What do you hope will be the lasting effect of Spectacular Sins?
I think one of the biggest obstacles to people embracing God as he is presented in the Bible is not just that he is sovereign over floods that kill your kids, or a tornado like the one that killed the little boy in North Minneapolis a few weeks ago. That's a problem, but most people have a way to get over that problem. Physical evils and natural calamities they somehow emotionally manage.
But the Bible presents God as sovereign over sin. They don't think of a flood as sin, or a tornado as sin, or cancer as sin. It's just, "That's the way life is," and so they deal with it. But if you're going to read the Bible, own up to it, and love the God of the Bible, you have to deal with the fact that God ordains sin.
For example, for yesterday's devotions I read in 1 Chronicles 10 the death of Saul. Verse 4, if I remember correctly, says that the Philistines were coming, he was so wounded that he knew he couldn't run away, and so he asks his armor bearer to kill him so that they wouldn't make sport of him when they came--that is, torture him. His armor bearer wouldn't do it. So he "fell on his sword" and committed suicide. So why did Saul die? Answer: he committed suicide.
Ten verses later, verses 13-14, it says, "Saul died because he broke faith with the Lord in calling up a medium." He called up a medium, and that's why he died. So it's called judgment on sin, and then the next sentence is, "Therefore, the Lord took his life." Well now, did he commit suicide, or did the Lord take his life?
That's what I deal with in the Bible on almost every page. Sovereignty: "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away"--sometimes it's suicide, sometimes it's murder, sometimes it's floods. Often it is sin. Suicide is sin. Suicide is sin. "The Lord took his life," by sin.
In other words, the legacy that I hope this book will have is that the hardest thing to deal with in embracing God as he is in the Bible will be helped in peoples' understanding. If people could find a worldview that enables them to say, "God is God as he is in the Bible, including his sovereignty over sin," I would have, I think, protected many people against being swept away in so many false teachings which would otherwise leave them pastorally adrift, would cause their children to grow up with a skewed and unhelpful view of God, and would leave them high and dry in the moment of their greatest need in persecution or in physical suffering.
Let's put it like this: not only will they maintain their faith in the God of the Bible, but, while maintaining their faith in the God of the Bible, they will bear the fruit of faith, which is called love, joy, and peace. And love, Jesus says, is the way we display the glory of God. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). So when we love--growing out of the fruit of faith in the sovereign God--then the world sees our love and they give glory to him.
So we preserve our confidence in his glorious sovereignty and have the freedom then to live out a risky loving lifestyle that others can see, and God gets more glory that way.
So the legacy would be: we maintain faith in the God of the Bible as he is, and we spill over in the display of that great God in the way we love others.