Review by Susan Verstraete
Righteous Sinners: The Believer’s Struggle with Faith, Grace and Works
Ron Julian, Navpress, 1998
Ron Julian freely admits that, like Martin Luther, he was driven to understand the Bible out of knowledge of his own sinfulness and moral weakness. As a young believer, his teachers encouraged that if he “let go and let God” he could have complete victory over sins like selfishness and lust. But though Julian had faith in God, believed the truth of the Gospel and wanted nothing more than to be free from sin, it didn’t work. He still struggled with sin, just as you and I do. The teachers questioned his salvation, and Julian began to question their teaching. He spent the next 25 years searching the Bible for the answer to his dilemma. How can God call sinful human beings—those of us who fail over and over— “righteous”? Righteous Sinners is the result.
It’s easy to fall into an unbiblical ditch either on one side or another of this issue. On the one hand, we might be tempted to constantly doubt our salvation because of remaining sin in our lives. On the other hand, we might believe that because God declares us righteous by grace and apart from works, intense struggle with habitual sin is unnecessary. Julian navigates safely between these two ditches, and gives us a balanced, biblical understanding of the role of trials, works, grace and the sovereignty of God in the lives of believers.
Ron Julian is a teacher at the McKenzie Study Center in Eugene, Oregon. Incidentally, he has a direct tie to FCC, since he’s the father-in-law to Matt Greco’s son, Gil. His book is available through Amazon.com.
Susan Verstraete is a member of FCC and serves as church secretary.Book Review