"Spiritual Maturity", by J. Oswald Sanders (book review)

I am always blessed in Reading the works of dead theologians. While brother Sanders only passed on to glory in 1992, yes his words remain helpful today.

This book is divided into three parts.  Part one is entitled, “The Overruling Providence of God”, and deals with the character of the first person of the Trinity: God the Father.  Part 2 is entitled, “The Supreme Vision of Christ”, and handles the second person of the Trinity: Jesus Christ. Finally, part 3 is entitled, “The Spirit - the Breath of God”, and obviously discusses the third person of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit.

Each part contains 7 stand-alone chapters, meaning one does not necessarily need to read chapter one in order to understand chapter 2 in order to understand chapter 3, etc. That point was clearly stated in the editor’s Forward, so I decided to read successive chapters from each of the three parts in numerical order. For example, after reading chapter one on the Father, I read chapter 8 on the Son, then chapter 15 on the Holy Spirit. Then I proceeded reading chapters 2, 9, and 16, until I finished the entire book in such a sequence.

I was truly blessed and challenged by numerous thoughts Sanders penned throughout the book, but the chapter that most profoundly influenced me and captured my mind was Chapter 3, “The Undiscouraged Perseverance of God”. In that chapter, brother Sanders detailed several nuances from Genesis 32 as it pertained to the God of Jacob.

Pay attention to these words of his, "The god of Jacob. No two characters seem more ill-matched. No single sentence more strikingly illustrates the undiscoverable perseverance of God."  As we know, Jacob was a schemer and a deceiver (not much unlike us, I might add), and yet brother Sanders does a marvelous job encouraging the reader in the gospel as we struggle with our own sinful flesh. He wrote, “The perseverance of the saints is possible only because of the perseverance of God." 

As I struggle in my own sin, I was encouraged my brother Sanders’ words, “[God] does not despair of us even when we despair of ourselves. His patience is never at an end. His resources are never exhausted.  Praise God!  Brother Sanders continues, “The devil preaches a message of despair...God is preaching the gospel of recovery. The God of Jacob is pre-eminently the god of the second chance to Christians who have failed and failed persistently.”

O brothers and sisters in Christ, what a truly glorious encouragement in the gospel this chapter and the entire book was! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed from front to back, something that is so necessary in our regular reading.  Pick a copy of Spiritual Maturity up for yourself, and you will not be disappointed.

RATING: 5 stars.

DISCLAIMER: I received this book free of charge from Moody Publishers 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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