Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Christian Life

1 Peter 1:8 has long been a favorite verse of mine - "and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory."

I have been a Christian for the majority of my life, and from the time that I was converted as a child, I have always felt that this verse speaks volumes about the fundamental heartbeat of a child of God.

It is also true that joy inexpressible is not the only experience of a follower of Jesus. Like Him, we suffer and war against the devil. The Christian life is not a neat and clean type of deal; it is exhilarating, messy, hugely difficult, impossible, and worthwhile, to only mention a few descriptors. The Christian life is a fight of faith. It is communal, individual, intensely oriented towards God alone, and yet consumed with the good of others.

I love concise books on the Christian life. I am building a little collection of books to which I can continually return and which I can recommend to others, books that serve to illuminate the Scriptures and their place of primacy in the Christian's life. So far, my collection is as follows:

- Martin Luther on "The Freedom of a Christian"
- Charles Leiter's Justification and Regeneration
- Ron Julian's Righteous Sinners
- Milton Vincent's A Gospel Primer

Each of these books is pretty short, and each of them offers immediate benefit to the Christian who seeks to follow Christ amid the obstacles of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The gospel is at the heart of each of these books.

Lately, I have been helped by Calvin's Institutes and David Powlison's Seeing with New Eyes as well. Calvin's work is 1500+ pages I believe, but it was originally much shorter. It was always intended to serve as a helpful resource for the "average" Christian-a resource on doctrine and the Christian life. My reading of it so far dispels even my own suspicions about Calvin, not to mention the suspicion of those who largely disagree with the theology associated with his name. In other words, Calvin is imminently practical, refreshing, God-honoring, and readable.

So, what are your thoughts on the Christian life? What books do you think are wonderful companions to the Scriptures?


Ashley & Chuck said...


Would you rank Luther's book the best of the four? I've never read it.


JCRandolph said...

Perhaps I would, simply because it is a classic. I have read it twice for different school assignments; it takes about 1-2 hours to read probably. I love it.

Anonymous said...

On the Incarnation by St Athanasius of Alexandria



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