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One Forever: the transforming power of being in Christ

One Forever: the transforming power of being in Christ

Product Review (submitted on 5 June 2013):

As a preacher and a teacher, I am always trying to think of ways to take complex subjects and present them so that anyone can comprehend. It is not the easiest task and I am not always successful, as some of my students would tell you! That is why I am so thankful for books like this one, One Forever: the transforming power of being In Christ by Rory Shiner. In a brisk eighty-eight pages, Shiner manages to tackle the doctrine of union with Christ in a way that is compelling, concise, and chock-full of the gospel.
The book is broken down into seven chapters. They are as follows:
1. Glory be to God for dappled things: creation
2. Into the far country: incarnation
3. In Christ you are a new creation: salvation
4. Before the throne of God above: justification
5. In which we face some playground bullies: union and sin
6. United to the body of Christ: church
7. Union with Christ, resurrection and the end of the world
From the titles alone, the emphasis on redemptive history should be obvious. And that is one of the strengths of Shiner’s treatment of union with Christ – that he anchors the doctrine in an overall theology of Scripture, beginning with creation and culminating in recreation, demonstrating along the way the centrality of the gospel for understanding the Bible. In fact, even though it is not the intended purpose of the book, I believe Shiner has given a terrific skeleton for a whole biblical theology on union with Christ.
What makes all of this work so well is Shiner’s writing. He is lucid, to-the-point, and witty. One example, in discussing the effects of the fall: “Adam’s decision to eat the fruit has affected about 7 billion people alive today. It has had impressive reach.” (pg. 38) Chapters four and six are particularly strong, with an emphasis on justification by faith alone and how union with Christ plays out in the life of the church. Another terrific example of the understated, yet powerful writing is in chapter four:
“Union with Christ is not just one of the things we get, along with adoption, forgiveness and hope. Union with Christ is also the means by which we get the whole package. All the blessing of Christ are ours because we are in Christ.” (pg.44)
One Forever: the transforming power of being In Christ is part of a series published by Matthias Media called Guidebooks for Life. If the rest of the series is similar to this one, they have done the church a huge service. One Forever: the transforming power of being In Christ is one of those books that just about every Christian should read. It not only deftly explains the doctrine of union with Christ, it consistently places the focus on the finished works of Christ. In this respect, Shiner has not only achieved his stated purpose – to present the doctrine of Christ to ordinary believers – he has written a treatise on the gospel that is short enough and powerful enough to be a blessing to all believers, regardless of their maturity level. And what more can we ask of a book than that it make more of Christ? Buy this book today. And buy it in bulk to share. It deserves widespread distribution.

End note: In recent years, there have been a number of excellent books published on the doctrine of union with Christ. If, after reading One Forever: the transforming power of being In Christ you desire to explore the topic farther, begin with Todd Billings book, Union with Christ. If you would like a very technical, but very comprehensive treatment of the subject, check out Paul and Union with Christ by Constantine Campbell.


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