The Cross Centered Life; part one

Ok, so today I kick off a week long study of the book, The Cross Centered Life, by C. J. Mahaney. Today is the post with my thoughts on the first chapter of seven, entitled “Restating the Obvious.” Enjoy.

Today, God has taught me several things. He has pointed out to me the power of the cross. So, let’s begin.

C. J. begins his book talking about Paul. Paul was a man who focused his entire life on the gospel and it’s proclamation. He gave up the things of this world as well as it’s comforts to secure a place in heaven for untold trillions throughout the ages. The gospel is something that was dear to him. And as he drew nearer to the end of his life (“untimely” really since he was a martyr), he impresses upon Timothy, a preacher at one of the churches on Cyprus, the importance of keeping the gospel central.

C. J. then moves on to how he talks with his family, including his nine year old son, about the importance of sin and how it directly relates to the gospel; to why we need a Savior. Why does he talk with his young son about sin and it’s consequences? Because, he says, “I find it surprising that any loving person would withhold this truth from another person they love…

“This is what I hold out to my young son as the hope of his life: that Jesus, God’s perfect, righteous son, died in his place for his sins.”

He makes it clear that the gospel is important for the life of the believer, as much as the non-believer. He says that it is necessary for the constant growth and progress we as Christians should have in our lives. Without the daily call of the gospel to repent, to turn from our wicked ways and die to self (Galatians 2:20), we will become stagnant and cold in our lives.

I want to point that out though. He doesn’t mention our “spiritual” lives, but our lives. He, as well as I, believes that in the Christian there is no difference. We must live our lives as a spiritual people, called out by God to live in a fleshly world.

C. J. stresses the importance of understanding the gospel and applying it to our lives. Here is a link written by Steve Brice where he talks about how we will never fully understand the gospel, but how we should live out what we are consistantly learning throughout our lives anyway.

“The gospel is not only the most important message in all of history; it is the /only/ essential message in all of history. Yet, we allow thousands of professing Christians to live their entire lives without clearly understanding it and experiencing all the joy of living by it.” — Jerry Bridges

I really like that quote from page 15. We cannot fully live the joy that Christ wants us to have and the Spirit longs to produce in us if we don’t understand why we should be joyful. We can’t live by the gospel, progressing in sanctification, living purer, holier lives if we don’t understand what the gospel is, what it accomplished, and how that should effect our lives.

Tonight, I did a first for myself: I watched the Oprah lifeclass show. Why? Only because Rick Warren was in it and I wanted to form an opinion on him. Here’s my opinion after an hour of listening to him speak:

He needs to better understand the nature of sin, the fact that the Bible was written by the Ancient of Days and how He wrote it to last through all ages, and learn what it says a little better. I think he also needs to hear the Catechism and really learn what the purpose of life is.

Maybe Rick Warren also needs to read The Cross Centered Life. I hope you will join me, and read it too. 🙂

By the way, this is the first time I have read it, so these thoughts are raw and unedited. I can’t wait to learn more over this next week. Enjoy!

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