The Christian’s Great Interest
Assurance of salvation is the subject of this highly readable, practical book. With vast pastoral concern for believers struggling with uncertainty of heart about their assurance, and unbelievers living comfortably with a false assurance, Guthrie shows what a true interest in Christ is, and answers important and common questions that arise. John Owen, based on this one book, regarded Guthrie as one of the greatest ministers to have ever written.
All of Guthrie’s teaching and pastoral experience were poured into The Christian’s Great Interest – his only book. This remarkable volume has gone through 80 editions and been translated into several languages, which testifies to its value. This book describes in a clear and attractive style what it means to be a Christian, and how to become one.
This book is all about Christ: the Christian’s great interest should be Christ; the unbeliever needs to develop an interest in Christ. It describes in a simple, clear, and attractive style what it means to be a Christian, and how to become one.
Comment from Spurgeon:
Preaching on Revelation 22:2, C. H. Spurgeon once said:
our Lord Jesus Christ is life from the dead, and life to his own living people. He is All-in-All to them. And by him and by him, alone, must their spiritual life be maintained…Jesus Christ is a Tree of Life and we shall so speak of him in the hope that some may come and pluck of the fruit and eat and live forever.
This too, is Guthrie’s purpose. In the first part, he looks at how someone is drawn to Christ, what the evidences are of true saving grace, and the difference between a true Christian and a hypocrite. In the second part he describes how to ‘close’ with Christ, and deals with various objections, difficulties, and doubts.
“It has long been the favourite work of our peasantry in Scotland. One admirable property of The Christian’s Great Interest is that, while it guides, it purifies.” — Thomas Chalmers
The purpose of the book
The word “interest” in the title of Guthrie’s book does not just mean that the book deals with the matter of greatest importance to a Christian. It also has a legal sense in which to have an interest means to have a valid stake or share in something. Guthrie’s book deals with how the Christian may know that he has a legal claim within the Will and Testament or Covenant that the Lord Jesus Christ graciously makes with His people. Guthrie helps us to put ourselves in a courtroom trial where we are under Scripture as a judge to determine whether or not our claim is a true one.
Guthrie opens the book with a concern that there are many “pretending, without ground, to a special interest in Christ”. On the other hand many others “who have good ground of a claim to Christ are not established in the confidence of His favour, but remain in the dark without comfort, hesitating concerning the reality of godliness in themselves”. This state of affairs prompts two questions:
1. How can someone know if they are in Christ and whether or not he may lay genuine claim to God’s favour and salvation?
2. What should we do if we cannot find in ourselves the marks of a saving interest?
- Introduction: How shall a man know if he has a true and special interest in Christ? Whether he has, or may lay claim to, God’s favor and salvation?
- Things Premised for the Better Understanding of the Trial Itself
- The Various Ways by which Men are Drawn to Christ
- Faith as an Evidence of an Interest in Christ
- Of the New Creature as an Evidence of an Interest in Christ
- Some Things Premised for the Information of the Ignorant
- What it is to Close with God’s Saving Plan of Saving Sinners by Christ Jesus, and the Duty of So Doing
- Objections and Difficulties Explained and Answered
- Concerning Personal Covenanting with God in Christ
- The Whole Treatise Resumed in a Few Questions and Answers
The Christian’s Great Interest