"Resurrection Life in a World of Suffering", edited by D.A. Carson and Kathleen Nielson (book review)

This relatively brief book is essentially the reproduction of messages spoken at the 2016 Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference.  The speakers/authors were/are Kathleen Nielson, Jen Wilkin, Carrie Sandom, Mary Willson, D.A. Carson, and John Piper.  That said, you can find the audio of those plenary sessions here.  You may be interested in one, or the other, or both. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll refer in my review only to the book.

The topic of the book is Peter’s first epistle, and the authors provided an excellent, in-depth exposition of the Holy Spirit’s teaching through Peter on the purpose and value of suffering.

In the introduction, Juan Sanchez provided an extremely thorough explanation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was rather long for an introduction for my tastes.  Since it detailed the gospel so clearly, however, I’d prefer it be long and accurate, rather than short and unhelpful.

In chapter 1, “Born Again to a Living Hope”, Kathleen Nielson explains 1Pet 1:1-12 to help readers understand who we are in God’s eyes, that it is He who gives us our Identities.

In chapter 2, “Living Resurrection Life”, Jen Wilkin exposits 1Pet 1:13-2:3, reminding Christians in suffering to hope fully, be holy, fear rightly, and love earnestly.

In chapter 3, “Remember Who You Are”, Carrie Sandom digs into 1Pet 2:4-10 to remind us that Christians are God’s holy people, set apart for His glory, to resist evil and do good in Christ Jesus.

In chapter 4, “Following Jesus Far From Home”, Mary Willson launches out from 1Pet 2:11-3:12 to remind believers of our status that while we are seemingly far from home, we are never far from God.  Therefore, we have a distinct way of life that ought to follow from our identity in Christ.

In chapter 5, “Sharing Christ’s Sufferings, Showing His Glory”, D.A. Carson encourages readers through 1Pet 3:13-4:19 that just as Noah and his family were saved through water (not from water), so too, we must endure sufferings as opportunities to show the glory of God.

In chapter 6, “A Shepherd and a Lion”, John Piper teaches from 1Pet 5:1-14 that this Christian life of suffering, reflecting the glory of God, and pressing on to resist the roaring lion will never make sense to the world’s sensibilities.

I was most helped by this last chapter, wherein John Piper asked (and helped answer) the question, “Is the Devil really in charge of suffering?”  Piper lays out clearly that although the Devil roars in fury against God’s people, he does so only because he’s given permission to do so by our sovereign God.  If all suffering and testing is permitted/intended by God to refine His people like the flames refine gold, so too, the Devil roars violently because he knows that his roaring is only proving to refine the people of God…the very people he hates and seeks to destroy!  I find great hope and joy in knowing that God is sovereign, even over my suffering and trials. 

RATING: I give this book 5 stars, as it is gospel-driven and useful for teaching and encouragement.

DISCLAIMER: I received this book free of charge from Crossway in exchange for my unbiased review of it.  All opinions are mine, and I was not required to provide a positive review.

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