02 (February 2014)

Undivided – Closing the faith-life gap

John Palmer
John Palmer John Palmer lives in Ormskirk, Lancashire.
01 February, 2014 2 min read
Undivided — Closing the faith-life gap


Graham Hooper
IVP
224, £8.99
ISBN: 978-1-84474-624-8
Star Rating: 4

This book is about sanctification. Any such book almost has to fall into one of two categories: either it contains nothing new; or it does, and it’s wrong!

This is in the first category, but it’s good. The author brings together subjects which aren’t always connected, and does it in a fresh way. It’s easy to read, punchy, and with a good balance between biblical truth and illustrations and anecdotes — of which there are plenty.

If you’re a well taught believer, it might not tell you much that you don’t know, but it will make you think afresh and help you to do what you should about what you do know.

The title refers to the gaps that occur in the Christian life because of sin — and it’s made clear that sin is the cause. Gaps between: the church and the world; our lives at church and work; the world as it is, and should be; what I am, and what I want to be, or what others see me as being.

All these gaps are the result of the Fall. So they must be solved biblically, and only biblical solutions are offered!

How are these gaps to be closed? The author provides the answers. They are to be closed by meditation on the Word, a right response to trials, and working at our relationships.

We are to make a difference (the true ‘Protestant work ethic’) working for the Lord. We are to be salt and light: when something matters and we can do something to help, then we are to do it, not waiting for some further ‘call’ to action. This is the ‘just-do-it’ approach to sanctification powerfully expounded.

Especially good is the section dealing with the gap between our wisdom and God’s. We need his wisdom, so that we can apply his Word to our situations to close the gap between what we believe and how we live.

We are encouraged to put prayer for wisdom (not guidance) high on our prayer lists. This is rightly seen as important and much neglected.

Other helpful parts of the book are: seven practical steps toward recovering from failure; the stress on faith as an ongoing, personal relationship with Christ; and the exposition of the ‘let us’ passages from Hebrews, when we feel that the Christian life is too hard.

This is a realistic book, which doesn’t pretend that the Christian life is easy but does insist it’s possible, by God’s grace. Altogether helpful and well worth buying.

John Palmer
Tredegar

John Palmer
John Palmer lives in Ormskirk, Lancashire.
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