The Glory of Christ – Peter Lewis
AGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGG. This is my roar of impatience (only in real life it is even more fearsome). From whence comes this roar of manly anger, you may quite reasonably ask? This righteous anger is provoked most sharply by poor writing.
I define such writing thus:
Especially. When. The. Text. Is. Over. Punctuated. Grrrr.
Lazy writing (and, yes, Mr Dan Brown, I am looking at you). Bahhhhhrrrr.
OVERLY LARGE TYPE (resulting in overly large books). Overly small type (resulting in the kind of squint that just won’t go away). Darrrrrggggg.
And, most infuriating of all: waffle.
Yes, you heard me correctly. Waffle. The literary equivalent of blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Waffle wastes my time. Waffle results in me reading 400 pages when 50 pages would easily have sufficed. Waffle invariably leads to pomposity.
And this leads me neatly to Peter Lewis’ The Glory of Christ. If this book were to have a healthy interest in physical contact sports, it would most certainly be an Ultimate Fighting Champion. Indeed, this book would be the Ultimate Fighting Champion of Champions kicking the flabby man-butt of all that is waffle.
This book is sleek, lean and packs a mighty punch.
Firstly, to deal with that punch. The Glory of Christ (as the title suggests) is devoted to the most important of topics, indeed the most important person in the universe, Jesus Christ.
Lewis begins with an anecdote told by a preacher who, as a boy, idolised a local sports personality. The preacher grew older and came to know and socialise with the sports personality. As the preacher came to know the man, his boyhood hero became smaller. Contrariwise, the preacher observed that the nearer we get to Jesus, the bigger he gets.
The aim of this book is to present a most glorious picture of the Son of God and Lewis sets about his task in an orderly and structured fashion. This book is not short (504 pages in my), but, thanks to this tight structure, this book is lean.
Part 1, The Divine Revelation, deals with the way in which Jesus, the God-Man, makes God fully known. Lewis deals with the glory of the incarnation, Jesus’ inauguration of the Kingdom of God, his relationship with and empowerment by the Holy Spirit, the designation, ‘Son of Man’, and the great ‘I am’ statements.
Part 2, The Divine Explanation, deals with Jesus, the Word of God, the doctrine and significance of the incarnation. In Part 3, Jesus Confessed and Adored, Lewis unpacks the glorious truth that this Jesus who walked among men, as a man, is Messiah, Lord, God, Life-Giver, Universe-Maintainer and Mediator between man and God.
Part 4, Jesus the Redeemer, deals with the scandal and glory of the cross and its application for believers. Here, Lewis particularly excels in unravelling the majestic glory of all that Christ achieves for us, his people. But there is a beautiful balance, even when unpacking the doctrines of redemption, justification, propitiation, adoption and sanctification, Lewis keeps Christ centre-stage and so it should be. This book, the Bible and, indeed, all of history is primarily and ultimately about his glory.
Part 5, Christ the Exalted Lord, unpacks the resurrection and the hope this holds for believers. Part 6, Christ the Coming King, deals with his return and final triumph and tackles the difficult topic of heaven, hell and the new creation.
All of this may sound high-brow and heavy weight, but Lewis writes with great skill and simplicity. There is great weightiness here, for sure, but Lewis unpacks profound truth with great pastoral care and the consummate skill of a gifted Bible teacher.
The truth is I love this book. I have already read it twice and find myself returning to specific chapters again and again. Part of this is due to Lewis’ skill as a writer and Bible teacher. He does not waste our time and what he has to write is well worth reading.
More than this, however, The Glory of Christ addresses the greatest theme there is. The reason why Lewis is able to write so sparsely and yet so compellingly is because Jesus Christ is most glorious. The secret of this book is that Lewis allows the truth of Scripture to shine and this shining is directed appropriately and rightly upon the King of Glory. And, when Lewis has said all he has to say, he steps back and leaves us gazing upon him.
This, surely, is the end of all theology, that we would see Jesus and be captivated by his beauty, his majesty and his glory.
To purchase The Glory of Christ, click here.