The Pastor’s Justification by Jared Wilson is easily one of my favorite books on pastoral ministry. I know I am a little late to the game in reading it since it came out in 2013 but better late than never. This is not a book on the growth of specific leadership skills or how to increase your influence. It’s about understanding that a pastor is just a man justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to God’s glory alone, who happens to be a pastor.
I have never read any books by Jared Wilson before this one. I recognized his name from social media and from the cover of some Matt Chandler books, but that was about it. After reading this book I will definitely have to check out his other books such as Gospel Deeps, The Storytelling God, and hopefully, I can snag a copy of his new book The Imperfect Disciple.
Here are some things I learned:
Part 1: The Pastor’s Heart
“We didn’t do the work; someone else did.
That’s the Christian life. That is pastoral ministry. The work is not ours. It’s Jesus’s. Jesus did the work we were unwilling – and unable! – to do. He killed sin and murdered death. And that is freedom. Knowing we’re not at the center of the story of our church keeps pastoral ministry in perspective; it makes the yoke easy and the burden light, because Jesus is bearing them.”
- Real success is faithfulness.
- A good pastor is a good repenter.
- Spiritual knowledge should humble you.
- A message of grace will attract, but a culture of grace will keep.
- Expect opposition from the world, false gospels, and false accusations, to be reviled and persecuted, but learn to count it all joy.
“Herein is the justification for the sin-prone pastor (by which I mean “pastor”): because of Christ’s perfect work on your behalf, your failure, your daily anxiety, your unwillingness, your stress, your sin, your brokenness, your ineptitude, your ignorance, your awfulness, your regrets, your pride, and your arrogance are no match for the deep and abiding grace of God given to you before time began and now and forevermore.”
Part 2: The Pastor’s Glory
Wilson makes a great point in his Scripture Alone section. He states that some make the mistake thinking that legalism only manifested itself in the negative. The “creative how-to” sermons are just as legalistic as the “don’t do” sermons. Expository preaching does not necessarily mean verse-by-verse preaching, but it does consist of an explanation of the text, application to the hearer, and helps the hearer also understand its connection to the gospel storyline of the entire Bible.
Grace Alone – The Pastor and God’s Grace
It’s not only important to preach grace alone from the pulpit, but pastors must live it outside of the pulpit as well. We tend to always drift from grace. We must remember that it is not what we do, but what Christ has done to deliver us from sin and death.
Faith Alone – The Pastor and His Faith
You do not have to be “somebody,” because Jesus is looking primarily for losers. A successful ministry is made not in achievements, but in faith. Faith alone is not just about justification, but also for the working out of our justification in the ongoing work of our sanctification. There is a freedom that comes from trusting in God by faith in all the areas of your ministry (preaching, evangelism, discipline, church vision, etc).
Christ Alone – The Pastor and the King
Wilson begins this chapter with, “Jesus Christ is the hope treasure, joy, and purpose of pastoral ministry. Not church growth, not church planting, not church success, not church business, not church programs, not church activities, not church popularity.”…..Yep. He says pastors must be careful that their congregation doesn’t become codependent of them and give some great tips on how to resist this. Another grat point Wilson makes is that we are not in competition with other biblical churches. The purpose must be Christ alone and if that means some of our people leave to help another church or church plant in the area, then praise God! If we desire a revival in our church or in our city, we must know that the Spirit will not bring it unless everything is about Jesus and not about us.
To God Alone Be The Glory – The Pastor and Glory
Why should pastors do what they do? They serve God and others so that God’s name would be feared and praised in all the earth and that the knowledge of God’s glory would fill the earth. It’s God’s glory we are after not ours. Stay faithful, stay faithful, stay faithful. God will have his glory.
“The justified pastor—the man justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to God’s glory alone, who happens to be a pastor—when taken on his good day or bad day, ministry high or ministry low, will be received with gladness and welcome. Clothed in the righteousness of him in whom you trust, how can you be turned away?”
You can get this book at Amazon for a great price!