Awaiting a Savior
The Gospel, the New Creation and the End of Poverty
“Gospel-driven, Jesus-centered, solid theological look at what poverty stems from & how to see it in a biblical framework.”
– Dave Kraft, pastor, Mars Hill Church, author
“Few books so astutely combine a comprehensive theological look at poverty with empowering, inspirational motivation.”
– Logan Gentry, Pastor, Apostles Church, NYC
Also: David Murray, Stephen Altrogge, Trevin Wax…
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Description & Excerpts..SHARE..
What causes poverty? What am I supposed to do about it?
These questions are driving a new generation of Christians to take action on behalf of the poor through social and political action, global partnerships, and financial generosity, as they desire to become the generation that ends poverty forever. Yet in pursuit of this goal, they risk losing sight of a fundamental reality: the root cause of poverty isn’t found in material or external circumstances. The root cause of poverty is sin— and sin is not a problem we can solve.
But Jesus can.
In Awaiting a Savior, Aaron Armstrong reminds readers that even as we are responsible for pursuing biblical solutions to poverty, our hope for truly resolving it comes not from the good we do, but from the return of Christ, who will once and for all put an end to sin, suffering and death as he brings about the new creation.
About the Author
Aaron Armstrong is a blogger, an itinerant preacher, and a writer for an international Christian ministry focused on caring for the needs of the poor. He blogs daily at www.BloggingTheologically.com and his work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition’s “Voices” blog and RelevantMagazine.com’s “Deeper Walk” column. Aaron, his wife Emily, and their children worship and serve at Harvest Bible Chapel in London, Ontario.
endorsements & reviews..SHARE..
“While many books on eradicating poverty focus solely on statistics and need as motivating tactics, Awaiting a Savior moves beyond the stats, the great need, and excellently emphasizes addressing the root of poverty and what motivates us to adress the issue. The redemptive story of God highlighted in this book provides the grace-based motivation in the gospel necessary to provide the most holistic and sustainable response to the great need around us. Few books so astutely combine a comprehensive theological look at poverty with empowering, inspirational motivation.”
Logan Gentry, Pastor of Community & Justice, Apostles Church, New York City
“Aaron Armstrong’s heart to minister to the least of these is on full display in this concise book about the opportunities and limitations of ministry to the poor. Challenging our own idolatry, our motivations, and our actions, Awaiting a Savior reorients our mercy ministry around the gospel, seeking to show how a life of love is the overflow of a grace-filled heart.”
“Aaron Armstrong’s book, Awaiting A Savior, brings a fresh approach to the world-wide problem of poverty. It is gospel-driven, Jesus-centered, and gets at the real but often overlooked cause of poverty.
“This is not another book that takes you on a guilt trip because we’re ‘not doing enough.’ It is not filled with lists of all the things we should do to eliminate poverty, but rather is a solid theological treatment of what poverty really stems from and how to see it within a biblical framework.
“Aaron has provided thought provoking questions throughout that will get your brain churning.”
Pastor Dave Kraft, Mars Hill Church, Orange County, California; author of Leaders Who Last
“ Aaron Armstrong has not only thought hard about alleviating poverty, he’s also worked hard at it. Consequently, this biblical theology of poverty is a mixture of pessimism, optimism, and realism. He’s rightly pessimistic about humanistic solutions, he’s brightly optimistic about God’s ultimate solution, and he’s practically realistic about the best and most the Church can do in this present age.”
Dr. David P. Murray, professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; president of HeadHeartHand Media
“Finally, a book that tackles the subject of poverty in a biblical, balanced, thought-provoking, and convicting manner! In his book Aaron manages to walk the fine line of calling for a biblical solution to poverty without causing the reader to feel overly burdened with unnecessary, unbiblical guilt. He also shows how biblical generosity is ultimately rooted in the generosity of God himself. Too many times I’ve seen the call for generosity fueled by legalistic guilt. Aaron instead points the reader to the glories of the gospel as the motivation for giving. Read this book. Discuss it with your friends. Be generous!”
“In our highly activist, solutions-oriented generation, we easily think that we ourselves are the solution to the world’s social ills, particularly poverty. But the problem of poverty is the problem of sin and its solution lies in the heart of the Gospel. Aaron Armstrong brilliantly brings us back to Genesis and delivers a theologically robust vision for obeying the Scriptures' command to help the poor while living in anxious anticipation of Christ’s coming Kingdom.”
Daniel Darling, Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church; author, iFaith: Connecting to God in the 21st Century
“Aaron Armstrong has succeeded in helping us see the solution to poverty in a biblical light. He understands that poverty itself is no more a root problem than those things said to be born out of it, such as economic oppression or social injustice. Thus, he calls us back to Scripture to see that the real root problem is sin and that the answer is found in nothing less than the enduring good news of Jesus Christ. With so much confusion in the Church and para-church ministries regarding a Christian response to poverty and so much interest in social justice presently, this volume is an urgent read for any Christian who has a genuine interest in helping the poor.”
N. D. Muscutt, Pastor at Newcastle Fellowship Baptist Church
“We all care about poverty, but caring isn’t enough. We need to move beyond feelings and good intentions. In Awaiting a Savior, Aaron Armstrong helps us think theologically about poverty, because we’ll never know how to respond until we understand both the issue and our response from a biblical perspective. He then shows us how we can respond out of grace, not guilt. This book is a clear and insightful look at an issue that’s on all of our minds.”
Darryl Dash, pastor of Richview Baptist Church; blogger, DashHouse.com
“Order this book by Aaron Armstrong and then read it from front to back. You will never listen to or engage in a conversation about poverty the same way again. This is great stuff!”
Michael Krahn, singer/songwriter, blogger at MichaelKrahn.com
“In his book, Awaiting a Savior, Aaron Armstrong addresses the issue of poverty in a clear and theologically practical way. Armstrong does a good job emphasizing sin’s damaging effects on economics and pointing to the one true hope of the world, Jesus. This book is a valuable resource to help Christians think biblically when it comes to finances, economics, resources, and poverty.”
Pastor Bubba Jennings, Mars Hill Church, Seattle, Washington
“Awaiting a Savior is a compelling and captivating book that looks at global poverty through the wide-angle lens of the gospel. Aaron Armstrong’s book will likely change the way you look at the problem of poverty in our world and how you think about addressing it. But what I love most about Awaiting a Savior is that it empowers us to care for the poor by making much of Jesus.”
Dan Cruver, author of Reclaiming Adoption, director of Together for Adoption
“Aaron Armstrong sees the world through Bibline coloured glasses. In other words – the Bible, God’s inspired, holy, perfect Word is the lens through which he sees the world and its ills and therefore the solutions to be applied. Far too many throw their Bibles aside and then apply their own logic and wisdom to crafting solutions. The world’s problems are primarily spiritual, not social, and this demands that their solutions must start with and remain firmly rooted in God’s solutions. Aaron says, ‘If you don’t understand what happened in the Garden of Eden, you are missing the single biggest factor that contributes to poverty.’ Amen! This book lays out a simple, yet profound understanding for all Christ-followers and churches wishing to truly help bring relief and blessing into the lives of this world’s poor. I highly recommend that if God is prompting you to step into the fight against poverty (and every Christian should have this prompting) that you begin with this book and build your approach squarely on a Biblical understanding of the complete need and therefore the only lasting and truly effective solution.”
Norm Millar, Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, London, Ontario
“Awaiting a Savior is a truly rare book in providing a thoroughly Christian answer to poverty. It both thinks and bleeds. Aaron sees sin as the ultimate problem and Jesus as the ultimate answer, and does so while dealing with the practical, dirt-under-your-fingernails issues of gospel-centered poverty relief.”
Josh Howerton, Preaching and Leadership Elder, The Bridge Church, Spring Hill, TN
“Aaron Armstrong knows what he’s talking about! I highly recommend this book!”
Pete Wilson, Author of Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?
“Poverty is very complex. Awaiting a Savior helps unpack the maze of complexities and shines a fresh light on God’s heart for the poor and His strategy to mobilize the body of Christ to alleviate poverty. Aaron does a stellar job of unpacking the theological issues of this dreadful plight and brings hope to a hopeless topic.”
Dr. Barry Slauenwhite, President /CEO, Compassion Canada
“It is not often that I read a book in under twenty-four hours, but I could not put this book down.”
Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, The New Creation and the End of Poverty is written by Aaron Armstrong, preacher, blogger, author, and writer for an international Christian ministry focused on caring for the needs of the poor. Out of his experience caring for the needs of the poor through writing, and ministering to them; he has written a book that gets to the heart of the matter on poverty by focusing on the Gospel and its implications.
As I read through this book, I was struck by how Aaron continually brought me back to the Gospel. The real problem as Aaron rightly describes in this book is that most discussions on poverty miss any mention of sin. Sin is the problem, and its effects are felt whether one is rich or poor. Having previously served the poor on the streets and in homeless shelters; I can tell you that the real problem is as Aaron describes in this book, sin. The solution to the problem of poverty isn’t more programs, while they can be helpful at times; the solution is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As Aaron walks through the biblical teaching on poverty he does so in a way that is convincing and challenging. It would all too easy to point fingers on an issue like poverty and say, “The government or charity organizations aren’t doing their jobs,” but Aaron never succumbs to this; instead he points his readers towards the Bible, and grounds them in the Gospel of God.
There were several statements scattered throughout the book that stood out to me. At the end of chapter three, Aaron states, “The ultimate answer to poverty is circumcised hearts, hearts that know the God who forms and keeps covenant with poor, undeserving sinners.” In chapter six Aaron makes two observations, “We cannot separate what we believe from what we do” and “we are called to care for the poor because God is glorified in our doing so.” The Lord God takes what is dead and makes it new; giving the believer new desires and new affections for Himself, for the purpose of advancing His kingdom with the Gospel. As a result of being saved the believer will care for the poor, the sick, the widow, the broken and the least of these. These desires flow from the new birth, which is to say God gives His people the desire to obey Him, and live on mission for Him because of the new birth.
Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, The New Creation and the End of Poverty is a very well-written, thoughtful and Gospel-saturated explanation of poverty. It is not often that I read a book in under twenty-four hours, but I could not put this book down, once I picked it up because Aaron writes in such a way as to draw the reader into what he is saying by engaging them with the Gospel. I encourage you to pick up Awaiting a Savior by Aaron Armstrong because it will teach you not only to have a biblical worldview on the topic of poverty, but also to minister to the poor because of the Gospel.
Dave Jenkins, ServantsofGrace.org
“Aaron Armstrong hits the bullseye with deadly accuracy.”
It’s easy to feel inadequate or discouraged when it comes to the fight against poverty. It’s hard work, and as long as sin continues on the face of the earth and in the hearts of man, there will be poverty — spiritual, material, and relational.
Cutting through motivations and misconceptions, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation and the End of Poverty gets to the true heart of the issue; poverty is spiritual. Lying, murder, theft and all other suffering and evil in our fallen world today are a direct result of the cursed human nature inherited from Adam and Eve’s original sin (Genesis 3:1-7). Aaron Armstrong hits the bullseye with deadly accuracy:
“A fallen world inhabited exclusively by sinners: that is the essence of poverty. Sin, and the effects of sin throughout creation, is the Poverty from which all other poverty flows” (p.23).
Armstrong provides a Scripture-rich reminder that it’s only in recognising and addressing sin as the root of all poverty (and of our attitude towards those suffering in it, p.46) that we can hope to fight poverty effectively. It is only in the transformation of the sinner’s heart through the application of the gospel that our ministry to the poor bears fruit that will last.
Involved with a charity organisation himself, Armstrong’s love for both the church and Scripture’s clear exhortation to help the poor is obvious. Armstrong rightly encourages his audience to respond to poverty within a biblical framework; pursuing solutions that don’t simply prune the branches – the effects of sin – but to recognise and deal with the common root of poverty, sin itself (p.21). Accompanied by a highly practical list of actions that every Christian should live out, Armstrong draws from Amos, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Jesus to clearly convey how Scripture instructs us to deal with the individual heart as the means of joyfully and effectively ministering to the poor.
Spiritual problems require spiritual solutions (p.101) and caring for the poor starts with an understanding of the gospel; understanding that this care is the natural outworking of thankfulness for the grace that Jesus has given to those who believe in him. It is motivated purely by God being glorified through our loving him and loving others. Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation and the End of Poverty is a gospel-saturated, deeply convicting look at the church’s biblical mandate to care for the poor. Aaron Armstrong’s book will reshape not only the way you look at poverty, but how you act towards it.
“Awaiting a Savior hits on every cylinder.”
Few ideas and causes have captivated the current generation more than that of poverty and social justice. This emphasis upon relieving the oppressed is commendable but not without some concerns. The confusion that exists about what constitutes the root cause of social injustice and poverty to begin with is concerning. And without properly identifying the root cause one cannot properly identify the right response. It is also concerning that the tone and manner used by those leading the way to garner support for social issues resembles more of the guilt and manipulation techniques of an old-school fundamentalist evangelist ripping off the stats of people who are going to hell that very instant (“Breathe in. Breathe out. Ten people just went to hell.” – yes I have heard that) while railing on the audience for not being better witnesses. Many others simply recognize that the goal of ending global poverty or social injustice is unreachable by our efforts and just give up. So what reason is there for poverty? How can we speak of social issues without becoming legalistic? Is it all hopeless anyway?
In his new book, Awaiting A Savior: The Gospel, The New Creation and The End of Poverty, Aaron Armstrong confronts these questions with clear biblical thinking that has been immersed in the gospel. He does this by locating the story of poverty within the grand story of God’s Word. The importance of this perspective is invaluable since it allows him to lead us to see that “the root cause of poverty is sin.” Yet this is exactly the perspective that is missing from much of the conversation and action surrounding social work today. The problem then is that “the idea that we can wipe out injustice and inequality for good overlooks the fundamental problem of our sinful nature.” This leads to the basic premise of Aaron’s book which is “that our good faith efforts to address legitimate questions of poverty and injustice must never lose sight of the fact that poverty will persist as long as the heart of man is ruled by sin” (emphasis his).
What this means then is that the “hope for truly resolving the injustices of this world is not to be found in utopian visions of global partnership, or pouring massive amounts of money into relief efforts, or even in providing food, education, and opportunities to people who don’t have them. While we are responsible for pursuing biblical solutions to poverty, our only hope for an ultimate solution is in the return of Christ, when he will put an end once and for all to sin, suffering, and death, and bring about the new creation.” This is good news. And Aaron does a fantastic job of setting the curse of poverty within the context of the curse of God upon Adam (and humanity) and then tracing it clear through to the cross and finally to the New Heavens and the New Earth. At every turn Aaron keeps reminding his readers that because “Sin, and the effects of sin throughout creation, is the Poverty from which all other poverty flows” then the only way to truly provide relief for this poverty is in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But Aaron doesn’t stop there. He offers wise and strong caution about how we are to conceive of our relief efforts by pointing to the efforts of those at the Tower of Babel as a warning. He then goes on trace God’s demand for his people to care for the poor and oppressed throughout the Scriptures making it clear that those who are truly God’s people are going to care about the needs of those around them. So what we are led to see in this book is that “real-time, physical service to the poor is a form of real-time, physical service to Jesus.” And lest we wonder about whether someone is deserving of our efforts Aaron reminds us of the gospel-truth that “we must avoid notions of anyone being “deserving” of our help. None of us deserve the grace of God, yet he freely gives it!”
It won’t take you long to become convinced that this isn’t an issue that you can ignore but must do something about. And it is here that Aaron does some of his most important pastoral work as he wisely steers his readers away from asking the wrong question – “am I doing enough”, which focuses upon goals and not people, legalism and not grace – to asking the right question – how does God’s gracious work in Christ on behalf of sinners motivate and sustain our relief efforts? And this is the right question because “caring for the poor starts with understanding the grace Jesus has given to those who believe in him.” The gospel is the only thing that can truly motivate us to give of ourselves – because God gave himself.
This book finishes by taking a look at the biblical, wise, and practical ways in which we can provide care for the poor and oppressed as we await the Savior for ourselves and looks forward to the New Heavens and the New Earth where God will eliminate poverty and all human oppression and injustice. In the end, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, The New Creation and the End of Poverty hits on every cylinder and though it is not a long book (only 114 pages) it packs a punch without being punchy or condescending. This is a book that speaks to the very heart of some very difficult issues facing our current generation and Aaron has done the church a great service in writing this clear, convincing and gospel-saturated book.
Kendall Harris, In Earshot of Calvary
“It will equip you with a biblical framework to think through these decisions for yourself.”
In Awaiting a Savior, the latest release from Cruciform Press, Aaron Armstrong takes a biblical look at the issue of poverty. To say that poverty is a complex issue is putting it lightly; it is at once theological, governmental, and (for many of us) personal. Armstrong rightly recognizes that human solutions to this complex problem are by nature inadequate–it is to Christ and his Word that we must turn if we are going to find answers for poverty.
Reading this book will leave you convinced of two major themes. First, the root cause of all poverty is human sin. Second, the ultimate solution to poverty can only be the return of Christ (hence the book’s title).
To establish these points, Armstrong walks the reader through the basic story line of Scripture from start to finish, along the way relating the Bible’s main themes to the problem of poverty. I was not expecting the book to review the entire Bible in this way, but it was a pleasant surprise. The writing is clear and effective, to the point where it could even be a good resource to put into the hands of somebody who is ignorant about the big picture story of Scripture. This book will demonstrate to the reader the seriousness of sin and its effects. Since sin cannot be removed apart from Christ’s return, neither can poverty be removed. This is shown in both biblical and cultural examples. Culturally speaking, both the financial crisis here at home in North America and the extreme poverty across the world in sub-Saharan Africa are tied to the same root of sin (see pp. 29-30).
However, though the presence of sin in the world guarantees the presence of poverty, this is not an excuse for Christians to avoid ministering to the poor. Armstrong notes that while many believers use Jesus’ statement that we will always have the poor with us as an excuse to ignore the poor, it is more biblical to see it as a guarantee that we will always have opportunity to minister for (and to) Christ by ministering to the poor. This is a helpful perspective (see ch. 6).
Awaiting a Savior strikes an appropriate balance between comfortable suburban Christianity (which often ignores the needs of the poor both among us and around the world) and certain “progressive” forms of Christianity (which can at times prioritize poverty relief over gospel proclamation). Both of these extremes are wrong. God’s heart is that the poor be loved, primarily with the gospel of Jesus Christ, but also in tangible physical ways. This the appropriate balance that is struck in this book.
I recommend this book and think that it can be useful to Christians of all stripes. As with all Cruciform Press books, it is short and readable. It is well-written, well illustrated (at one point jumping seamlessly from the Tower of Babel to the movie Goonies to Shakespeare to a speech by President Obama, all in the course of a single page), and gospel-focused. I am not aware of another book quite like this. It does not tell you how much of your money you have to give away, it does not tell you which organizations and ministries you need to give to, and it won’t tell you how you need to vote in order to effectively relieve poverty. But it will equip you with a biblical framework to think through these decisions for yourself.
If you are interested in learning about the issue of poverty and poverty relief from a Christian perspective, and at the same time would like to avoid another offering of warmed-over liberalism masquerading as authentic 21st-century Christianity (all too common in the church today), then you will want to pick up a copy of Awaiting a Savior.
Casey Lute, blogger at CaseyLute.com and author of “But God…”
“Armstrong does a wonderful job.”
Whenever someone brings up the issue of social justice or poverty in a room full of Christians, the room usually splits into one of two camps. One side of the room would support what has become known as a social gospel. They would say our only purpose is to feed someone who is starving, to clothe someone who is freezing, or to provide for someone who is less fortunate. After all, isn’t this what Jesus did? I would argue that this is futile living.
The other side of the room would be shaking their heads in disagreement (if not disgust). And because they are so scared of being labeled part of the social gospel, they swing the pendulum so far that they never consider the implications of social ministry upon the Christian. I doubt they would actually say that taking care of the poor has nothing to do with Christianity, they just live like they believe that. I would argue this is Christ-less Christianity.
I have often longed for a balanced voice in the middle of this issue. I think we now have one. Awaiting A Savior by Aaron Armstrong is a new book published by Cruciform Press that deals with the real issues of poverty, but doesn’t shy away from calling Christians to do their part. He doesn’t waste any time dealing with real issues when he says “the root cause of poverty is sin” (9). That might sound shocking, but he does a great job of explaining what he means by that.
“The basic premise of this book is that our good faith efforts to address legitimate questions of poverty and injustice must never lose sight of the fact that poverty will persist as long as the heart of man is ruled by sin … I hope to show that the best way to help the poor is to minister to them as the Church, in both word and deed, to the glory of God” (9-10)
I think he does adequately address these issues in the book. He does it by taking us back to the beginning before sin when Adam and Eve lived perfectly without any thought of poverty. It was only after the fall into sin that poverty even became a possibility. He says,
“Everything about Adam and Eve’s fall makes economic prosperity difficult and elusive. In fact, the fall has made poverty the default setting, an ever-present gravitational pull intent on dragging us down. This is true not only because it is now harder to produce material wealth but also because the fall triggered an ongoing cascade of relational challenges characterized by blame-shifting and excuses about our sin, as well as an ongoing desire in each of us to play God over one another. Hardly a recipe for success.” (20)
Tracing the flow of the Scriptures from creation to fall to tower of Babel to the prophets—Armstrong does a wonderful job of showing how God’s heart has always been to take care of those that cannot take care of themselves. The only problem is that our heart of sin tends to make the poverty issue worse. Even when people do seek to help those in impoverished situations, many attempt to build their own kingdom, not God’s. And we know that God will not share His glory with anyone. The solution of course is the gospel in our lives. It is fully understanding the truth of God invading and changing us. He says,
“Those whose hearts are inclined to the Lord will seek true justice on earth as it is in heaven. Covenant faithfulness always leads to ethical faithfulness … We dare not turn a blind eye. We dare not think, ‘They’re somebody else’s problem.’ If we really mean that, our hearts are as dead as those of the unfaithful Israelites of Isaiah’s day.” (56-7).
In the end, I would highly recommend this book to all Christians. Specifically if God has placed on your heart a burden for the impoverished. One particularly helpful aspect of this book is the study guide questions at the end of each chapter. This would make this book very easy to be read in a group of people as they seek to learn a balanced view of poverty together.
Thad Bergmeier, Changed by the Gospel
“Brought me to my knees in prayer, conviction, and thanksgiving.”
I am Mexican. My country is a country of contrasts, a country in which you can find the richest man on earth, as well as people living in extreme poverty not so far from the richest neighborhoods in the most important cities.
I drive to my parents' home once a week to have lunch with them, and every week, in the same corner, I see a poor family selling candy or sometimes just reaching their hand to beg for some money. The mom is always holding a baby in her “rebozo,” while the “big kids” (around seven years old) are most of the time selling gum to the car drivers when the stop light is on. But my eyes always look for the little one, a toddler. He is always in a corner playing happily with empty milk cartons, or old toys. Every week, my heart aches. Many times we have brought food for them, or clothes, but there are always these questions in my heart, how can we really help those in need when you see them every where? Is there a real solution to all this poverty around me? Whom do we help? The family on the street, the friends that are going through hard (real hard) times, the children in a far away land with no drinking water? What is the Christian response to poverty?
Aaron Armstrong has written a book, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, The New Creation and The End of Poverty, that has spoken directly to my heart. He has in few pages, answered many of these questions.
“Resources and awareness and policies are important, but poverty is not fundamentally about any of these things. The root of poverty is sin.” (p.9)
The author understands the gospel’s message well. He knows that the bad news always precede the good, so he keeps on saying,
“[O]ur good faith efforts to address legitimate questions of poverty and injustice must never lose sight of the fact that poverty will persist as long as the heart of man is ruled by sin.”. (p.10)
This book is one that reminds us of the hope that should keep us pursuing biblical solutions to poverty. Armstrong says,
“our only hope for an ultimate solution to poverty is in the return of Christ, when he will put an end once and for all to sin, suffering and death, and bring out the New Creation.” (p.11)
And that is when I take a deep breath and keep on reading. Armstrong takes us back to Genesis, the Paradise, the Fall, and the curse that came as a result of it.
“Whereas the curse upon Eve is primarily about interpersonal relationships, Adam’s curse spreads outward to all economic life… Prosperity will always be challenging and elusive. The very materials and processes we work with to try to create prosperity will resist us. And it will continue like this until the day we die.” (p.18)
But physical poverty, as terrible as it is, is not the ultimate poverty. Armstrong says,
“A fallen world inhabited exclusively by sinners; that is the essence of poverty. Sin, and the effects of sin throughout creation, is the Poverty from which all other poverty flows” (p.23)
This is the heart of the book, this is what makes this book so important; Awaiting a Savior goes to the root of the problem of poverty that surrounds us.
This is a book that I greatly recommend as a tool to train the young people who want to come and do missions to poor countries. In Latin America, sadly to say, we receive many missionaries, many youth groups that come every summer to help build churches, and paint walls, and sing children’s songs in poor areas; but we need to go deeper, we need to go to the root of poverty: sin in the heart man.
Armstrong deals, then, with the root of poverty, but also with the root of our inability to respond in a God-glorifying way towards poverty.
“Sin thus not only causes poverty but also poisons our attitude toward those suffering within it.”
We try to help, but very often we loose sight of our real aim:
“Ultimately, poverty can only be addressed at the heart level, one person at a time, s salvation through the shed blood of Christ pushes back against the fall of man. The ultimate answer to poverty is circumcised hearts that know the God who forms and keeps covenant with poor and undeserving sinners.” (p.47)
Chapter Five, was probably my favorite. Armstrong reminds us of the Sermon of the Mountain and how “The gifts of love always precede the demands of love”. Oh yes, Grace, amazing Grace that reaches to the poor effectively.
“That is what is so devastating about the Sermon on the Mount. It starts with grace…”
And as the paragraph continued, it brought me to my knees in prayer, conviction and thanksgiving. Grace is the starting point; it was there where Jesus found me. It is there where we should start if we want to effectively help the poor among us until the day we see Jesus.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Becky Pliego, Daily On My Way to Heaven