Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review - Christ Formed in You (Part II)

In the introduction, Hedges lays out his purpose. The Christian life is about conformity to Christ, and he will strive to map out the trail to get there. There are many wrong expressions and emphases of the gospel message that pervade modern Christianity, such as intellectualism, experiential pietism, 'lot go and let god 'thinking, etc, and hedges wants to guide us safely as the twin precipices of legalism and cheap grace - to show us how the transformation that God wants for all believers happens. Noting that there are a lot of excellent books that emphasize certain aspects of the path towards Christlikeness (Holiness, community and suffering, Gospel content, gospel application, motivating power, etc), Hedges looks to try and bring these all together in a single accessible volume. Following Owen, Hedges points out that holiness and christlikeness is not something we get after the gospel, but simply the implanting, writing and living out the gospel in our souls", the the rest of the book will work through this.

The first two chapters aim at laying out where we are going and what the gospel is as foundations for the rest of the book. In Chapter 1, Hedges lays out the grand themes of the Scripture, Creation, Fall and Redemption, showing how man was made with the purpose of glorifying God by reflecting Him, but how that purpose was shattered at the Fall with the entrance of sin. Redemption is thus not simply about salvation from punishment, but also to restore the shattered image, that we might again display God's glory in growing ever nearer to the image of Christ (as a side note, I love the reference to Lewis, Tolkien, and others throughout, Hedges finishing this chapter with an illustration from Narnia...enjoyed this through the whole book).

In Chapter 2 Hedges delves deeper into the nature of the Gospel. Starting with aspects of the Cross (substitution, restoration, rescue, triumph, etc), the book shows that the Gospel does not stop there. Christ rose from the dead the the first fruits of a glorious new harvest, was exalted and sent the Spirit as the "agent who personally effects our transformation." Christ died, rose and was exalted not simply for Himself, but that we could share in His victory and His image. Our response should be to turn (repent) and trust (have faith), seeking to enter into a life of ever closer communion with and conformity to Christ.

Note: I am reviewing this from a PDF version provided by the author, Brian Hedges


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