OF GUILT AND GRACE – We don’t like to talk about tragedy. It’s insensitive, dark, and gloomy. Especially in church. We would much rather talk about the stories that make our hearts happy and joyful. Yet, the reality is that when we don’t understand the dark depth of the human heart, we will never know the magnificent vistas of God’s salvation.
Tragedy is an essential reality for understanding the space of the gospel story. Few tragedies fit this mold better than that of Achan in Joshua 7.
Achan’s theft of sacred property and the resultant panic led Israel down a dark path. It was only with God’s revelation of his action that this scourge was made known. However, the most tragic part of Achan’s tale is that God’s grace was offered out to him and he did not take it. The darkness of Achan’s story heightens the glory of the gospel.
The sin that Achan committed underscores the salvation that God offers. The cult he bore reveals the grace that is offered to us. Of Grace and Guilt is written to help us understand this reality. It is written to underscore the darkness of sin and therefore to examine the light of salvation. It is written for us to see the gracious hands of a loving God offered to us. The question before us is whether or not we will take what Achan could not.
“Matt’s book, ‘Of Guilt and Grace’ is a masterpiece of understanding the impact of sin and its ongoing ramifications. The good news about sin is God’s grace. Matt elegantly explains how God’s grace is the antidote to our sin issue. ‘Of Guilt and Grace’ is well thought out and a must read for anyone desiring to understand the relationship between our sin and God’s grace. I would highly recommend this book!”
Tyson Priest, D. Min, Pastor, the River, Lapel, In. & Motivational Speaker. “Ignoring the fact that we are sinners can do nothing but drag us into the Valley of Achor. Matthew LaMaster teaches this often-forgotten fact, in a well-balanced simple and weighty way throughout this book as he expounds upon the transgressions of Achan (Joshua 7). He carves away at calloused hearts and distorted minds to drive home the absolute truth of how devastating unchecked sin becomes as it slowly saturates our very souls. Sin is most destructive not because of the sin itself, and not because it is infects the whole community. But even more devastating, it breaks the covenantal relationship with God.
Or, as LaMaster words it, “Sin is not sin, at its core, because it violates a rule, although it does. Sin is sin, at its core, because it violates a relationship.” But LaMaster does not leave us in the valley. He reminds us of the remarkable and inexplicable grace of God. He explicates that God has provided what it takes to atone for those sins if we claim ownership of our sins, repent and receive God’s answer found in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This book is a must read. It is teeming with Scriptural support of his theses and well dusted with illustrations to clarify his reasoning. It stirs both the mind and the soul.” – James D. Harless, PhD, Retired Pastor, Tri-County Christian Church and Adjunct Professor at Indiana Wesleyan University.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matthew LaMaster is the pastor of Southern Heights Christian Church in Anderson, Indiana. He is an editor at Theology Magazine. He is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute (BA, MDiv) And is also currently a doctoral student at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.