Altar Ego (book review)

Altar EgoCraig Groeschel is an amazing communicator! Partly because he shares the truth without watering it down or over-complicating it, and partly because he is so transparent with us. Altar Ego is a practical look at how and why God wants to “altar” our perception of ourselves.

The title of the book is not a misprint: Craig persuasively makes the case that we need to bring our view of ourselves to God’s altar so He can alter how we view ourselves. In the opening pages, Craig describes it this way—

If you’ve ever felt insecure, inadequate, or insufficient, this book is for you. Chances are good that you are like most of us. You attempt to draw worth or value from the wrong places. You’re inclined to believe what others say about you over what God says about you. You say you believe one thing but privately live out of a double-standard set of beliefs. If you call yourself a Christian, you probably hope to live a life pleasing to God but often find yourself trying to please others or yourself. If you can relate, I’ve got good news. You are not yet you you are supposed to be. 

Altar Ego is divided into three sections. In the first section you will learn how God sees you; in the second section you will learn how to live altarnative values to those the culture promotes; and in the final section you will discover a newfound boldness that comes with seeing yourself as God sees you.

Because of Craig’s easy-to-read style, and his forthrightness about his own shortcomings, you will not feel like these concepts are too complicated or only reserved for those who are more spiritual than you. Even if you don’t feel “insecure, inadequate, or insufficient,” there is still a lot to learn from Altar Ego.

I am a Zondervan book reviewer.

The Returning King

Returning KingJohn opens the book of Revelation with this greeting: Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, AND WHO IS TO COME (Revelation 1:4, emphasis added). This is so significant because of the other descriptive phrases John uses for Jesus:

  • Jesus was pre-existent before creation (John 1:1).
  • John was witness to everything Jesus did during His public ministry, including all of the claims Jesus made about Himself (1 John 1:1).
  • And now John says not only has Jesus existed before time existed, not only is He alive now, but He is coming back again!

This is what makes the resurrection of Jesus so important. Jesus Himself told us exactly what was going to happen with His death by crucifixion and His resurrection three days later. The fact that these statements all turned out to be true gives us greater assurance that His promise that He is coming back is also true.

In His very first sermon, Jesus quoted from Isaiah about how He would conduct His earthly ministry (see Isaiah 61:1-2 and Luke 4:18-19). But when He quotes the passage from Isaiah, He leaves off a phrase “and a day of vengeance of our God.” God’s wrath against sin is being held back for now, but the day of judgment is coming.

John says Jesus is the One Who is to come, and records later on how Jesus will come—

I saw Heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies of Heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of His mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. (Revelation 19:11-15, emphasis added)

God made Jesus to be sin for us. He suffered and died to pay the penalty for our sins, and those who are still found in their sins—unforgiven, without placing their faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection—must face the wrath of God.

Jesus is not only our Risen Savior, but He is the soon-returning King and Judge. 

Three times the last book of the Bible records Jesus Himself saying, “I am coming soon!” This isn’t a scare tactic, it’s real. As certainly as Jesus rose from the grave, He is returning soon. 

Are you ready for His return? Are you telling others that Jesus is our soon-returning King?

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