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Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change
Shepherd Press / 2010 / Paperback
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The central theme in Christ Formed in You is that it is God's purpose to change us by progressively making us more like Jesus, and that this happens only as we understand and apply the gospel to our lives. The author opens up the Scripture to show that it is the gospel which is the key to God's transforming us; it is the very foundation of personal change. He then outlines the pattern of this change: our death to sin, growth in grace through the power of the Spirit, and joyful pursuit of holiness. Finally, he explores with us the means of this personal change - the spiritual disciplines, suffering, and personal relationships in the body of Christ. This book will open up to you the beauty and transforming power of the gospel in your life.
The central claim in Christ Formed in You is that it is God s purpose to change us by progressively making us more like Jesus, and that this happens only as we understand and apply the gospel to our lives. In the pages that follow we will explore the transforming power of the gospel from several angles. Part One focuses on the foundations for personal change. We will look at God s ultimate goal in transforming us (Chapter One); the key to transformation, which is the gospel itself (Chapter Two); and the application of the gospel to our lives in three specific ways (Chapters Three, Four, and Five). Part Two then takes up the pattern of personal change. We will explore the captivating beauty of gospel holiness (Chapter Six); with its demands that we both kill sin (Chapter Seven); and grow in grace by the power of the Spirit (Chapter Eight); and the quest for joy that motivates us in this pursuit and strengthens us in the battle for holiness (Chapter Nine). Part Three of the book focuses on the means of personal change, the tools God uses to transform us. These final three chapters, while building on the foundation of the gospel discussed earlier in the book, are the most practical. We will learn how God uses spiritual disciplines (Chapter Ten); suffering (Chapter Eleven); and personal relationships in the body of Christ (Chapter Twelve) to conform us to the image of Christ. In each of these chapters, my aim has been to connect the dots between the gospel, the goal of Christlikeness, and the specific aspect of spirituality under discussion.
Brian Hedges serves as the Pastor of Preaching at Fulkerson Park Baptist Church in the Michiana (Michigan-Indiana) area. He and his wife Holly have three children: Stephen, Matthew and Susannah. Brian has a passion for both preaching and writing, and has contributed articles to Heartcry! A Journal on Revival and Spiritual Awakening and The Banner of Truth magazine.
In his book, Christ Formed in You, Brian G. Hedges leads the reader on a journey from spiritual infancy to a developed and maturing relationship with God. Hedges provides the essential tools necessary to put to death continually the sinful nature and to say yes to Christ daily. Every hour Christians are plagued from all sides with temptations and lies Christ Formed in You offers battle tactics for living a holy life. Hedges' approach to battling the carnal self is summed up in the verse Galatians 2:20a, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." The only effective way to battle sin is to love God more than sin.
Hedges explains that pursuing holiness is a process: although Christians are made holy through Christ, it is a gradual transformation to become more like God. The book is structured in an easy-to-follow format; Hedges explains foundational theology and defines many Christanese terms that the Church has used for years but whose meanings still mystify many. Brian G. Hedges has been pastor of Fulkerson Park Baptist Church in Niles, Michigan, since 2003. It is clear through his writing that he is a man who seeks the Lords heart.
"The good news is that God is re-forging the shards [of broken self]! When he is finished, no trace of the breakage will remain. For God has formed a rescue plan," Hedges writes. "I believe transformation is possible." One part of the book that is especially powerful is the focus on "fighting sin with the promises of God." Hedges states, "The goal is never simply refraining from sin, but actively replacing sin with righteousness as we are consciously motivated by the gospel."
Christ Formed in You gives countless biblical passages and quotes from theologians, all which drive home the point that God longs to transform his children, if they will allow it. Although at times the number of headings on each page can be cumbersome, the substance of the book makes up for it in its strength. It combines theology and the gospel to combat the sinful nature and to aid in the life-makeover God wants for everyone. Christ Formed in You is perfect for those who are young in their faith, those searching for answers to foundational theology, and those who wish to seek the Lord and be transformed. Benjamin Schmitt, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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