Book Review: From the Resurrection to His Return
The “last days” or “end times” get a lot of press in our society today. We are a culture fascinated with when and how the world is going to end. Many are more concerned with those details rather than the living in the now. How do we live faithfully in the “last days?” D.A. Carson’s book, From the Resurrection to His Return, gives the church wise council concerning our faithful living during this time.
The book itself is derived from a lecture series that Carson taught on 2 Timothy 3:1-4:8. And because it is taken from the lecture series, the flow of the book can seem choppy. However, the exposition is great. It is very short and could easily be read in one sitting. If you have ever read Carson, you know that he can undoubtedly be very heavy. This book is not. He writes with simplicity while at the same time displaying the clever Carson-wit that I have come to enjoy (I’ll share a couple quotes that I appreciated at the bottom). With that said, let’s take a look at its content.
Carson begins the book defining what exactly the Bible means when it uses the phrase “last days” or “last hour.” Carson writes, “Commonly when the Bible speaks about the ‘last days’, it refers to the entire period between Christ’s first coming and his second. Similarly, the expressions ‘last hour’ and ‘last day’ usually refer to the entire period” (Kindle Locations 56-58). Paul, Peter, Timothy, and the others were living in the last days. Likewise we are living in the last days. Thus, when Paul teaches faithful principles to Timothy concerning living in the last days, they are also meant for us. After describing and explaining the last days in chapter one, Carson uses the remaining four chapters to gives us four principles to live by. They are:
- Hold the right mentors in high regard. (There is a great illustration in this section that makes the book worth reading).
- Hold few illusions about the world.
- Hold on to the Bible.
- Hold out the Bible to others.
These four sections provide great insight to the believer. I am thankful for Carson and his contribution to the church. He is certainly a mentor worth holding in high regard. I am thankful for his wisdom and writings. If you are seeking to live faithfully in the last days, this short book will not disappoint you.
Let me leave you with a couple of my favorite quotes (while certainly not all of them).
“The antithesis of loving God is worse than not loving God: it is loving something else supremely, most commonly ourselves or things that we covet. We become idolators: we do not love God supremely.”
“Paul’s point is surely important. It is built on the assumption that when the gospel comes to us it actually does change people. The gospel does not simply declare us to be just on the ground of what Christ has done, for salvation is more than justification. Salvation includes regeneration, Spirit-empowered transformation of life, such that Jesus himself can say, ‘By their fruit you will recognise them’ (Matt. 7:20).”
“You who are older should be looking out for younger people and saying in effect, ‘Watch me.’ Come – I’ll show you how to have family devotions. Come – I’ll show you how to do Bible study. Come on – let me take you through some of the fundamentals of the faith. Come – I’ll show you how to pray. Let me show you how to be a Christian husband and father, or wife and mother. At a certain point in life, that older mentor should be saying other things, such as: Let me show you how to die. Watch me.”
“This world is constantly trying to convince itself that we are all pretty good, that we are all saying the same things, that evil is not an endemic and systemic part of us, and that if we are nice, everything will be all right. Certainly there is no merit in being un-nice! But to hide the disagreements, idolatries, greeds, injustice, God-defying arrogance, materialist hedonism, unbelief, and just plain malice of the world is worse than naïve – it is blind. Christians will look at the rawness of history and the prevalence of evil people who become worse and worse, and they will hold few illusions. This is an essential element of faithful living in the last days.”
“But the Bible is not a magic book, as in: ‘A verse a day keeps the devil away’. It is a book that points us to Jesus, and this Jesus saves and transforms. This Jesus by his death and resurrection constitutes the good news that men and women may be reconciled to the living God. Here in this book there is instruction on what God has done in Christ Jesus; here there is the message of Christ dying for sinners, of whom I am chief; here there is the promise of the Holy Spirit given in down payment of the ultimate inheritance; here there is transformation. These Scriptures make you ‘wise for salvation’.”
“In a world where there are many false ideas – many deceptive, selfish and anti-God ideas – what must we do to get orientated toward God himself? We go to God’s Word – we hold on to the Bible.”
I received this book free from Christian Focus. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Matt Kresge is one of the bloggers at BeholdingGrace.com.