Over the last few years, I have been a big fan of MacArthur’s work. His style is plain, powerful, and unapologetic. Read one book and he may come across as dry and gruff. But read several of his books, and you gain an appreciation for his allegiance to God, the Scriptures, and the Gospel.
In The Truth About the Lordship of Christ, MacArthur employs his familiar candor to discuss the practical implications of declaring Jesus as Lord over our lives. He addresses such subjects as the love and sovereignty of God, what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus (his comments reminded me of Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship), Christian living, and the afterlife. In typical MacArthur style, the book is saturated with Scripture. His discussions on the nature of sanctification and the doctrine of assurance were especially informative. I agree with MacArthur that there is a tension between objective and subjective means of assurance. It is a tension we must maintain, for favoring one over the other opens the door to the devil’s work, either through unholy living or a lack of hope in life.
“God does not declare sinners righteous legally without making them righteous practically.”
“We must remember that God is Lord of the universe, and He can do whatever He wants.”
“People become like those whose influence dominates them.”
“If our gospel were received in peace, it wouldn’t be the true gospel.”
“It is better to lose everything here—better to lose your ease and comfort, to be hassled an intimidated, badgered by the world; better even to lose your family, to lose your life—than to forsake Jesus Christ.”
“Christianity is cognitive before it is experiential. A person needs to consider the gospel, believe its historic facts and spiritual truths, and then receive Christ as Savior and Lord.”
“If you want to live correctly, expose yourself to the Word of God. It will help you deal with the traces of the world still present in your life.”
I do not agree with MacArthur’s Calvinistic views, and they come through in this book. But one does not have to subscribe to his Reformed theology to appreciate a Christian’s need to declare God’s sovereignty, to live a holy life before him as Jesus’ disciple, and to wait in assurance and hope for the Second Coming of our blessed Lord. For the subject it claims to address, I consider this book a very good one, written on the level of any adult Christian who wants to push their allegiance to Christ to greater depths.
Step by step, John MacArthur walks through the impact of God's sovereignty, our submission, the characteristics of holy living, and our assurance of salvation.