by Bob George
187 pages / 2010
by Syd Hielema and Aaron Baart
130 pages / 2013
The communion of saints is a wonderful thing. First a brother-in-law, then my wife brought me two really good reads about who we are in Christ... and the difference that makes.
Bob George's Classic Christianity reminds Reformed Christians of what we already know, doctrinally - that our salvation is all of grace - but also of something we stress much less - that our relationship with God is about much more than salvation. George tells us that salvation (being saved from God's just judgment) is only the beginning of the story. We are not only given eternal life in the future, but are made alive in Christ's resurrection power right now. Our very identity has changed, because we know ourselves to be not only loved by God, but also unconditionally accepted as His adopted children, freed from slavery to the law, growing in grace.
Vivid makes many of the same points, but puts them in a more specific context - that of who we are not only in our personal relationship with God, but also in our role as workers in His kingdom. Here are some of the more thought-provoking insights:
- Knowing God through His Son takes us from the counterfeit kingdom of Satan to the blessed kingdom of Christ.
- Life in the kingdom, at various times in our lives (sometimes on the same day), is like a playground, a workshop, a battlefield, and an intensive care unit.
- Even as we move through these aspects of kingdom life, God reveals our new identity by changing our desires, our character, our emotions, and our imaginations.
- Changing our imaginations releases us from the foolishness of the American dream.
- We can further the work of the Spirit in our transformation by cultivating spiritual disciplines, (which do not come in a one-size-fits-all form).
- As we continue to be transformed by God, our calling becomes clearer - a calling which is more than a job, a calling which glories in the small things.
- Like Jesus' original disciples, we are the "sent ones," so let us just go!
The only false note in the book is the use of "Pastor Rita" as one of the examples of life in the kingdom - an example consistent with the denominational background of one of the authors - but not consistent with Biblical revelation on the role of women in the church.