The Everest of the Bible, as some have called it, is chock full of deep doctrine, practical applications and some very confusing passages. Elyse Fitzpatrick has trekked to the summit of Romans and shares her experiences and struggles gleaned from the pages of this remarkable letter the Apostle Paul wrote many years ago. In Comforts from Romans: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time Fitzpatrick has done a remarkable work for the body of God. She brings comforts for those climbing towards the summit and gently challenges those who would stand at the base and simply watch.
If you ever wanted to read a 147 summary of what the gospel is and what Christ has accomplished on our behalf then you need to read this book. This summation of Romans 8 is a very somber reminder of the Christ who has come down in human form, lived in complete obedience to the law, abstained from any sin, hung on a bloody cross, rose from the dead and intercedes on our behalf before the Father in heaven. Fitzpatrick really hammers this point home when she tells us,
“How much obedience would it take to make millions of people righteous? How much righteousness must one person have in order to overcome ever one of our failures and make us completely righteous? Here’s the shocking truth: in just thirty-three and one-half years, Jesus was so flawlessly obedient that when his record is applied to us, we are as Adam was in Eden. Before the fall, Adam was unashamed because he had nothing to hide; he was naked and yet unashamed. But now we’re in a better place than even Adam was then: we’re not only innocent, we’re righteous.”
What a grand statement of what Christ has offered to those who repent of their sins and believe in his name. Page after Page I was struck with various aspects of the gospel and exactly what that means for me. I appreciate that there wasn’t a heavy presence of ancient language transliteration. I thought for the mountain of Romans that lay ahead of her Fitzpatrick did a thorough job of explaining Romans in words understandable of any reading level. The truths of Romans were upheld while making them both relevant and applicable for a variety of people and situations.
If I were to pick out one facet of this book which has stirred some questions in me is the position which the author has taken which presses the issue of our full reliance on Christ and our “working” out our salvation with fear and trembling. I know that some of you will read this book and instantly think that if all our reliance is on Christ and what he has done for us, then where does that leave us? What room is there for us to be obedient to all that Christ has accomplished? I don’t think that Elyse is completely ignorant of what we are to do now that we are in Christ. Our identity and our working are wrapped up in the fact that because Christ has been completely obedient to the law and has absorbed the wrath of God on the cross we are now able to live in a state being righteous and sinful. We are able to obey because of the inheritance which has been placed in us, namely, the Holy Spirit. I think Fitzpatrick makes that point without having to devote a chapter to that whole controversy.
I thought this book was very helpful and engaging to stagnant Christianity. To those who would fail to see the propriety of Romans then this book would be a helpful medicine for that illness. Fitzpatrick has provided a great text which screams to be rad not just one month a year but every month. The truths in these pages cannot get old or boring. They are the very essence of what believers lives are staked on. Take away this foundation and we have taken away the very heart of our gospel.
Pick up Comforts from Romans: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time from Crossway Publishing at a local book store or by clicking on the link provided. May this book bless you as you seek glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.