Nathan A. Finn

Historian, Theologian, Teacher, Preacher

Monday

30

December 2013

2

COMMENTS

An Infinite Journey: Growing Toward Christlikeness

Written by , Posted in Books, Spirituality, Theology

An Infinite JourneyI have the honor of serving as one of the elders of the First Baptist Church of Durham, North Carolina. In the eight years that my wife Leah and I have been members of the congregation, I have been blessed to become close friends with our church’s senior pastor, Andy Davis. For as long as I have known Andy, he has been writing a book on the topic of spiritual maturity. By God’s grace, that book has now been published. Lord willing, it will be the first of several books Andy will write (he is currently working on a commentary on Isaiah for B&H’s Christ-Centered Expositional Commentary series).

An Infinite Journey: Growing Toward Christlikeness (Ambassador International, 2014) is currently for sale at FBC Durham, was available to attendees of last week’s Cross Conference, and can be pre-ordered at Amazon, where it will be available January 10, 2014. In the book, Andy summarizes the Christian life as two infinite journeys: the internal journal of personal sanctification and the external journey of gospel proclamation. We emphasize the “two journey’s” theme repeatedly at FBC Durham. I’m grateful that this theme will reach a wider audience through An Infinite Journey.

I had the privilege of writing the foreword to An Infinite Journey, which I have included below. I hope you will buy the book and read it. If you do, I believe you will find it to be a helpful resource in your own spiritual journey.

During my teenage years, I became steeped in evangelical revivalism. I often got the impression from pastors and evangelists that salvation more or less equaled justification. From time to time, we learned about sanctification and glorification, but these truths were often assumed more than they were expounded. The real action was in getting saved, which meant being justified by faith in Jesus Christ as one’s personal Lord and Savior.

I spent several years trying to nail down the exact moment I had been justified, since I was taught that my assurance of salvation is based almost entirely upon my decision to believe in Jesus for salvation. I often worried that I had not been sincere enough in my faith because I still struggled with indwelling sin. I prayed some version or other of the “sinner’s prayer” dozens of time in an effort to be sure I was really saved. As far as I knew, the Christian life was about getting justified, knowing you were justified, and helping other people get justified.

I was in college when it first dawned upon me that salvation is not a single moment in time, but rather is a spiritual journey. Justification is not an end unto itself—it is the beginning of a spiritual pilgrimage that begins in this life and ultimately ends in the next life. I had been saved by grace through faith (justification), I was being saved as the Holy Spirit conformed me more to the image of my Savior (sanctification), and I would be saved at the last day when I am finally and forever freed from sin, sickness, sorrow, and suffering (glorification). It was liberating to finally understand that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6, ESV).

Providentially, my wife and I became a part of the First Baptist Church of Durham, North Carolina in 2005. We had learned of Andy Davis and his ministry at the church from some mutual friends. We wanted a church that emphasizes expositional preaching, God’s sovereignty in salvation, meaningful church membership, and the importance of evangelism and missions; we found it at FBC Durham. Once we joined the church, we discovered that Andy often speaks of the Christian life as two infinite, interrelated journeys. In the past eight years, my own spirituality has been shaped by the awareness that I am on an inward journey toward sanctification and ultimately glorification and an outward journey to proclaim the lordship of Jesus Christ here, there, and everywhere.

An Infinite Journey is the fruit of many years of preaching and teaching on the nature of the Christian life, primarily in the context of a local church. I have watched Andy Davis faithfully model the two infinite journeys for the people he shepherds. I have seen this vision of the Christian life shape the spirituality of public school teachers, medical doctors, lawyers, businessmen, stay-at-home mothers, retirees, converted convicts, international graduate students, seminary students and professors, and foreign missionaries. I have become convinced that speaking of two infinite journeys is simply a helpful and memorable way to describe authentic, biblical Christianity.

I am glad you have decided to read this book; I do not believe you have done so by accident. My prayer is that An Infinite Journey will be a means of sanctifying grace in your own spiritual walk as you continue on the two infinite journeys of the Christian life.