"Nelson draws from the deep wells of Scripture as well as the writings of renowned saints throughout church history. Take the deep dive into the holiness of God!"
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We all need a good dose of teaching on the holiness of God. In Deuteronomy 8:11-18, God warned the Israelites not to forget Him so they wouldn’t say in their hearts, “my power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth” (v. 17). If the Israelites, who saw a physical manifestation of God in His rescue from Egypt and in His appearance at Mount Sinai, could fall away, how much more should we guard against forgetting? If they needed a reminder from God and “these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did” (1 Cor. 10:6), we ought to slow down and meditate on God’s holiness.
Allen Nelson’s Before The Throne beckons us to slow down and really ponder what it means to say, “God is holy”. He also urges us to pause and really think about how impossible it is to fully grasp God rather than assuming we have Him all figured out. If there’s anything to learn from this book, it’s that “the holiness of God is unspeakable” (p. 30). Every page is a powerful reminder that God is infinitely immense and too grand to figure out with our feeble human minds.
Nelson is not focused on bringing any new doctrines or theories on the holiness of God. He states early in the book: “there is nothing new I can tell you about God’s holiness that Scripture has not already plainly stated” (p.2). He draws from a rich heritage on writings on holiness ranging from John Calvin to R.C. Sproul, but his primary focus is on the writings of God’s Word. There is no greater source for discussing and describing holiness than to go to the Fountain of the infinite holiness who is to be desired and enjoyed forever.
The aim of this book is not a mere academic understanding of God’s holiness. This would totally miss the mark of Scripture and be an absolute failure! Rather, Nelson knows that “we were made to adore (God)” and writes from that doxological perspective throughout this work (p. 3). We are drawn to adoration and thanksgiving as we consider that God condescended to share Himself with feeble and sinful humanity. We are unworthy of such grace, but God has shown us Himself in His Word.
Each chapter has questions for group discussion or family worship along with a Scripture review section. This brings Before The Throne even more down to earth as it can easily be brought home to our daily life and our homes. And lest you think this book is solely focused on God the Father, leaving no room for the gospel,
Nelson brings the gospel throughout this book. Here’s one specific example:
“In other words, Christ took our place on the cross so that in Him God could ‘by no means clear the guilty.’ God punished our guilt in Christ, and by faith in Christ gives us Jesus’s righteousness as a free gift.” (p.112).
If you’re looking for a book to study that is rich with scripture and theology, this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a devotional read that will challenge you to love and stand in awe of God, look no further. Before The Throne packs a one-two punch of doctrine and devotion that is sure to bless many a soul. Though it’s deep and there are some technical words and mentions of Greek and Hebrew, it’s accessible, doxological, and devotional. Nelson draws from the deep wells of Scripture as well as the writings of renowned saints throughout church history. Take the deep dive into the holiness of God with Allen Nelson!
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