Book Review: Romans 8-16 For You by Timothy Keller

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Romans 8-16 For You, Timothy Keller. The Good Book Company. Hardcover Kindle

The series, God’s Word For You has done a great job in breaking down books of the Bible in a fast paced, easy to understand format. Although the series is not an exhaustive commentary, they do an excellent job in explaining the text and assisting the reader to understand, contemplate and show how the Scripture still applies to us in the twenty first century. In Romans 8-16 For You, Timothy Keller continues in the same mold and manner of previous books in the God’s Word For You series.

In the Introduction of the book Keller writes,

We need to learn how to meditate and think about the Gospel until it becomes real in our hearts and the foundation of everything we do.

Romans 8-16 For You does just exactly what Timothy Keller sets out to do in this book. From beginning to end Timothy Keller is helping the reader meditate, think and learn how the Gospel has transformed us internally (in our salvation) and how it should transform us externally (how we should live now). Keller does an excellent job in explaining the the doctrines of Grace which Paul writes about and shows how Romans 8-16 is chain linked together.

Romans 8-16 For You, like the other God’s Word For You books in the series, is usable on various levels. I enjoyed it as a personal study and reflection. This book would be excellent as a family study or small group study, with built in study questions. It would also help pastors and teachers, if they plan on doing a study or sermon series through Romans.

Meditation Monday: Our Greatest Need is Him

Meditation Monday is where I share my thoughts and reflections from the sermons at my home church, Watson Chapel Baptist Church, Pastor Todd Howard. This week Meditation Monday is on Tuesday due to a youth Super Bowl Party and a busy day at work. On Sunday evening we had a guest speaker Bro. Sonny Simpson. To be honest, I text my Pastor earlier in the day mentioning it was a bad idea to have a guest speaker on Super Bowl Sunday, boy was I wrong.

Bro. Sonny preached from Isaiah 64:1,

Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,

that the mountains might quake at your presence

 Isaiah is breathing a prayer for his people. He has been prophesying that judgement from God is coming. In this passage Isaiah begins to cry for God to visit His people once again.

Don’t Forget The “Oh”

Bro. Sonny pointed out not to skip the “oh”. The “Oh” at the beginning of this passage helps us see and feel the burden Isaiah was feeling. His groan was for God to come and revive the hearts of Israel. This groan from Isaiah helps us feel the burden Isaiah was feeling. Isaiah was feeling the gap sin was causing between God and His people. Sin had distanced the people from God so much, His judgement was coming and Isaiah knew it, felt it and prayed. So many times we talk about our world and how we are so desperately in need of God, but I wonder do we feel it like Isaiah does? Is the burden so large in our hearts that are prayers become groans?

Invade Us With Your Presence

Isaiah’s prayer continues by asking God to break open the skies and visit His people once again. When Isaiah breathes this prayer, my mind immediately goes to Isaiah 6. In Isaiah 6, we read about Isaiah’s vision of the Holiness of God. This vision rocks his world and exposes the sinfulness in him and the culture around. If we could interview Isaiah now, I am pretty sure he would say, “on that day God broke open the skies and came down.” In a very real sense Isaiah is praying for God to show up like He did with him. Bro. Sonny said,

There is a difference between knowing the omnipresence of God and experiencing the manifestation of God’s presence… The missing element in our churches is the manifestation of His presence.

God make the manifestation of your presence a real element in our churches. When God manifests Himself the mountains of sin in your life will shake and crumble in His presence. When God manifests himself, the fruit of repentance will be seen. We see this happen to Isaiah,

“Woe is me!For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isa. 6:5)

Isaiah sinfulness crumbles before the manifestation of God’s presence and leads to repentance and a yearning to be holy, different and changed. You know what, God changed Isaiah and He can change you.

Another reality when God’s manifest presence comes, is we begin to see the destruction of the sinfulness around us. Isaiah seen it in chapter 6 when He cries out, “I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” The manifestation of God’s presence brought about an internal change, the fruit of repentance and a pursuit of holiness. But the manifestation of God’s presence also brought an external focus, Isaiah began to be concerned for the sinfulness of others. He was burdened for God to change the lives of others.

God doesn’t come down to change your life so you can live in a vacuum. The manifestation of God’s presence is contagious. We can learn much from Isaiah, Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence

Until next time
Soli Deo Gloria