My book, Jesus Crushes Sin, is described as “a down-to-earth, Jesus-centred holiness for those who keep losing.” This tag-line explains why I wrote the book, and why I think I had to write it.
For many years I suffered with a particular sin issue in my life. The reason why I don’t really go into the details of what it was, either here or in the book, is because I want the book to encourage people with all sorts of issues with sin. Some might think, “Well, his struggle is different to mine.” I don’t think that’s true. I really think that the book helps anyone with any sin issue to rethink the way we approach God, and see Christianity. In fact, I think that even those people who are “winning” against sin ought to read it, especially if they are preachers or teachers or pastors or some kind of leader in the church.
This is because, by and large, we’ve made Christianity for winners, when in fact it’s for the poor and the weak and the weary. But it’s also for the winners, because the winners might not realise just how badly steeped in sin they actually are: the much more subtle, and much more dangerous, sin of self-righteousness.
To break the tag-line down, this book essentially tries to uncover:
A down-to-earth approach to holiness. A lot of writing and preaching on this topic overly idealistic, exhorting us to be this or that, to do this or that, and to basically pull up our bootstraps. The goal of holiness, as it were, is put so far away for most of us that we despair when, after many years, we realise we’re just not getting there. Is there a there, anyway? We might begin to question that there is! But instead, what we need is a theology of holiness that tells it like it is (down-to-earth) without leaving it as it is (focusing us on Jesus).
A Jesus-centred holiness. Much writing and preaching on this topic is about you. How well are you doing? Have you put your holiness programme into place? Don’t you realise that you need to clean up before the Holy Spirit pours out on you? Don’t you know that God won’t fellowship with an unholy vessel? So you better sort yourself out! These sorts of approaches make holiness into some sort of self-improvement human programme and take our eyes off of Jesus, fully God and fully man, who is more down to earth with this topic than most of us are.
An approach for those who keep losing. If you’ve found the holiness programmes, the theories and the formulas and the disciplines and all that stuff is something you just keep sucking at, welcome to the club. If, like me, you find you keep losing at the Christian (supposed) life and the good news just isn’t so good anymore, then it may be that the “good news” you’ve been hearing isn’t actually the “good news” at all! What we have today is a sanitized Christianity, not a sanctified one – which is why it so often feels like it runs out of power. But the scriptures and Christian theology, when you dig deep, tell a different story.