What would you say is God’s plan for your life? To be happy? To be successful? To raise children who are happy and successful? In fact, God’s plan is infinitely more ambitious - ‘God’s plan for us is that we should be holy in character as he
is holy in character’ (pg 28). But what exactly does that mean?
Well, can I encourage you to get your hands on this terrific little book called ‘A Sinner’s Guide to Holiness’ by the late John Chapman (commonly referred to as “Chappo”). This would have to be my all-time favourite Christian book to recommend to anyone to read – especially if you’ve never been much of a reader. Chappo is such a clear and engaging writer that I’m sure you will find him easy to read and understand. The book is not long (about 80 pages) and costs less than $10! If you’ve never read a Christian book before, I think this is the perfect place to start.
While I like the fact the book is easy to read, the best part is what Chappo says about God and the Christian life. He begins by explaining from the Bible that God is holy - that he is totally different to us when it comes to power and might and that he is perfectly pure. In fact, when you realise just how holy our God is, you can’t help but appreciate how much we fall short and need his forgiveness!
Of course, the wonderful news is that we can be forgiven through faith in the Lord Jesus. However, that is not the end of God’s plan for us. God wants us to make progress in holiness – that we would become more like the Lord Jesus each and every day. This progress requires ongoing faith and repentance and involves a lifetime of hard work.
One of the things I appreciate about Chappo is his honesty about the challenges of the Christian life. Having been a Christian for nearly 60 years when he wrote the book, he claimed that the first 60 years are the hardest (though he continually revised this figure as he got older!) However, while it is certainly challenging for sinners like us to make progress in holiness, we can look forward to the day when Jesus returns and we are made perfect!