Comforts from the Cross: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time - by Fitzpatrick, Elyse
Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2009. 146pp.
Janice Osborne, wife of TMS professor Dr. Kelly Osborne
In Comforts from the Cross, author Elyse Fitzpatrick invites readers to consider and celebrate the truth of the gospel each day. The series of thirty one devotional writings is not a recitation of the “facts” of the gospel; facts which most believers in Christ could readily recall. Instead, these short meditations help readers to consider “how those facts are to inform, free, gladden and enliven your soul every day” ( 89).
Mrs. Fitzpatrick defines the truth of the gospel as follows: “I am more sinful and flawed than I ever dared believe, more loved and welcomed than I ever dared hope. I deserved nothing and have been given everything” (89). Focusing daily on Christ’s incarnation, sinless life, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, ascension and ongoing reign as Lord of all will keep Christians mindful of the greatness of God’s love in saving us when there was nothing we had done to merit His love and grace. Not only was this true at the point of salvation, but it also continues to be true in the daily life of each Christian: “The key to a godly life is not more and more self-generated effort. . . The secret to obedience isn’t formulaic steps found in a self-help book. It is a relentless pursuit of love for him [Christ]” (60). Dwelling on Christ’s love, obedience, faithfulness and strength will cause believers to love Him more. Love rather than duty will become the motive for obeying Him.
Each day’s reading begins with a verse or two of Scripture related to a gospel truth. Over the course of a few pages, Mrs. Fitzpatrick “unpacks” the truth of the passage and makes application to how we think and act. Some of the questions she asks readers to consider through these devotions include:
• Am I a glory robber, robbing God of His rightful glory by a desire to have recognition for my effort to be a “good” Christian?
• Am I unfazed by God’s grace as the ungrateful servant was in Matthew 18?
• Do I understand the difference between self-condemnation which acts on my pride and conviction which “draws me away from myself and toward God” (36)?
• How does the truth of the gospel affect my prayer life?
Comforts from the Cross is a treasury of gospel truth profitable for believers at all ages and stages of their Christian life. This book is an excellent resource for drawing our hearts to a greater love for our Lord, taking our eyes off of ourselves and helping focus our minds and hearts on all God has given us in and through His Son.