A Biblically Balanced, Christ-Centered Approach to the Christian Life
Far from the two extremes of legalism and license, in Christ Formed in You author Brian G. Hedges not only takes the most important central tenet of the Christian faith - the gospel - and shows the glory of its foundation to the Christian life, but astoundingly he also shows the remarkable true nature of the gospel as both the means and the end of the full Christian life.
That's the main premise of the book anyway. Hedges shows, in so many ways, that the Christian life is - and must be - saturated with a true and deep understanding of the gospel. For the gospel alone has not only the authority to demand the Christian life, but it alone has the power to enable and accomplish it.
This thought is, to be sure, gravely missing from much of the church today. It's as if believers are forced to choose between "cheap grace" and with it a license to sin, or a strict discipline of "obedience" without the foundation of true transformation from within (which, as Scripture teaches, is antithetical to the true Christian life - see, Matt. 23:25-28; Jn. 15:5; Phil. 3:1-9). But Hedges shows the Biblical alternative!
Obviously, many believers already live this alternative - or want to - but they may not really understand how or why they live this way or why they have this longing to live this way. Brian here shows how and why - and it's always based on Scripture. That's the important thing!
Hedges restores to the Christian community what has been severely lacking in many popular Christian living books today in print: the Gospel! Conservative evangelicals understand that the gospel is our only way to salvation (true enough!). But sadly, it seems that few evangelicals understand that the gospel is also our only way to living out the Christian life. Thankfully, this message is the very entirety of the book.
If you intend to highlight life-impacting parts of the book you can forget it - because you'll run out of highlighters, and you'll just have turned all the pages a different color. I wish this was an exaggeration (for the sake of my hand and highlighter budget), but there isn't a single chapter where I didn't find myself in amazement of the truth of the gospel - in all its beauty - and its powerful, Biblical, Christ-centered nature to affect in us the Christian life.
As Hedges takes us through Scripture, it becomes clear that we are never given a license to sin; and we are never given the impossible requirement to be transformed in and through our own self-effort and self-motivation. Rather we are given the Gospel! We are given Christ Himself. The more we come to know Christ and His gospel the more we are willing and able to live the Christian life in and through His power, because it is He who is formed in us.
Theologically sound, Christ-centered, Spirit-saturated, Biblically-balanced, and pastorally-written: I commend this book to every Christian! I earnestly desire that you read this book, and be changed by God's grace as He opens your mind and heart and life to the wonderful transformation that only His gospel can bring about.