I would recommend Ray Pritchard’s “An Anchor for the Soul: Help for the Present, Hope for the Future.” I was fortunate enough to be provided a copy in a special re-release directly from C. Grant & Company for review purposes. You can purchase a paperback copy for under $7 at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Anchor-Soul-Help-Present-Future/dp/0802415369/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300055338&sr=8-1.
My favorite chapter was titled, “The Truth about You.” Pritchard suggests, “Nothing has happened to sin, but something has happened to us. We simply don’t want to talk about sin anymore. It isn’t a polite topic, especially not in polite society. Try mentioning the word ‘sin’ the next time you go to a party and see how quickly the subject is changed” (Pritchard, 40). He goes on to say, “The world is a mess – we all know that. The world is a mess because we ourselves are messed up. The problem is not ‘out there.’ It’s ‘in us.’ The world is bad because we are bad. The world is evil because evil lurks within us” (40).
The author goes on to describe sin as . . .
* Lawlessness: Anything outside God’s design and direction.
* Transgression: Going against God’s ideas and instructions.
* Iniquity: Premeditated disobedience.
* Deviation: Twisted choices, evil deeds, and broken relationships.
* Ugliness of the Soul: Thoughts, dreams, and motivations (42-43).
He goes on to propose, “Have you ever noticed how we like to ‘rename’ our sins? We do that by assigning the worst motives to others, while using other phrases to let ourselves off the hook” (49). For example . . .
* You lose your temper; I have righteous anger.
* You are a jerk; I am having a bad day.
* You curse and swear; I let off steam.
* You are greedy; I am simply taking care of business.
* You are a hypochondriac; but I am really sick (49-50).
The bible reads, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:11-13, ESV).
Sin has consequences . . .
* Lost: Being in a place of danger, division, and destruction.
* Separation: Nothing satisfies our desire to be right with God and with others.
* Blind: Caught in darkness.
* Dead: We have eyes but cannot see. We have ears but cannot hear. We have lips but cannot speak. We have feet but cannot move.
* Enslaved: We cannot change ourselves.
* Helpless: Need to be rescued.
The author says, “The only people who think they are good enough to go to heaven are the people who don’t know how bad they really are” (56). And yet, in his loving loyalty, Christ offers mercy (giving us what we don’t deserve – judgment) and instead offers grace (giving us what we don’t deserve – salvation). So let’s talk about sin – so that we can talk salvation. Let’s focus on what has gone wrong with us so that we can offer what is right to those around us.
Official Book Description: People have honest doubts and questions about God that deserve solid answers. How do we explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way we can all understand? Ray Pritchard has updated this best-selling presentation of the gospel in a clear, straightforward way using simple language and clear Scripture references. “An Anchor for the Soul” is written with doubters, seekers, and skeptics in mind. In a clear, straightforward presentation, he answers questions such as: What is God like? How can I know Him? Who is Jesus and what did He do? What does it mean to be a Christian? Through stories and illustrations, Pastor Pritchard very personally, yet gently, challenges his readers with the Good News of Jesus Christ.