Reconciled To God, by Travis Eberhart
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by ReedsyDiscovery in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
It is remarkable that there remains to the present day such an apparent demand for writings that discuss how it is that humanity is to be reconciled to God and each other. Given the fact that there is a false dilemma about reconciliation as being a matter of believers earning salvation through our meritorious deeds (a feature of most false religions throughout the course of human history) or being an entirely passive matter that leads us to be hostile to the law because we judge it as legalism (the sort of cheap grace that comes from false ragamuffin gospels), it is immensely praiseworthy that the author manages to avoid these pitfalls by properly understanding that while the law and obedience to the law do not relate to our salvation, they do relate to the service that we give to God and to others as a result of having been saved from sin and death.
This book is a short one, only containing six chapters that give a brief overview of the state of mankind according to the Bible and the nature of the grace that God has provided to us. The author begins with a preface and then a discussion about the emptiness in our souls that many of us feel as human beings that leads us to seek reconciliation with God, although frequently on our own terms rather than on biblical grounds (1). The author then returns, as is sensible, to the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden and points out the hostility between God and man and within mankind as a result of the repercussions of sin (2). After that the author discusses the Gospel message of grace and reconciliation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the imputed righteousness of Christ (3) as well as the response of the sinner to believe in Jesus Christ and to be transformed from a rebel and an enemy of God to a servant and adopted child (4) who is united with Christ (5). The author then emphasizes, correctly, that righteousness for the believer is a matter of service to God and others rather than of seeking salvation through our merits (6), and the author also recommends a work of his that discusses practices of the early church, after which the author concludes and includes a substantial bibliography and endnotes for his various quotations.
This book represents a point as close to biblical truth that one can get from the point of view of Hellenistic Christianity as opposed to apostolic Christianity. The author does not recognize the seventh day Sabbath and Holy Days as being part of the moral law, and does not urge that believers follow the early disciples in Sabbath observance or an understanding of how the Holy Days show the plan of God for humanity. The author does correctly note biblical baptism as being for believers, at least given the biblical example, although he is apparently quite tolerant of those who hold to infant baptism. Even so, despite the fact that the author wrestles with the boundaries of moral law as it relates to what is still proper and godly service for Christians to, this book gets the core of repentance from dead works and reconciliation to God through the acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ right and that is to be celebrated and appreciated. If I would wish that he would emphasize the nature of the service that we are to undertake as believers more than he does, it does not minimize the achievement that this short book represents as a concise discussion of the relationship between law and grace and the repentant believer.