Yesterday I received a copy of Brian Hedges’, Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change. In skimming the book, it looks like a very exciting and promising tool for aiding the believer in personal and corporate sanctification and spiritual formation. Immediately I can see that this work will be beneficial to the task of faithful, Christ-centered pastoral counseling (as opposed to many eclectic and integrative forms of “Christian” or “pastoral” counseling that do not give enough attention to the pervasiveness of sin in the soul and the power of Christ and his church for inward, God-fearing, spiritual change). Congrats to Brian on the book! Also thanks go to Tedd Tripp and Shepherd Press for seeing this work through to publication.
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.