Monday, October 21, 2013

Found in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Found in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with ChristFound in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ by Elyse Fitzpatrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“We neglect the doctrines of incarnation and union to our own deep impoverishment.  It’s a sad reality that many Christians spend their entire lives wandering around a spiritual wilderness, malnourished, thirsting, and consuming rubbish because they have never feasted on the soul-consoling, heart transforming, zeal-engendering truth found in the study of the incarnation and union.”

With this, Elyse Fitzpatrick invites the reader to come with her through a study of the believers union with Christ and His incarnation and to experience relief from the “isolation pandemic” that has struck so many.  This is an encouraging, comforting, and edifying book.   Fitzpatrick’s writings consistently encourage me and Found in Him was no different.  God has a special way of using her words to minister to me, and many others as well.

Chapter 1 is a great overview of Christ in all the Scriptures.  It could easily stand on its own as a booklet on how to properly see the grand narrative of Scripture running through the Bible from cover to cover.

Beginning in chapter 2, Fitzpatrick allots about half of the book to look at the incarnation and half to see the Doctrine of Union with Christ.  Basically, Christ in his grace-filled goodness united himself with humanity in the incarnation in order that the believer might be united to Christ for eternity in order that God would be praised and man be saved….that is my summary, not hers.

“The incarnate God-man Jesus Christ is completely matchless, and his condescension to humanity’s earthiness, finitude, frailty, and sin should astonish us and provoke worship.  But the sad truth is that we’ve become so very familiar with this story that we can hum carols during the Christmas season while we shop for trinkets and never once fall on our faces in awe”

Fitzpatrick’s goal in the first section of her book is to fight back against this tendency by leading the reader to a place where the incarnation produces a constant and overwhelming sense of awe and wonder…feelings that this event most rightly deserve.
In her section on the incarnation, Fitzpatrick covers the birth of Jesus and much more.  For some reason for me the term “incarnation” has taken on an exclusively Christmas theme in my thinking.  Fitzpatrick covers the whole of Christ’s humanity, including but not limited to his miraculous virgin birth.  She encourages the reader to rejoice in the full humanity of our Savior who was tempted just as we are but whose  innocence and obedient righteousness purchased our redemption.
Fitzpatrick goes on to discuss union with Christ, a topic that is incredibly important and often neglected.  She looks at how the Scriptures speak of the believer being “one with Christ” and “in Christ”.

“Our ‘one with-ness’ in him is eternal and unbreakable; our union with him is his holy vow that he will be one with us forever. Cease loving you? God can no more do that than he can cease loving his own dear Son.  You’re loved.  You’re not alone or lost.  You’ve been found in him.”

She continues:
“Yes, because of this ‘one with-ness,’ we have redemption, eternal life, no condemnation, freedom from slavery to the principle of sin and death, and the never-ending love of God.  In addition we also have unity with the Godhead and with other members of the church; we have grace, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption…We’ve been freed from having to merit God’s love through obedience and have been assured of his love for us, no matter how we fail…In fact, right now we’ve been raised up and seated with him, enabled to do good works that he has already accomplished for us.  We have forgiveness of sins, life, grace, and salvation, and every need has been supplied. This union, this ‘in-ness’ that we have with him, is what the Christian life is all about.”

Fitzpatrick includes a section at the end about the necessity for precise language and the benefits of the historic Christian creeds.  If that seems out of place, it really isn’t.  It is important to recognize, not just what we personally think the Bible says about a subject, but what the Church as a whole has historically held to.  No person is an island unto themselves, and this is especially true for the Christian.

This is a great book and I plan on returning to it and spending more time in its pages.

**I received a free advanced electronic copy from Crossway Books through NetGalley for review. I was not obligated to provide positive feedback, and the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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