This Great Salvation/Foreword
From Gospel Translations
It hardly needs to be stated that in order to promote passionate devotion to Jesus Christ, pastoral leaders ought to encourage the study of doctrine. If there has been one thought that has driven and guided the production of this book, it is that doctrine matters. How can we worship and serve a God we are ignorant of, or worse yet, one of our own making? Doctrine has not only inspired heartfelt love for God, but it has served as the moral compass of the Church throughout her history. Believing what is true about God leads to practicing what is acceptable before God.
We need to consider the question asked by the author of Hebrews: “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (2:3). Our gracious God has supplied us with a great salvation—full, free, and finished. There really is no excuse for neglect of all God has done for us. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2Pe 1:3).
Coming to an awareness of this is one thing. Entering into the experience of it is quite another. Our hope is that a user-friendly format will make studying doctrine more fulfilling and less daunting. We (the authors) are little more than beginners ourselves in this adventure. That’s why the recommended reading at the close of each chapter may be the most valuable part of the book. But if our experience be limited, it has been enough to forever change the way we think and live. We have also had the added advantage of preaching and teaching this material and seeing it radically affect those we are privileged to serve in pastoral ministry.
This great salvation has been changing lives profoundly, dramatically, and consistently since the gospel was first proclaimed. For more of the same to occur through the study of this book would, for us, be very gratifying.
Our thanks to Greg Somerville for his editorial expertise and tireless efforts in the production of this book. In addition, we express our thanks to production coordinator Beth Kelley and graphic designer Carl Mahler for the contribution of their special talents. Working with them as a team has been very satisfying. Finally, we would like to dedicate this book to our wives and best friends, Carolyn Mahaney and Clara Boisvert, who have helped us translate doctrine into life. They have our deepest admiration.
— C.J. Mahaney and Robin Boisvert