I would highly recommend Chris Seay’s “The Gospel According to Jesus: A Faith that Restores All Things.” I was fortunate enough to be provided a copy in a special pre-release directly from Thomas Nelson Publishers for review purposes. You can purchase a hardback copy for under $14 at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-According-Jesus-Restores-Things/dp/0849948169/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1289197763&sr=8-2) or directly from the publisher at http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=0849948169&title=The_Gospel_According_to_Jesus&author=Chris_Seay.
My favorite chapter was titled, “We Fell, but Can We Get Up?” Seay suggests, “Sin is about relationships, not about rules. We are meant to reflect God, and if we are to do that, there must be an unobstructed connection in our relationship to God” (Seay, 88). He goes on to say, “Shame. Guilt. Embarrassment. Blame. Temptation often snares our pride with promises to know the great mysteries and possess the knowledge that will make us like God, or give us power. So sin – as you see it in your own story and in Genesis – is rooted in selfishness; it is an expression of narcissism” (90). The most chilling part of the book is the way he describes how much sin had robbed the world’s first inhabitants. The author proposes, “This is a pain that Eve knew as sin began to transform the world she lived in A blast of pain suddenly entered her family when one of her sons murdered the other. What a world, right? Only years before, she was lingering picking fruit, lounging naked with her husband, and strolling with God. Suddenly, tragically, she is experiencing the most devastating kind of grief a mother could know” (92).
How fast and far does humanity fall. Hear the contrast as the bible reads, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord'” (Genesis 4:1, ESV). Life . . . even in the midst of being banished. But then we read, “The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it'” (Genesis 4:8, ESV). Sin crouches. Sin destroys. Sin taints and tarnished a heart that was meant to display the image of God. Death.
So why do we insist on flirting with sin? Attempting to get as close as possible to rebellion without becoming a rebel? Look at what it cost Eve? Her children? Was it worth it? She had Paradise and ended up with Hell on Earth. Do we think it will be any different with us? As if we can outsmart the system? As if we can do what Eve did and not get what she recieved? As if our family won’t reap the rewards of our rebellion?
And then there is the thought that you and I are not that far from Cain. Are we? We probably see far too much of him in us and therefore do everything in our power to draw attention to other people’s sin. Do we really believe that everyone was created to display the glorious and good image of God? Or do we think that certain individuals or people groups have gone too far and therefore are unable to return? That God’s limitless grace is really with limits? How many of us are guilty, at one time or another, of labeling people by their sins rather than praying for their salvation? I guess what I am really trying to ask is this . . . why do we love sin and hate people? Isn’t this as contrary to Christ as one can get? Allow his grace to restore you . . . and extent that grace to someone else that they might share in Life.
Official Book Description: True Christianity is about restoring what is broken. Surveys indicate that 84 percent of Christians have a misunderstanding of the true meaning of the word righteousness. Referring to God’s restoration of our sinfulness and not personal piety or some code of moral purity, pastor Chris Seay offers that Jesus came to breathe life and light into the depths of all darkness. This gospel that lives according to the ways of Christ is the true Christianity. It gives us a new way to see the world and brings God’s restoration to marriages, to the sick and diseased, even to the environment, and he offers a deeply personal spiritual transformation for all followers of Christ. Whether it’s building a park bench at a bus stop or bringing groceries to the sick, the gospel of Jesus restores the heart, the mind, and the body.