What Is Your Book Finally Alive About, and What Insights Did You Gain While Writing It?
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
What is the message of your newest book, Finally Alive? What significant insights came to you as you wrote it?
It's a book about the new birth. It's a book about being born again. It's a book about our present condition as dead and, finally, becoming alive.
And there's a double meaning in the word "finally". I don't know how many will catch it, but "finally alive" means, "I was dead and, finally, I'm alive!" We all feel that word "finally" in that sense.
But it also means—and this may be one of the insights that I came to and wanted to stress—"I am finally alive, meaning that I will never die. This is my final state." Those who are born again are in God's hand, and nobody can pluck them out of his hand. We are finally alive in that we have broken out of our grave by grace, and we are finally alive in that we will never ever be anything other than alive.
Eternal life is given at the moment of conversion through faith in Christ. And... it's always there.
Now here is something fresh, I think, that I saw. Before new birth you've got a dead person, alright? 'We were dead in trespasses and sins.' The new birth is that moment of quickening—life happens. And that life is manifest in an awareness of sin, and the horrors of judgment, and the beauty of Christ, and the sufficiency of the cross, and faith. And the question is, "How does all of that relate in time?"
So you're dead, you're quickened, you see Christ, you see sin, you feel conviction, you put your faith in Christ—are those sequential? Or how do they all work? Because we wonder, "Can you say to a dead person, 'Believe!'?" I mean, they're dead! What can they do? They're dead. Should you tell a person to believe? Because belief is the means by which we're saved, and yet you're telling us that we're dead, and so quickening has to—what?—precede?
And I think that in several places of the book I make it clear that I don't think in temporal categories at that point. And I don't think that the Bible wants us to.
I think there are causations, that is, that quickening enables and causes life and faith. But the moment is simultaneous, so that you can say to a person (because God by the Spirit is going to use your voice), "Believe!" and it's like Jesus saying to Lazarus, "Live! Walk out of the tomb!" And that very belief is the instant in which life is imparted by those words.
So you can evangelize dead people because God uses the voice of God to bring them to life. And faith is quickened, life is quickened. It's all one moment.
I want this book to advance evangelism, not get in the way of it. I want it to give hope to evangelism, because God raises dead people through the gospel.