Jesus came “for more than behavior modification,” Jason Allen noted upon the release of his book “Being a Christian” today (Feb. 1).
“As we apply the Gospel to every area of our lives, the life of Christ pulsates through us,” Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in an interview.
“We live a more joy-filled, satisfied life … [when] we experience the joy and wholeness that only Christ can give.”
In Being a Christian, Allen addresses multiple areas in a Christian’s life that intersect with the Gospel, from dealing with one’s past to how the Gospel affects marriage, family, work, recreation and church life.
“When I came to Christ as an 18-year-old college student, I expected something of a change,” Allen recounted, “but what I had in mind was more like behavior modification than spiritual transformation. I knew Jesus died to redeem me but didn’t quite understand He’d died to redeem all of me.
“My old life was driven by self,” Allen said. “Christ inverted all of that.
“My ambitions, lifestyle choices, convictions became — and are becoming — shaped by Christ. He transformed me from the inside out, and He continues to do so. Jesus redeemed all of me.”
In exploring the Gospel and its implications for Christ-followers through the 146-page book, Allen noted, “I pray God will work to dramatically impact the reader. This is what God does and it is exactly what each of us needs.”
Allen said the primary audience for Being a Christian, released by the B&H Publishing Group, is people who have embraced Jesus Christ as their Savior since “you will not be able to live the Christian life unless you are a Christian. It is not until you are a Christian that the life of Christ is in you. The Gospel is the door that leads one to life in Christ, the Christian life.”
Yet those who are inquiring about the Christian life also can benefit from the book, Allen said. The secret to the Christian life, he said, is that there really is no secret. It is simply loving and intentionally living for Jesus.
In writing about dealing with one’s past, for example, Allen notes, “Every person has a past,” referencing “things we have done at a previous point in our lives that cause regret and embarrassment, if not outright shame…. Everyone’s past is marked by, at least to some degree, foolish words, reckless decisions, and sinful acts.”
Many Christians and would-be followers of Christ live with “persistent, suffocating guilt,” Allen writes. “They question whether Christ will truly forgive them for what they have done. They feel they will never measure up spiritually, and thus are assigned to second-class Christian status. But nothing could be further from the truth.”
Allen cites the transformation of the apostle Paul who — before his conversion, missionary journeys and New Testament writings — was a fierce persecutor of Christians, including the stoning of the church’s first martyr, Stephen.
The key to Paul’s impact for the Gospel is that “he looked forward to Christian service, not backward in guilt, shame, or regret,” Allen writes.
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Source: Baptist Press