I’m finally beginning Mark Jones’ new book Knowing Christ (Banner of Truth Trust, 2015) and have so far found it to be a nice companion to J.I. Packer’s Knowing God. It will take a few years to know whether Knowing Christ can stand the test of time like Knowing God, but what I’ve read so far has been very edifying.
Here’s a nice quote from chapter 1:
In the strength of the Spirit, Christians are able to love their Saviour with all of their being. The psalmist writes: ‘Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart’ (119:34). Keeping the law with the ‘whole heart’ may be understood legally or evangelically. In a legal sense, only Christ loved God with his whole heart because the law requires prefect conformity, which we are unable to give. Nonetheless, in an evangelical sense, God, out of his love and mercy in Christ, enables us to love him with our whole heart. Our love is undoubtedly imperfect, but God, in his kindness to his children, accepts a sincere love as the fulfilment of our duty to love him with our ‘whole heart’. As we read in Romans 8:4, this occurs ‘in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk … according to the Spirit’.
This should be a great source of encouragement for us. Why? First, because our hope exists ultimately in Jesus, who fulfilled this command perfectly in our place. We do not have to stand before God with only an imperfect love as our hope for entering heaven. Second, because of our union with Jesus, what is true of him becomes true of us. God enables us to obey this command and to love him and his Son, albeit imperfectly, with the totality of our being so that he may delight in the love he receives from his people.
What a joy to know that Christ knows, loves, and meditates upon us with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength! This leaves us in the glorious position of being able to know, love, and meditate upon Christ with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. In this way, God is pleased that we want to know more of Christ.
Knowing Christ, Pg. 7
R. Andrew Compton
Christ Reformed Church (URCNA)