Authors: Bill Gillham
HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture verses are taken are taken from the New American Standard Bible
, © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (
are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
are taken from
The Living Bible
, Copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189 USA. All rights reserved.
Cover by Koechel Peterson & Associates, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cover photo © iStockphoto / kokophoto
Copyright © 1993 by Bill Gillham
Published by Harvest House Publishers
Eugene, Oregon 97402
ISBN 978-0-7369-4786-2 (pbk.)
ISBN 978-0-7369-4787-9 (eBook)
The Library of Congress has cataloged the edition as follows:
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Lifetime guarantee/Bill Gillham.
Originally published: Bretwood, Tenn.: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1987.
1. Christian life—1960- I. Title
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, digital, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
To my beloved wife, Anabel
I gratefully acknowledge the Holy Spirit, who worked through the Word and members of the body to teach me the truths contained in this book.
Preston H. Gillham, M.S.
Bill and I were business and ministry partners for more than 30 years. We were also family for more than 55 years: he as the father, me as the son. When I came into the world, Dad held me. When he exited this world on June 23, 2011, I held him.
So, what’s left? Of course, there are memories galore, things I will treasure throughout the duration of my days. But what about you? What is there for you from Bill’s life?
In large part, you hold it in your hands:
Dad was a brilliant man, versed in any number of subjects. When I was in graduate school, I was required to take a course on the subject of testing, including intelligence testing. Part of the class requirement was to administer what seemed like a million tests, so I tested anyone with a heartbeat, including Dad. He missed one question on the entire Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.
But in spite of Dad’s breadth and depth intellectually, in his heart he was called to one thing: communicating to followers of Christ what it means to live in Christ—victoriously!—in the Spirit, not after the flesh.
As a doctor of education, a university professor by profession, a brilliant man, and a man specifically commissioned by God, Dad brought all to bear in creating the collection of words and diagrams you are holding.
In the early days, when Dad and I were in private practice together, several times a week we would sit over lunch and review the definition of “flesh” in Scripture. It was uncanny how elusive the definition proved to be—lunch after lunch. After a while it became clear: The definition of the flesh is elusive because it is an essential component to practical victory in Christ. The last thing in the world God’s adversary wants believers to grasp is just that: an understanding of what they have been delivered from and no longer have to yield to as new people. In Christ, there is a divine alternative to life as usual, and the alternative is remarkable!
Through the furnace of counseling and the public forum of teaching, Dad honed his ability to communicate with simplicity and personal transparency the lifetime guarantee recorded for our consideration in Romans 5–8. After accepting Christ’s invitation of life while watching Billy Graham on TV in 1958 and then attempting to live, understand, and convey the Christian life in the intervening years, in 1987 Dad sat down and penned
It is his life’s work.
Perhaps I am biased about Dad and this book. It’s a fair criticism, and one I have carefully considered but reject. I’m certain my opinion of Dad is skewed, like any son’s, but Lifetime Guarantee is not a book written by my dad, per se. It is a book written by my partner. The theology in this book is profound. In fact, my name appears in the flyleaf as well, and I have had to defend the book on occasion. If anything, I was the hardest critic of both Dad and
The book is rock solid! But as Dad would tell you, don’t take my word for it. Read the book. Then read The Book. Judge Dad’s pen against the divine pen. If
is found lacking, find something else to read. But if you find it to be complimentary to the divine work, as many before you have, then I encourage you to embrace the pages that follow with heart, soul, and resolute volition as transformational, life-altering, and representative of Dad’s heart for you, his reader.
If you would like to read more about Dad, he has other books and resources readily available. If you would like to read more of the relationship Dad and I shared, you might start at
Dad signed any number of copies of
. Many of those books, handed to him with trembling hands, were heavily marked, dated, tear-stained, dog-eared, notated, and held together with tape from repeated reference. May you find Dad’s work equally compelling, and may the message of
and my father’s words speak life deep into the recesses of your soul.
Fort Worth, TX
This book is written to the Christian who is struggling in his attempt to live the life of victory in Jesus. It is not a mere glimmer of light at the end of a dark tunnel. Rather, I trust you will discover, as I have, that these truths open wide the door to “the life [that] is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
People usually buy a book on marriage if they’ve got a problem in their marriage, or they order a book on self-esteem if they have a low one. But the problem they’re actually experiencing is the basic question of how to make the Christian life work. We all have the same problem when you get right down to it.
As I’ve interacted with thousands of people over my years as a Christian counselor, the hurting person would typically tell me about what counselors refer to as “the presenting problem.” I got to where I would sit there with a sort of “hidden agenda,” knowing what the
problem was but, of course, listening intently and empathetically anyway. I began to see that what they were seeing as their problem was in reality but a symptom of the problem. They were looking for a way to eliminate the symptom, which in their view would solve the problem.
That simply won’t work. We all agree that a person with a physical illness who concentrates on eliminating symptoms will have a similar experience to that of the person trying to hold a couple of dozen table tennis balls under water. Think of how absurd it would be to treat your child’s fever, which is a symptom of the presence of infection, by packing him in ice! That would lower his temperature, all right, but it would lower the kid, too, by six feet! The fever is not the problem; it is merely a symptom of the underlying trouble.
Doctors are trained to treat problems, not symptoms. The symptoms indicate to them the nature of the problem. Once this has been determined, they attack the problem, the
of the symptom. Once you correct the problem, many of the symptoms will improve or even disappear.
I’ve forgotten who said it, but I once heard a preacher say something like this: “Your problem is that you don’t know what your problem is. You think your problem is your problem, but that’s not the problem at all. Your problem is not your problem, and that’s your main problem.”
the problem? Are you ready for this? Here it is. The problem is that you have yet to discover that the Christian life is not difficult to live—it’s
to live! There it is in a nutshell. God never intended that you be able to live the Christian life at all. The harder you try to live your life for God, the more frustrated you’ll become. But hold the phone! That is precisely the position of weakness and desperation from which the Holy Spirit wants to teach you the reason Jesus came
you. Have you ever questioned why He didn’t come under you, over you, behind you, alongside you, or in front of you? Jesus is the only one who ever
lived the Christian life, and He’s the only one who
live it today—through you! That’s why God can offer a lifetime guarantee of abundant living—and why most believers have yet to experience it.