While “Gospel-centered” and “Christ-centered” are popular evangelical ministry buzzwords these days, I am not always certain these terms carry the same meaning for all who use them. Add to this the plethora of versions of Jesus Christ in the world at large. If you feel as I do, you might find Ryan McGraw’s latest book, Christ’s Glory, Your Good, a great primer for thinking about these things.
McGraw puts it well in his preface:
“There are many versions of Jesus Christ presented in the world, but the only Christ that matters is the one whom God has revealed in Holy Scripture. In the midst of abundant speculation about who Jesus was (or even if He was) in popular media, skeptics often discard the Bible as an irrelevant relic. The greatest problem our modern world faces is that it rarely takes the time to examine what God has said about His only begotten Son, who came in human flesh. Far too many people miss the kingdom of heaven because they will not give the King’s message a fair hearing. The purpose of this book is to set forth the gospel in terms of the glory of Jesus Christ and His place in the plan of God.”
McGraw says his book is a popular exercise in systematic theology as it “weaves the person and work of Christ together with the major doctrines of Scripture.” And true to his pastoral calling (he pastors First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale California), McGraw aims to “drive people to faith in Christ.”
In commending this book, Ian Hamilton (Minister of Cambridge Presbyterian Church, Cambridge, UK) writes:
“McGraw introduces us to the biblical teaching on Christ’s glory in an accessible, yet deeply challenging way. He is persuaded, as every Christian pastor should be, that studying the glory of Christ, as it is revealed in Holy Scripture, is an elevating, challenging, and transformative experience. McGraw has the ability, born of much study and personal acquaintance with Christ’s glory, to set before us the multifaceted richness of the Savior’s glory, as God the Son and as the God-man. In an age of shallow devotional theology, read McGraw and have your spiritual sinews first stretched and then deeply nourished.”
Having been in vocational ministry since 1970, I have preached of Christ and his gospel countless times. Yet, it seemed that with every turn of the page, McGraw captured my attention, providing new insights into familiar themes. I am now planning my own series of messages on Christ’s glory.
The book is a series of eight studies on Christ’s glory seen through all aspects of God’s plan to redeem a people for his name and glory.
Chapter 1 – The Eternal Christ
Chapter 2 – The Christ of Genesis 3:15
Chapter 3 – The Incarnate Christ
Chapter 4 – The Obedient Christ
Chapter 5 – The Suffering Christ
Chapter 6 – The Resurrected Christ
Chapter 7 – The Exalted Christ
Chapter 8 – The Reigning Christ
The theology presented in these chapters is robustly evangelical and unapologetically reformed and covenantal. Even if you do not embrace a Reformed covenant theology, you will be enriched by this brief treatise on the glory of Christ. McGraw explores the work of Christ in light of key doctrines of the Trinity, union with Christ, and the eternal purposes of a sovereign God.
While the themes covered in this book are heavyweight, McGraw’s writing is clear, concise and approachable. Anyone hungry and thirsty to know the Lord Jesus Christ in all his glory will not be disappointed here.
McGraw says the English puritan, John Owen (1616-1683), believed the “primary cause of every deficiency in the Christ life is inadequate meditation upon the gory of Jesus Christ.” If you agree and want to remedy that deficiency in your own life, this book is a great place to begin.