I hate to start the year out by cheating, but I read this book last year and did not review it and it is too good to not post a short review/recommendation about. Plus there is a really good chance that I’ll be coming back to this book again this year…and following years.
Wilbourne may have written his magnum opus with his first book. Making it onto many top ten lists last year, Union with Christ recaptures the wonder and power of this fundamental reality of the Gospel.
With a pastoral heart and a C.S. Lewis-esque illustrative style, Wilbourne leads his readers through rediscovering the beauty and meaning of what it really means to be united to Christ. I especially was helped by how Wilbourne shows that many things in Christian life that seem like competing values, motivations, or perspectives, think Radical (Platt) vs. Ordinary (Horton) or grace vs obedience, are actually wonderfully reconciled and harmonized in the Person of Christ Himself. As Wilbourne states, “Extravagant grace and radical discipleship meet in the person of Jesus himself.”
One critique I have is that he often draws on questionable sources for quotes (usually great) that illustrate his points when he could have used more solid authors to quote from with a similar effect. A minor quibble.
Here are a few quotes to wet your appetite:
Union with Christ tells you a new story about who you are. If you are “in Christ,” you too have been given a new identity. God has called you into a new life, rooted in a history that predates you, anchored in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. You discover who you are “in Christ,” and you are given the DNA to prove it, the Holy Spirit. You once were lost, but now you are “found in him” (Phil. 3: 9).
When the work of Christ for us becomes abstracted from the person of Christ within us, is it any wonder there is a chasm between our heads and our hearts or between our beliefs and our experiences?
The goal is having a personal, vital, profoundly real relationship with God through Christ by the Holy Spirit. The goal is enjoying communion with God himself. Union with Christ is not an idea to be understood, but a new reality to be lived, through faith.