Book Review: The Finished Work of Christ

9781433531545m

Two summers ago, I was finishing up a School Law class at Liberty University and was first introduced to the writing of Francis Schaeffer through his book How Should We Then Live? which I reviewed here.  Since then, I’ve enjoyed a number of his articles and commentaries on theology, doctrine, and other topics regarding spiritual growth.  I was particularly intrigued by the title of  The Finished Work of Christ as the cover describes it’s focus as the truth of Romans 1-8.  The book of Romans is such a great resource for anyone seeking a clear understanding of what the gospel is all about.  In this work, Schaeffer takes Romans 1-8 and exegetes the text with a particular focus on Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

I would recommend this book to anyone that seeks to understand Romans more deeply…particularly when considering our current culture and what it means to subscribe to a faith that points to absolute truth and a Savior who keeps His promises.  Grace upon grace upon grace.

I highlighted several things while reading and posted my notes below…

Romans 1:7a
The New Testament teaches that you are a saint as soon as you accept Christ as your Savior.  Christ has taken your guilt and you are clothed with His perfection.  If a little boy puts on his father’s overcoat and buttons it above his head, you see nothing but the overcoat.  Likewise, when God looks at us, He sees nothing but the righteousness of Jesus Christ that covers us.  
JUSTIFICATION Romans 1:18-4:25
There was much greater knowledge of Christianity in past generations.  We are living in a post-Christian world today.
Romans 1:21b
When people refused to thank God and give Him the glory, their hearts and imaginations became dark and vain.  This is not the vanity of a girl spending two hours in front of the mirror combing her hear.  It is the vanity of the creature not willing to be the creature, but wanting rather to be the creator at the center of the universe.  
If the problem with mankind is his rebellion against God, then no amount of treating the result is going to bring any real cure.  One must treat the malady directly, which is the rebellion against God.  No cosmetic covers will provide the necessary cure.
We all stand condemned before God.  None of us can be haughty because of any “holy mountain” we might claim.  Anything that might cause us to be proud is only a reason for greater judgement.  
If we have the Bible, if we enjoy all the blessings it brings, and yet by our lives bring shame upon God’s name, we are guilty of the greatest irreverence.  
How many finite buckets of righteousness would it take to dump into an infinite chasm of infinite guilt?  It’s impossible!  Having once sinned against an infinite God, the chasm is infinite and nothing we can dump in this chasm can fill it up. 
When we accept Christ as our Savior, all of our sin is put on His account.  Because He suffered infinitely on the cross, He can pay our infinite debt!
SANCTIFICATION Romans 5:1-8:17
Romans 6:10b
Jesus died once for all, but now He continues to live “unto God.”  He died, not just to die, but to be alive to God.  
Being alive to God does not mean being dead to a series of rule; it means being dead toward self.  And this death to self is not just so that we might suffer but so that we might be alive to God.  
The Christian life does not mean always being as active as possible.  The Christian life means being quiet and still in our fellowship with God, so that we can be alive to Him.  
There is no real Christian work done except as people are dead to both good and bad at that moment and are yielded only to God.
When we come to this place of being totally yielded to God, we will not only enjoy Him more deeply, we will find far greater enjoyment in all our natural human relationships as well.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
If we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we will never have to face  the prospect of eternal condemnation.  Eternal life is forever.  Eternal life is eternal.  If we have taken Jesus as our Savior, our condemnation is past forever.
The past aspect of salvation, if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, is our justification: The guilt of our sin is gone.  The present aspect of salvation is sanctification, which is salvation from the power of sin.  Then there is the future aspect, glorification, which will be salvation from the very presence of sin, and which will take place at the Second Coming of Christ.  
GLORIFICATION Romans 8:18-39
We long for the day when Christ will be completely honored and praised in our body as well as in our mind and spirit.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:30
Too often God’s choosing is presented in such a cold theological fashion.  It is treated as though it were merely a process of selection and elimination.  But when Paul wrote these words, he had only one purpose: to give you assurance.  If the idea of predestination is presented in such a way that it decreases your assurance, then it isn’t being presented the way the Bible teaches it.  The Bible only teaches about God’s choosing in order to give you assurance of your salvation.  If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, your heart can be still.  He’ll carry you through the gates of glory.  
Yes, if you have believed on Jesus as your Savior, go ahead and pull back the curtain.  Dare to look ahead.  Look ahead to the day when your body will be resurrected, when with your resurrected eyes you will see the glories of the redeemed, restored creation.  Look ahead to the day when, free in your glorified state from the very presence of sin, you will live with your Lord forever.  And when the storms of life come, and we stumble, and we cry out, “Oh God, will I be there?”  the answer is, Eternal life is forever; beloved, be still, you will be there.  You do not need to worry.  If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you will be there.  And this rests upon the work of the whole Trinity. 

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