I recently had the wonderful privilege of reading Billy Graham's new book, THE REASON FOR MY HOPE: SALVATION. Even though the main content of the book is to present the gospel plan, it is very informative and helpful for Christian's who want to defend their faith.
Chapter one quickly grabs the reader's attention with several stories from historical and recent events about people who had to be rescued in a physical sense. It sets the tone for the rest of the book, which is centered around spiritual salvation.
As one would expect from Dr. Graham, a main emphasis is on the cross. In a very clear way chapter four tells the messages portrayed and spoken from the cross, applicable to each and every individual.
One fascinating and very informative section is chapter five. Here the author relates the stories of, and gives quotations from, countless people throughout history and from various walks of life, both secular and religious, who have given assent to a belief in Jesus.
Something that people do not always consider when becoming a Christian is counting the cost. A very interesting statement is made on page 124: "Giving up something to follow Christ is not earning salvation; it is giving up what keeps you from salvation." A strong case is made for not mixing one's faith with godless cultural influences.
Twenty-three pages entitled, "No Hope of Happy Hour in Hell," are devoted to dispelling the false notions about this eternal abode of Satan. This chapter points out with documentation the huge interest that exists in this subject. Among other things there is actually a website called Hell.com. A main theme of this chapter is that many people would rather make light of hell than to be accountable to God and as a result, reject the plan of salvation.
The afterword section of the book gives a very clear presentation of the Gospel. It starts off with a story about an experience the author had on a college campus. He said students didn't want to know about religion and personal salvation. They wanted to know how to find Christ.
Isn't that what Billy Graham has been doing all of his life? He has been sharing with millions of people all around the world how to find Jesus, with his transforming power. This book not only summarizes the message of salvation, but also helps Christians deal more effectively with those who need the message of hope and healing. A very significant statement is made on page 181 at the end of the book. The author says "Until you have surrendered to Christ by a conscious act of your will, you are not a Christian." Isn't that important today, with so much emphasis on emotion and other secondary issues? I really believe that anyone reading this book who thinks that he or she is a Christian but has not had a genuine conversion experience, will be convicted.
I cannot think of a better book that Billy Graham could have written that defines his life and ministry over the decades. Thank you, Dr. Graham, for writing such a fine book at the end of your life.
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