dord (dôrd), n. density of mind; chiefly exhibited by one who attempts to demonstrate supposed knowledge --adj. dord'ish


Book Review: Living the Cross Centered Life

Never move on from the Gospel. Keep the Gospel the main thing. Those two corollaries sum up the message of C.J. Mahaney's Living the Cross Centered Life, the combined and expanded result of two of Mahaney's previous works: Christ Our Mediator and The Cross Centered Life.

Looking to the New Testament writings of the Apostle Paul, Mahaney begins Living the Cross Centered Life by making a case for why the gospel should define our lives. He then spends several chapters reviewing Christ's final hours, leading up to and culminating in His atoning death on the cross, reminding us of the foundation for everything else in the book.

The latter half of the book examines how the gospel informs our view of suffering and is the foundation of our joy. He also looks at three specific dangerous tendencies in the lives of Christians--subjectivism, legalism, condemnation--and examines how the gospel speaks directly to each of these errors.

Mahaney also addresses the misperception that a Christians are saved by Christ's work on the cross, and then move on to other things like sanctification and fellowship. Mahaney counters by saying that, yes, things like sanctification and fellowship are necessary, but we are mistaken to think that we move on from the cross to these things: "[T]he 'more' you need as a follower of Christ won't be found apart from the cross. The gospel isn't one class among many that you'll attend during your life as a Christian--the gospel is the whole building where all the classes take place!"

This book, together with the Jerry Bridges books I have recently read (The Discipline of Grace and The Gospel for Real Life), has done much to open my eyes to the centrality of Christ's work on the cross in both our justification and our sanctification, and to encourage me in applying the gospel to my life each day. Having seen my own tendency to let my focus to drift toward other things, and having seen how clearly this book addresses and exhorts believers to never move on, I'm sure I will re-read it frequently--though the point is not merely to re-read.

In the book's final chapter, Mahaney says, "I won't mind if my book winds up in a forgotten corner of a bookshelf, collecting dust. But I do hope the message of this book is one you'll never put on a shelf. Never let the cross slide into second or third place in your life. Never lay it aside. Never move on."

Rating: Must Read



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