This is a great little book. And its subject is anything but little: Lawson opens up Luke 14:25-35 in detail.
There are 12 short chapters, which are easy to read. Each tackles approximately one verse at a time. The closing chapter places the whole passage in biblical and theological context. Every chapter is packed with passionate, personal and pointed application.
In the preface Lawson explains that this was a book he had to write. Its aim is overtly evangelistic. While exemplifying for gospel communicators how to apply Scripture in a gospel-offensive-only manner, the book is aimed principally at the unbeliever.
Just as there were many unbelievers in the crowd that heard Jesus speak of their need to ‘take up the cross and follow him’, so the author writes with the assumption that there will be unbelievers in our everyday church congregations. This book can be given confidently to unbelievers who have some interest in Jesus.
Where this book differs from other books with a similar aim is in its hard-hitting urgency. The unbeliever who comes to faith must first sit down and count the cost. There is no soft-soap invitation to believe here; it is clear, direct and realistic. The cost to the person who becomes a Christian is enormous; it will cost them everything. The gains, of course, are incalculable.
With today’s emphasis upon ‘grace’, there is a danger of overlooking Christ’s exhortation that we need to come to faith in him with a whole-life commitment. The book honours Jesus’ total gospel-call and steers readers away from the superficiality that serves only to dilute the effects of the true gospel in our lives.
Whether the book was intended to be this way or not, it brings a helpful corrective to the passivity characterising some modern teaching. That being said, the author never loses sight of salvation by grace. The book eschews salvation by works.
This is of value to preachers, teachers, church workers, young believers and unbelievers. It is highly recommended. Buy it, read it and pass it on.
Gareth E. Williams