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One with Christ Paperback – 31 Aug 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway Books (31 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433531496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433531491
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 602,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PaulW on 11 Nov 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book and should be read by all pastors, preachers and leaders. I am sure it will also feature heavily on the reading list for future theological students.

This is an outworking of what it means to be saved. All too often we evangelicals have tended to buy into a privatised version of faith and have lost sight of the vital importance of our being really and truly united to Christ. Without this reality the cross avails us nothing and we are not justified, sanctified or glorified. I particularly found the way that Johnson showed that union with Christ was central to Luther and Calvin, very helpful. This book brings together Scripture and Reformed/evangelical theology in a way that is deeply satisfying. And, what is more, it is spiritually enriching.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Brief remark 28 Oct 2013
By Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A previous reviewer gave this book a scathing review which I think largely missed the point. I don't wish to argue with that reviewer, but I do want to make a clarification for others who may be perusing books. In this book, Johnson is in no way attacking the doctrine of justification as a forensic declaration. However, he is arguing that a forensic declaration and the imputation of righteousness, while certainly and blessedly true, are part of a much larger reality, that of being united to Christ Himself.

This book is not overly technical and, on the whole, it should be fairly accessible, although readers without much theological background may find certain parts difficult. I fully recommend this book as its subject matter is of the utmost importance.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"A Spiritual Feast on Our Union With Jesus Christ" 14 Sep 2013
By David P. Craig - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marcus Peter Johnson is to be commended for providing us with the equivalent of a spiritual banquet of solid and tasty food in this offering. Admittedly this work is very ambitious in that it covers eight monumental topics with reference to our union with Christ: (1) Our nature and union with Christ; (2) How our union with Christ matters with reference to our sin and His incarnation and the doctrine of imputation; (3) Justification and our union with Christ; (4) Sanctification and our union with Christ; (5) Adoption and Sonship in union with Christ; (6) Preservation and Glorification because of our union with Christ; (7) The mystery of the church's union with Christ; (8) The Word and the Sacraments with reference to our union with Christ.

Johnson's writing style is theologically dense, profound, and rich. Reading his book reminded me of being at a luxurious banquet with an abundance and variety of delicious "spiritual" foods. I felt like I couldn't assimilate everything that the author prepared for me - it was too much, too rich, and too thought-provoking. However, the good news about all this spiritual food - is that it will never spoil. It is a meal that I can come to again and again. It's too much to assimilate quickly, but what Johnson has written about must be digested slowly, thoughtfully, meditatively, and applicationally.

I believe that Johnson's work is a condensation and summary of his doctoral dissertation whereby he discovered the delightful and practical ramifications of John Calvin's understanding of what it means for the Christian to be joined to Jesus Christ. Johnson interacts with many of the Reformers such as Calvin and Luther, but also of other weighty theologian's treatments on the Christian's union with Christ. He interacts with theologians ranging from Augustine to Edwards and many of the modern's as well. He essentially mines a ton of "union with Christ" gold that many Christians and Theologians have flat-out missed over the years. The good news is that he takes the weighty and abstract concepts of the theological giants throughout history and breaks them down so that they are understandable and applicational.

Here is just a sampling of some of the gems I gleaned from Johnson's book:

"The mysterious reality of our union with Jesus Christ, by which he dwells in us and we in him, is so utterly essential to the gospel that to obscure it inevitably leads to an obscuring of the gospel itself."

"Salvation is often conceived of as the reception of something Christ has acquired for us rather than as the reception of the living Christ. In other words, salvation is described as a gift to be apprehended rather than the apprehension of the Giver himself...the gospel is portrayed as the offer of a depersonalized benefit (e.g., grace, justification, or eternal life) rather than the offer of the very person of Christ (who is himself the grace of God, our justification, and our eternal life)."

"A retrieval of the central significance of union with Christ will provide a way for the evangelical church to see once again why the work of Christ cannot be separated from his person; why the gloriously good news about salvation rests in the church being joined to the One who is salvation himself; and why Jesus Christ is the essence of the church, or else the church is no more than a voluntaristic religious club of like-minded folk."

"The great mystery of the incarnation is that God, without ceasing to be God, became what he created in order to join us to himself. Thus, the Son of God entered into human existence to dwell among and in us, assuming our humanity into union with himself."

"The church does not await the return of Christ so that we may be united to him; rather, the church is united to Christ, and so eagerly awaits the consummation of this union."

"By virtue of being incorporated into the life of Jesus Christ, we participate in the life, love, and fellowship of the Trinity. Because the Son is one with the Father, our being joined to the Son means we are joined to the Father. And because the Spirit exists as the bond of communion between the Father and Son, he brings us into that communion by uniting us to Christ."

Johnson has written a robust theologically rich feast. It is a book that I will read again and again. Whenever I teach on the themes in this book I will be consulting this book for quotes, illustrations, and sound biblical exegesis. It is essentially an accessible encyclopedic resource on what it means to be united with Christ - theologically, historically, in the future, and practically in the now. I can't recommend this book highly enough for anyone who wants to understand, contemplate, and apply the riches of our salvation because of the union we have in Christ Jesus.

*I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and was not required to write a favorable review.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great book! 16 Sep 2013
By Kristi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In his book, One with Christ, Marcus Johnson, inspired by John Calvin, puts forward an evangelical theology of salvation in which unity with Christ is central. Although most evangelicals probably believe this to a point, too often we live with the misconception that one can benefit from the work of Christ (be saved) without being united to the person of Christ. We can't be saved and live on our own with Christ at a distance. As Christians we are ONE with Christ, and this oneness must be central to our understanding of salvation.

The incarnation is central to our understanding of unity because through it we see that God purposes to join us to himself through Christ. Johnson takes readers through justification, sanctification, adoption, and preservation, and explains how these things can be described in the past tense. We have already been justified, we have already been sanctified, etc. The summation of all these (when they will all be completed) is glorification. Often we tend to over-legalize salvation when we use the above terminology to the detriment of our understanding of the person of Christ. While these things are absolutely necessary, we must be careful not separate the person of Christ from His completed work.

Speaking of justification and sanctification, I have always understood justification as a point on a line and sanctification as a process. Johnson argues that sanctification is both a point (past tense verb -we have been sanctified) and an ongoing process (present tense-we are being sanctified). His reasoning is that we are already in Christ. We have been saved (the called were in Christ before the foundation of the world), we are being saved (we are continually united to God through Christ), and we will be saved (when unity with Christ is complete through glorification). Sanctification, then, has more to do with Christ than with me. I have had the tendency to think that justification is Christ's work and sanctification is more of my work, but Johnson points out that, yes I am called to work out my salvation, but I can only do that because Christ has already united me to Him. He has already sanctified me. I love that!

Overall, I feel this book deepened my understanding of salvation through the study of terms such as justification, sanctification, adoption, preservation, and glorification. But more importantly it reminded me that Christ is the central figure in my salvation story, and I am ONE with Him! I have gained fresh insight when I read in Ephesians that I have been blessed in Christ! There is a lot of meaning in those two words! One with Christ is definitely a theology book in that it requires careful reading and attention, but it is not overly heady or laden with excessive words and terms. I would recommend to anyone involved in Christian ministry.

*Crossway sent me this book in exchange for posting an honest review.
A New Depth 24 Oct 2014
By Spencer M. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's not that theologians thrive to create a new gospel, but thrive to adventure into new depths to understand the work and personhood of Jesus Christ. Dr. Johnson's book is clear, concise, and pushes readers to "re-think" their soteriology through answering the question: what does it mean to be in Christ and how have we missed this foundation for faith? Truly there is conviction and depth written in this book from an obvious Reformed Theology standpoint, which holds fast to not only what Calvin asserted, but what the Word of God proclaims.
In short, when we have a correct understanding of salvation, or being in Christ, then we can have a more accurate view of sanctification and ecclesiology. From this previous statement, I will continue to use and go back to the bookshelf looking for "One with Christ."
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Life Changing 15 Nov 2013
By Lauren Harrast - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has changed the way that I read the Bible. I don't know how I went so long without paying closer attention to what it means to be "In Christ." I am so grateful for the way that God has used this theology lesson to make my union with Him the most real part of life.
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