 

An ideal book to place in the hands of  someone who does not yet know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

I recently discussed the book with Geoff in an online interview which you can catch on Facebook or YouTube

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