As others have said so well--Christianity is Christ! Unlike every other religion of the world, biblical Christianity exists in a person--Jesus Christ. You can take Moses out of Judaism, Mohammed out of Islam, the Gautama out of Buddhism and the religions remain the same--try harder, do better , deny yourself more, etc. You get the idea. I save myself from whatever it is that I need to be saved from by my own efforts (and perhaps a helpful nudge from the deity of that religion). Not much help here except for those easily deceived and flattered by their own righteousness.
Biblical Christianity is radically different. You cannot take CHrist out of Christianity without totally changing it. From Genesis 3:15 to the end of the Revelation, the
storyline is about Jesus Christ. He is the final and ultimate Prophet sent by God to reveal God and His will to humanity. He is the Priest sent by God to be the ultimate mediator between God and man, the God-man, Jesus Christ. He is the King sent by God to rule over the hearts of those He saves and to have His unrepentant enemies be made His footstool.
He is the express image of God the Father. He is one with God the Father. He fulfills the work He was sent to work to accomplish by God the Father. Without Christ, there is no Christianity, no salvation, no hope--only the certainty of impending judgment. Sinners like us would have no one to flee to to save us from the wrath to come. And there is no one else like Jesus to whom we would want to flee for He receives sinners. He is meek and lowly in heart and we can find rest for our souls in Him alone. He will not push away that sinner who comes to Him for salvation, cleansing, forgiveness, new life, righteousness and a whole new identity. As Maurice Roberts has said: "Jesus Christ is the best friend a sinner could ever have."
Below are a sampling of the riches we have of books to show us the glories of Jesus Christ. His beauty and glory of inexhaustible but we must try to grasp a bit or else our love is small and cold and about to die. Let us review some of the resources we have to help us see the Savior better. I shall put them into categories depending upon how much reading ability you have and how much depth you want to get into.
INTRODUCTORY LEVEL STUDIES OF JESUS CHRIST:
James Montgomery Boice, THE CHRIST OF
CHRISTMAS; P & R
James Montgomery Boice, THE CHRIST OF THE
EMPTY TOMB; P & R
These two studies are vintage Boice--biblical,
warm, clear, reverent, well-illustrated.
R. C. Sproul, THE GLORY OF CHRIST; P & R--what
is "glory" and how is Christ glorious?
P. B. Power, THE FEET OF JESUS (in His Life, Death
and Glory); Reformation Heritage--great
insights and meditations on the glory of our
Savior gleaned from the New Testament.
Philip Schaff, CHRIST IN SONG; Solid Ground--
behold something of the glory of Christ in the
rich hymnody of the Christian churches down
through the centuries. Schaff simply went
through looking for Christ and what a treasure
he found in our classic hymnody.
Joel Beeke, ed.; THE BEAUTY AND GLORY OF
CHRIST; Reformation Heritage--some of the
best preachers and teachers of today show you
more of the beauty and glory of Christ.
Tom Wells, A PRICE FOR A PEOPLE; Banner of
Truth--one of the only books I know on the
subject of definite atonement written for
laymen! Clear as a bell and biblically sound.
Refreshingly clear and compelling.
MORE ADVANCED STUDIES OF JESUS CHRIST;
Donald Macloud, THE PERSON OF CHRIST; IVP--
great study of the two natures of Christ and
why they matter, how Christ was related to the
Father, and other profound questions.
Charles Brown, THE DIVINE GLORY OF CHRIST;
Banner of Truth--by looking in places not seldom
searched in the New Testament, Brown shows
powerfully the deity of Christ.
B. B. Warfield, THE LORD OF GLORY; Solid Ground
A classic study of the deity of Christ by one of
the greatest of the "Old Princeton" theologians.
Geoffrey Grogan, THE CHRIST OF THE BIBLE AND
THE CHURCH'S FAITH; Christian Focus /Mentor
A masterful showing forth of Christ as seen in
Scripture and in the theology of the Christian
Gerald Bray, CREEDS, COUNCILS AND CHRIST;
Christian Focus/Mentor--the theological battles
and heresies which the early church faced
which forced them to work hard at clarifying
what the Bible teaches about Christ. Bray has
done his homework and we are the
John Owen, THE GLORY OF CHRIST; Banner of
Truth--the classic Puritan study in paperback.
MORE ADVANCED STUDIES OF WHAT JESUS DID:
Leon Morris, THE APOSTOLIC PREACHING OF
THE CROSS; Eerdmans--almost single-handedly
demolished the shoddy scholarship of liberalism
in showing how Christ was God's appointed
propitiation for the sins of His people. Still
relevant 50 years after its first publication.
(See also his THE CROSS IN THE NEW
B. B. Warfield, THE PERSON AND WORK OF
CHRIST; P & R--the definitive study of Christ's
person and what He accomplished in His life
and death and resurrection.
James Packer and Mark Dever, IN MY PLACE
CONDEMNED HE STOOD; Crossway--one of the
very best books on the work of Christ on the
cross. Should be mastered by every minister
and teacher of Christ's church. Excellent
bibliography at the end o build up your library
May your read more of your Savior in 2012 and fall more deeply in love with Him, grow in deeper reverence for Him and excel in greater obedience and faith toward Him.
Your Book Servant,
Pastor Steve Martin