Book Teaser: "Knowing Christ" by Mark Jones
October 15, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
I’d like to invite you to read a book with me. I can’t do a book review because I’ve just started reading Mark Jones’ book, Knowing Christ, this week (it was just released September 28). Let me give you a book teaser since I have been thoroughly captivated (we have copies for $12 in our book center at church).
Mark Jones is a PCA minister in Vancouver and a Puritan scholar. In the vein of J.I. Packer’s (another Puritan scholar) Knowing God, Jones seeks to hold before the gaze of his readers the multifaceted treasure trove of Christ, exhorting us to know Christ better and to love him more. The task is like taking a precious gem and rotating it over and over to marvel at its splendor from every possible angle. Jones does this with the topic of knowing Christ by pouring over Scripture after Scripture about the greatness of Christ.
In speaking about the dignity of Christ, Jones highlights the Father’s delight in his Son (cf. Is. 42:1; Matt 3:17, 17:5). Jones then draws out how important it is for us to understand the Father’s love for his Son. “Jesus himself desires and prays that believers will know the love the Father has for the Son (John 17:23, 26). All the love that proceeds from the Father to the church must come through Christ… There is an everlasting flow of divine grace communicated to Jesus that perpetually flows from his head down onto his body (the church), because the Father loves Jesus (and thus his people) as the apple of his eye” (p. 11-12).
How deep the Father’s love for us! God does not love us because we are loveable or delightful. God loves us when we are in Christ, who is utterly delightful and loveable. God’s love is infinite because Christ is infinitely perfect. God’s love will never diminish or waver, because Christ never stumbles or fails. Our confidence and enjoyment of God’s love is assured, not because of anything we have done, but because of our union to Christ.
Jones goes on to make another observation regarding the Father’s love for Christ. He writes, “Believers should always remember that nothing makes us more like the Father than our love for his Son” (p. 12). Often when we think (perhaps it’s just me) about imitating the Father (Eph. 5:1) we think about his mercy and kindness and forgiveness. We do well in seeking to practice such virtues with one another (Eph. 4:32). Jones, however, presents an imitation of the Father that reaches to a (dare I say) higher level of glorifying God. Think of the implications. How often, when we think of glorifying the various persons of the Trinity, do we think of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit separately, as if we have three different tasks? By imitating the Father in loving the Son with a love only empowered by the Spirit, the unity of the Godhead is matched by our unified, singular effort to glorify God.
J.I. Packer writes in the foreword to Jones’ book, “This is a book calculated to enrich our twenty-first-century souls.” Packer goes on, though, to concede that we face a problem regarding this enrichment. “Souls are small in the modern Western world, and we have less of an appetite for this kind of nourishment than our spiritual health actually requires.” I encourage you to deepen your appetite with me for knowing and loving Christ. Dive into reading Knowing Christ and pray that God would enrich your soul.