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One Forever: the transforming power of being in Christ

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  1. Great Discipling Tool! Review / Tip by Jim

    Christian. Believer. Saved. Disciple. All of these are words that people use to describe a person who is a Christian. Here is a term that is used frequently in scripture: in Christ. In his book One Forever, Rory Shiner explores what the Bible means when it says the Christian is “in Christ.” With a subtitle of The Transforming Power of Being in Christ he wants to show us how such a term is “graspable, substantial, and, above all, liveable.

    How does Shiner do that? He begins at the beginning: Creation, when God created man and woman, which Paul uses in Ephesians 5 to picture our relationship to Christ. He then proceeds to take us to the incarnation of Christ where we see the union of God become united to man through the coming of Christ.

    Those first two chapters set up the great truth of being in Christ is seen everywhere in the New Testament. Shiner points out important pictures that show a relationship of Christ with the believer: the vine and the branches, the body of Christ, as well as the “one flesh” picture already mentioned. This is followed by a wonderful chapter on justification, the important doctrine of being declared righteous in the “righteous court of God” (p. 45). He then uses the questions found at the end of Romans 8 to show that our union with Christ is eternal. Nothing can separate us from Christ.

    That brings us to the all-important topic of sin in the Christian life. Our union with Christ is our “defence against the playground bullies of sin and temptation” (p. 56). In chapter 5 he goes to Romans 6 to find that we have new life because we have been crucified with Christ.

    The final two chapters then deal with our union with Christ as it relates to the Church and the Resurrection. In the chapter on the Church, Shiner turns to 1 Corinthians 12 to talk about the relationship we have with one another as the body of Christ. He makes a great conclusion when he says, “So, here’s a practical suggestion for growing in union with Christ: show up to church. I mean really show up. Go expecting to be a gift to the body, to bless the body, to love the body, and so to love Christ.” (p. 74) I couldn’t have said it better.

    The resurrection chapter takes us to 1 Corinthians 15, showing how we are united to Christ also in His resurrection, with the practical conclusion of being “steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:5). Shiner challenges us in light of our resurrection of Jesus and our future hope to be engaged “passionately, with your whole heart. With single-minded devotion. With everything you’ve got.” (p. 87).

    This book is short, easy to read, and helpful for all Christians. I especially like the description that Shiner provides when he compares our relationship to Christ to a passenger in an airplane. After using terms that we might use to describe our relationship to Christ as being under Christ, inspired by Christ, or following Christ, he says this: "Of course, the key relationship you need with the plane is not to be under it, behind it or inspired by it. You need to be in it. Why? Because by being in the plane, what happens to the plane will also happen to you." (p. 34)

    I like that idea. Trusting Christ means that we are united in Him. “And we are in him, so that whatever is true of Jesus is also true of us.” (p. 35) I would encourage you to read it and share it with someone else. It makes a great discipling tool for a new Christian or a book that you can read together with another one who is “united with Christ” like you are. Your life just might be transformed!
    (Posted on 23/06/2013)

  2. The book is aimed at explaining very deep theological truth, truth which effects every area of a Christian's life and practice. In a very clear and precise way, Shiner explains the doctrinal truths of original sin and union with Christ. Review / Tip by crt010304

    I received One Forever – the transforming power of being in Christ from Matthias Media as a review copy. I was certainly intrigued by the topic of the book, especially since I had recently read Bound Together by Chris Brauns, which also discussed union with Christ. The book is not long (88 pages) but it is well-written. It is a part of Matthias Media's Guidebooks for Life. I have not read any of the other works in this series but I am inclined to do so now.

    Shiner, an associate pastor at St. Matthew's Shenton Park, writes in a very accessible way. The topic he discusses is one of great theological and practical importance. For a believer to understand the truth and implications of being in union with Christ is of inestimable worth. As the author discusses, for many believers it is not a matter of “trying harder” but rather of understanding and appropriating what belongs to him as a result of union with Christ. Mos believers in local churches are entirely unaware of what is means to be “in Christ” nor how this truth effects their very identity. Shiner sets out to rectify this very issue in his book and does an excellent job.

    The book is aimed at explaining very deep theological truth, truth which effects every area of a Christian's life and practice. In a very clear and precise way, Shiner explains the doctrinal truths of original sin and union with Christ. He uses Scripture responsibly to support his proposals and does not attempt to go “beyond what is written.” The author also uses illustrations and stories that are rather ingenious in their simplicity, but on the mark in their picture of deep theological truth. I plan to use this book as a discipleship resource in the local church which I pastor. The book is not intimidating in length, but it addresses this important subject admirably. I highly recommend it. (Posted on 5/06/2013)

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