As Christians we know that our goal is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31). How do we do this? We do it by obeying God. But how do we know how to obey God? How do we know what he desires? This is where we see the important connection between Christian doctrine and Christian living. In view of this I try to regularly read a book on a particular doctrine or doctrines. This helps remind and refresh me with things I know and provide rich new discoveries of things I don’t yet know. It has been a very helpful practice for me.
This last month I picked up a book that has had great reviews for years but was not something that I had read personally. The Christian Life, by Sinclair Ferguson is walk through 18 chapters on the “nuts and bolts” of basic doctrine for living. Anyone who is familiar with Ferguson knows that he is able to take complex topics and make them accessible without compromising. In particular, he is able to take the concept from the “classroom” to the “pavement” by teaching how it applies. I really appreciate this about the author.
One feature that makes this book especially helpful is how the author is able to distill very important concepts from authors that laymen may find intimidating. Ferguson quotes or pulls from authors such as John Calvin, John Owen, Augustine, and others, to further bolster his teaching. When you read Ferguson you are reading Calvin and Owen without realizing it. Not bad.
I found the chapters on Union with Christ and Crucifying Sin to be the most rich to me. Ferguson often works through a text to wring it out of its doctrinal importance. Here he teaches you the Bible while teaching you systematic theology.
I’ve listed the chapter/subjects below:
Knowing is for living
God’s broken image
The plan of grace
Called by God
Conviction of sin
Faith in Christ
Sons of God
Union with Christ
Sin’s dominion ended
The Christian’s conflicts
Asleep in Christ
I can’t think of a critique for the book. I wish I would have read it years ago. Now I have the privilege of reading it with others and recommending it to them.
Pick up a discounted copy of the newly formatted 2013 edition at Amazon.