The Righteous & Merciful Judge: The Day of the Lord in the Life and Theology of Paul – Matthew D. Aernie & Donald E. Hartley

As I read Paul’s letters, one theme continues to stick out: his focus on future things and how they relate to our present lives as the Church. As soon as I saw this book by Aernie and Hartley on the Day of the Lord, I knew it would be helpful in understanding this theme and Paul’s approach to it, as the day which all history is headed towards, whether of judgment or vindication from our Righteous and Merciful Judge, Jesus Christ.

There have been many attempts at finding a “center” to Paul’s theology, something that is Paul’s primary focus in his writings. But instead of seeing “the day of the Lord,” or eschatology in general as the center of Paul’s writings, this book sees it as a major theme or lens through which Paul sees his theology.

The purpose of this work is to examine how the day of the Lord should be understood as a major motif that influences all of Paul’s theological paradigm. More specifically, the argument here is that the day of the Lord was so significant for Paul that every aspect of his theology was in some way affected by this concept.

Aernie & Hartley, page 5

The book begins with an overview of modern scholarship and its understanding of the day of the Lord. It then looks at the day of the Lord in the Old Testament as the foundation and basis for Paul’s use and interpretation of the day of the Lord, as well as how this theme is understood in extra canonical literature. The book then moves to Paul’s Damascus road experience and how this event shaped his understanding of the future. Following this, the rest of the book looks at various texts and passages in Paul’s epistles that speak to the day of the Lord, highlighting the significance that this future event had for him as an apostle.

I’m convinced that the glorious future prepared for us as believers is meant to spur us on to godly living in the present. Paul used this all throughout his epistles to encourage fellow believers to press on and persevere in the faith. History is moving in this direction and we need to understand what this means for us now. This was one of the main reasons why I loved this book. So often eschatology is separated from discipleship and the present Christian life, but these authors show how this was not true for Paul and should not be true for us. What we believe about the future has an impact on how we live today.

I thoroughly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more about Paul’s thought on eschatology. It is a great resource for the Church. Judgment and vindication, specifically in the day of the Lord, are not popular themes these days. But the consistency in which the Scriptures speak of these themes necessitates that we pay attention to what God has planned and how He is moving history and salvation to its final consummation.

Grab this book from Lexham Press today!

*This book was graciously provided by Lexham Press in exchange for an honest review.

Read & Repeat

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