Today’s Vyrso interview is with Dr. Andrew Davis, one of Vyrso’s top authors to watch in 2014, and a recent speaker at the Cross Conference, where he spoke alongside big-name authors like John Piper and David Platt. His first book, An Infinite Journey: Growing toward Christlikeness, has already received glowing reviews from D. A. Carson and Tim Challies and is available on Vyrso for only $11.99.
1. You were named one of Vyrso’s top authors to watch in 2014—what makes your book unique?
I think my book finds its maximum usefulness in giving a big-picture overview of the whole of the Christian life, seeking to arrange it in good order: “a place for everything and everything in its place.” In the Great Commission, Jesus says that the church should teach disciples to obey everything he has commanded. I wanted to try to organize major and minor themes of Christian maturity in a pattern that was faithful to Scripture and clear for the reader. I have not seen such an attempt in another book. Other books give the theology of sanctification, or zero in on key areas of Christian holiness. I try to get the whole thing in one place, like a map of the world’s nations.
2. What inspired you to write An Infinite Journey?
All my Christian life, I have been captured by the amazingly wise and gracious way God deals with us sinners in steps: justification, sanctification, glorification. I began to realize that helping Christians grow to full maturity in Christ was a major part of my calling, but I couldn’t find a roadmap for describing that journey. I began sketching out notes to help with personal discipleship relationships I was in, and then began teaching these things at First Baptist Church in Durham, NC, and the project grew from there.
3. According to D. A. Carson, “Those who think of themselves as Christians but who have no desire to grow in holiness need this book.” What about this book lends itself to Christians who aren’t looking to grow?
I seek to clearly explain how justification and sanctification relate to each other, and passionately appeal to all of Christ’s disciples to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). I make an appeal based on James 2 (“faith without works is dead”) and say that, to claim to have faith and have no growth in Christlikeness is a contradiction in terms. My prayer is that such words may have a powerful effect on those who have been lazy in their sanctification up until now, or, even more significantly, to bring some who’ve been deluded until now into a genuine faith in Christ.
4. What’s the number-one thing that keeps Christians from growing toward Christlikeness? How can they overcome this?
I think the powerful toxic brew of “the world, the flesh, and the devil” is what hinders all Christians from growing as we should. Genuine Christians love righteousness and hate wickedness. But indwelling sin (Romans 7) is very powerful, and “the very thing we hate, we do; while the very thing we love, we don’t do.” Satan cleverly uses the world’s allures to form an alliance with our traitorous flesh to hinder our growth. The blood of Jesus Christ, the power of the indwelling Spirit, and the faithful ministry of the Word of God are sufficient to conquer sin and help Christians grow by faith.
5. “An infinite journey” sounds like a fairly daunting task—why name your book this?
I am not entirely satisfied with the word “infinite.” One could misunderstand from that word that we’ll never arrive at the destination of perfection in Christ. But I believe two things about the journey toward Christlikeness: 1, we will most certainly be perfectly conformed to Christ in heaven; 2, we will most certainly not be perfect here on earth. Thus, sanctification is a journey that will stretch out before us until the day we die. And truly mature Christians know that the standard of total conformity to Christ is infinitely high, and we’ll not attain to it while we live. But because we know that every advance we make toward Christlikeness is greatly glorifying to God, greatly satisfying to us, and incredibly fruitful for the Kingdom of God, we will continue to strive vigorously until we die and glorification completes the journey in an instant. So, I named the book An Infinite Journey to point to a work that will engage us for the rest of our lives.
6. How did your pastoral work affect your book’s message?
My experience as a pastor shaped a great deal of the book, as I have learned more and more what kinds of struggles Christ’s sheep have with holiness and fruitfulness. Preaching weekly, teaching the Bible regularly, counseling, evangelizing, and discipling new Christians have been rich lessons for me on the need for such a book, and the best ways for me to explain aspects of the Christian life. I love the idea of this book being used primarily in family and church settings, helping the next generation of Christian leaders grow.
7. If readers only take one thing away from your book, what do you want that to be?
It is greatly glorifying to God and it is necessary to your own eternal joy to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is by God’s Spirit alone that you can grow into Christlike maturity. Run your race to the end!
8. What’s next for you?
I am working on a commentary on the book of Isaiah, which I hope to finish in the spring. I would also like to work on a short and clear book on the powerful lessons of the animal sacrificial system for the Christian life. But the focus of my life is to grow in Christ, to love my wife, to train my children, to shepherd the flock God has entrusted to me and to the other elders at FBC, and to seek to advance the Kingdom by evangelism and missions. Those works will keep me occupied until the Lord calls me to lay them down.
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Learn to glorify God, and grow in faith and character: download Dr. Davis’ new book, An Infinite Journey, today!