Published on June 20, 2024 by Eugene Ho

Crossway, 2023 | 160 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance

by Steve West


Table of Contents

1 Foundation: Creation and Covenant
2 Inauguration: God’s Kingdom
3 Sanctification: The Age of the Spirit
4 Community: United to Christ
5 Adversity: Discipline and Suffering
6 Legacy: Virtue and Love
7 Practice: New Life in Christ




Chapter 1: Foundation: Creation and Covenant

From creation to new creation, God makes successive covenants with his people. God’s relationship with people is bound up with his presence, and they can be drawn into his presence or expelled in exile because of their sin. In Christ we have the fullness of the presence of God, and we are united with him by the Spirit. God’s Spirit brings us into the presence of God and is fitting us to live with him for all of eternity. Being brought into relationship with God and being transformed is entering into sanctification. In Hebrew, the word holy can be a noun, a verb, or an adjective. It can refer to God’s nature, to being fully consecrated and set apart for God, and to a quality of moral character that we are to have as God’s people. An important meaning is that the holy is set apart from the common and profane. First and foremost, holiness is an attribute of God. He is the Holy One; he is glorious, matchless, supreme, and perfect. As the image bearers of God, human beings should reflect his glory and holiness.

Genesis reveals how humanity rebelled against God and spiraled down in depravity, but Exodus shows us God acting to redeem and call his people to his standards of holiness. Israel would reject God’s covenant and righteous law, and this showed that there was a great need for a new covenant and an internal work of the Spirit so that people would desire to be holy. Holiness requires commitment and covenant devotion, along with faith and obedience. The Levitical Holiness Code anchored the people’s holiness in God’s holiness and called them to be set apart from the nations around them. Sacrifice and forgiveness were provided for through priestly mediation. Israel’s failure to uphold the law and God’s regulations showed the need for the perfect Messiah.

The temple was built as a place to reveal God’s presence, power, and glory. It was a consecrated place, and a place that the people would lose in their exile if they persisted in sin and rebellion. Exile is precisely what they experienced, but God graciously restored them, and a new temple was built that lasted until AD 70. It is now the church that is the temple of God, sharing in his presence and being indwelt by the Spirit. It was through the covenants with Noah, Abram, Moses, and David that God revealed his holiness and made his standards known, but Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied that God would do a work inside of his people, changing their hearts and moving them into holiness. In the new covenant, people would be filled with the Spirit, given a new heart, forgiven, cleansed from sin, and have God’s law written on their hearts so that they would want to live in obedience and fellowship with him. . . .

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Crossway, 2023 | 160 pages

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