Monday, January 14, 2013

In Christ Alone: Living the gospel centred life by Sinclair B. Ferguson

In Christ Alone by Sinclair Ferguson

It's long been my practice to leave a book in the car that I can read when waiting for a doctor's or dentist's appointment or something. That way waiting time isn't wasted time. However, since investing in an Android tablet, loaded up with the Kobo e-Reader, I've been grabbing the tablet when I expect to be waiting around for a while. I've invested in several e-Books, usually at knock-down prices, but one of the first I downloaded was In Christ Alone by Sinclair Ferguson. It was going for only £0.99 at the time. Unbelievable. The title is really great for occasional reading, when you've got five or ten minutes to spare, as it's made up brief and punchy chapters that get straight to the point. 

If you are not already acquainted with Sinclair Ferguson's writings, then this might be a good place to start. You couldn't wish for a better theme than life in Christ and the theologian certainly warms to it. This title is informed by the theological acumen and exegetical skill that we have come to expect from Ferguson's pen, or keyboard more likely. But especially here, his gifts as a theologian and biblical scholar are at the service of a pastor-teacher with a keen desire to help the people of God live out of the fullness of their union with Christ.

Ferguson draws on the riches of God's Word to paint a fine portrait of the person and work of the Saviour. He is the second person of the Trinity, the Word made flesh for us and our salvation. He is our Prophet, Priest and King. He died for our sins and was raised from the tomb that we might live through him. In Christ we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. By virtue of our union with him we are justified and called to a new life of faith and holiness. Ferguson gives attention to the practicalities of life in Christ, devoting pithy chapters to matters such as prayer, guidance, the mortification of sin, Christian liberty and humility in service. In the the final chapter we are given a glimpse of the rest that remains for the people of God.

This work is Ferguson at his best. In Christ Alone is theologically profound without being complicated, devotionally warm without being sentimental and practical without being a spiritual self-help manual. When reading I often had to pause and silently worship the Christ who brought me into saving union with himself by his Spirit and into communion with our God and Father. I doubt reading Hello magazine or a leaflet on the health benefits of tea while waiting for an appointment would have have the same effect. Highly recommended. 


Gary Brady said...

All you say of the book is true. I'm reading mine on kindle and managed to grab it when it was actually free. Excellent stuff.

Guy Davies said...

Enjoying your 'What is Jesus doing now? ' for an ET review. Going to Affinity Conf?