The Cross Centered Life
Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Publisher: Multnomah Publishers
Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team
I have had the mixed blessing of reading several of the titles in the LifeChange series. Some have been good, some have been awful. But I guess that is to be expected when the authors represented range from C.J. Mahaney to Pat Robertson; from John Piper to Bill Gothard. Of the titles I have read, none has been better than The Cross Centered Life.
In his book The Discipline of Grace Jerry Bridges wrote, "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 the joy of living by it" (The Discipline of Grace, page 46). C.J. Mahaney would have us remember that sometimes the most obvious truths are the very ones we need to be reminded of the most. The Cross Centered Life is just such a reminder.
This is a small book, weighing in at a mere 89 pages. But its small stature is no indication of the weighty content inside. Throughout the book Mahaney calls the Christian to look only and always at the cross, and to find there the power to live a life that is pleasing to God. He reminds us of the great truths of the Christian faith: the truths of the objective nature of justification and the ongoing responsibility for our sanctification. He provides practical guidance on living each day so that it is centered on the cross. He tells us to memorize the gospel, to pray it, sing it, to review its power in our lives and to study it, that our understanding may foster greater passion for it.
Mahaney’s love for the cross shines through on each page. His passion is contagious, leading the reader to rejoice in the completed work of the Savior and to depend on His power in every area of life. "Name the area of the Christian life that you want to learn about or that you want to grow in. The Old Testament? The end times? Do you want to grow in holiness or the practice of prayer? To become a better husband, wife, or parent? None of these can be rightly understood apart from God’s grace through Jesus’ death. They, and indeed all topics, should be studied through the lens of the gospel" (page 76).
A book that seems poised, and rightly so, to become a defining point in Mahaney’s ministry, The Cross Centered Life is a wonderful, challenging little book that I am glad to recommend. It will do exactly what Mahaney wanted it to do: help you keep the gospel the main thing.