Do you ever feel that your heavenly father is disappointed in you? That your repeated failure, results at best, in the Lord tolerating you? Then read this book and be amazed that the Lord is ‘gentle and lowly’ with a boundless heart for sinners and sufferers like you. The author wants to help those who ‘can barely grasp the divine tenderness already resting on those now in Christ.’
This theme is expounded in twenty three separate verses of Scripture over twenty three short chapters. The following headings give a flavour of its scope. ‘His very heart’, ‘The happiness of Christ’, ‘Able to sympathise’, ‘I will never cast out’, ‘What our sins evoke’, ‘Our law-ish hearts, his lavish heart’, ‘He loved us then; he’ll love us now’, and ‘Buried in his heart forever.’
The writer draws on the rich pastoral wisdom of earlier generations such as Goodwin, Bunyan, Warfield, and Edwards who all rejoiced in Christ’s sympathy, approachability and undying love towards them. Consider this puritan analogy:
‘When we sin, the very heart of Christ is drawn out to us. Here is a profound mystery. The more good a man is the more he will feel for his neighbour when his neighbour is robbed or abused. The more he will want to protect, relieve and comfort in contrast to a poor selfish neighbour who is indifferent. So with Christ, his holiness finds evil revolting, more revolting than any of us can feel. But his holiness also draws his heart out to comfort, protect relieve.’
Or as Ortlund expresses it, ‘The sweep of the entire Bible storyline cause us to catch our breath. The sins of those who belong to God open the floodgates of his heart of compassion for us. The dam breaks. It is not our loveliness that wins his over. It is our unloveliness.’
The writing style is beautifully fluent. The theological preciseness is nuanced and instructive. For example he writes, ‘God does not have fallen emotion but he has emotion’ and follows it by a footnote on the subject of anthropopathism.
This deserves to become a classic of its kind and can benefit anyone. The hard cover, jacket design, paper quality, typographical layout and binding make this a most attractive present. Buy two and give one away, bringing lasting pastoral care to a needy fellow believer.