You’ve heard the old saying, “The more things change, the more they
remain the same.” This folk proverb tells the truth about our own day
when compared with the first-century world in which the gospel was
first preached. Then and now, people were busy with other interests.
It was not easy in the first century to admit one’s personal guilt and
to acknowledge a sin-problem beyond one’s own ability to fix. Those
things are just as difficult today. Many were put off then by the
story of a suffering and dying Savior, and many still are today. A
message of “I’m ok – you’re ok!” or “Jesus will make you happy, rich
and problem-free” was a crowd-getter in the days of Peter, Paul and
John. And (you guessed it!) those same spiels still draw crowds and
sell books today.
The problem with those themes is that they simply are not true. In the
end, they always leave their victims standing there in the dust with
the taste of ashes in their mouths. The gospel message, on the other
hand, is not attractive to everyone, but it tells us the truth about
the ways things really are. We are sinners by our own fault (in
addition to that of our ancestor Adam), deserving of God’s judgment.
God really did love the word anyway, so much that he sent his Son into
our broken society, to live and die as one of us to bring us back to
God. But as dark as things looked that day when Jesus hung on a Roman
cross, the weekend was just starting and the ultimate struggle between
light and darkness was only half-finished. The story ends (you know
this already, so this is not a “spoiler”) with Jesus trouncing Satan
thoroughly and rising from the dead, later to ascend to heaven in
glory and power.
That story – the gospel – the good news of the only real Savior this
world has ever known and the only one it will ever need – is the grand
theme of this book. And, as fine a story-teller as David Langford is,
there is something about him that I appreciate even more. That
“something” is that he not only tells this story every chance he gets,
he also lives by this story every day of his life. What he does
authenticates what he says. If you know David personally, you already
understand and appreciate all this. Whether you know him or not, you
will be blessed, informed and encouraged as you read this book.
Someday, in the new heavens and earth, we can all get to know each
other forever. But for now, blessed reading!
Fudge writes the
international internet column graceEmail and is author of several
books including Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today
and The Fire that Consumes.