Tag Archives: gospel

Book Review: Christ Formed in You

I can honestly say this is the best book I read in 2011. If you only have time to read one book this year, this is the one I recommend. In fact I loved it so much I bought it for two people as Christmas presents. This is a book I hope to read annually.

After reading Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change by Brian G. Hedges, I have to say I’m very disappointed I haven’t heard more preaching on some of the topics this book covers. Most specifically, I’ve never heard anyone preach a sermon about mortification or vivification; yet these seem like some of the basics that every Christian should know. I’ve read the epistles a dozen times but only once have I heard someone else talk about the putting off/putting on that Paul describes. (The only other book I’ve read that covers this is God without Religion by Andrew Farley.) I felt as though, after reading Christ Formed in You, that this is the meat and potatoes of our involvement in progressive sanctification. I feel like these are essential topics that need to get taught more in our churches.

Of greatest importance is Hedges’ insistence that we never “move on” from the Gospel; instead we are to be rooted and established in the Gospel; it is the soil from which we grow. This is something that I had to learn early on when I started taking theology classes. After a couple semesters my studies became a detached, sterile exercise and my relationship with God started to suffer significantly. I took a few semesters off (during a deployment) and managed to recover the Gospel for myself, but it would have been easier if I had known much of what is covered in Christ Formed in You.

If book publications are any indicator, it seems as though there is a revival in “Gospel awareness” among influential pastors. I feel as though we will see a huge movement of “Gospel-centered” preaching, teaching, and ministry arise from the next generation of church leaders. I’m excited to be a part of it and certainly want to learn more about how to apply the Gospel to my daily life.

Overall, I think this was an excellent, refreshing book that covers many of the basics of Christian living. Ideally, I would recommend that young Christians read it so as to start their spiritual formation on a solid foundation. It’s a great book with lots of solid, applicable teaching.

David Platt compares the modern-day “gospel” against the Biblical Gospel

We are not evil, we think, and certainly not spiritually dead. Haven’t you heard of the power of positive thinking? I can become a better me and experience my best life now. That’s why God is there–to make that happen. My life is not going right, but God loves me and has a plan to fix my life. I simply need to follow certain steps, think certain things, and check off certain boxes, and then I am good.

Both our diagnosis of the situation and our conclusion regarding the solution fit nicely in a culture that exalts self-sufficiency, self-esteem, and self-confidence. We already have a fairly high view of our morality, so when we add a superstitious prayer, a subsequent dose of church attendance, and obedience to some of the Bible, we feel pretty sure that we will be all right in the end.

Note the contrast, however, when you diagnose the problem biblically.The modern-day gospel says, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Therefore, follow these steps, and you can be saved.” Meanwhile, the biblical gospel says, “You are an enemy of God, dead in your sin, and in your present state of rebellion, you are not even able to see that you need life, much less it cause yourself to come to life. Therefore, you are radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you could never do.

The former sells books and draws crowds. That latter saves souls. Which is more important?

David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream(Colorado Springs:  Multnomah Books, 2010), 32.

Tullian Tchividjian on Gospel-Centered Obedience

Any obedience not grounded in or motivated by the Gospel is unsustainable. Won’t last! Because the Gospel focuses on Jesus’ performance for us not our performance for Him. When the Bible speaks about sinners being justified it means our standing with God does not depend on our obedience; our standing with God is dependent on Christ’s obedience for us.

Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus + Nothing = Everything Sermon

The Gospel

The Gospel doesn’t just ignite the Christian life, it’s the fuel that keeps Christians going and growing every day. Once God saves us He doesn’t move us beyond the Gospel, He moves us more deeply into the Gospel.

Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus + Nothing = Everything Sermon