“The Secret to the Christian Life” Gene Edwards, The Seed Sowers Publishers, 150 pages.
- Critical read
- Must read
- Good read
- Read if you want
- Read something else
Why read this book. In this book, Edwards lays out the plain truth from the scriptures regarding how our God has both demonstrated and taught the path of an intimate relationship with Himself. With great simplicity he develops the biblical case for how the Christian life is simply the life of our God lived in us, in place of our own living. The first half of this book reminds me of the simple explanation of the Christian life developed by Dann Spader at Sonlife Ministries. “The Christian life is simple. The Christian life is impossible. The Christian life is Christ living His life in you.”
Edwards contrasts this life of Christ lived in us with the modern approach of trying harder, studying more, memorizing principles, and working it until you get it right. Clearly, our current system is good for book sales, DVD curricula, and keeping pastors and writers employed trying to keep “the faithful” making progress. But, as Edwards clearly points out, it is not the way of Christ and His Spirit in us or of the scriptures. The only way to live the Christian life is to quit trying to live the Christian life in the way we were all taught, and to begin to live a life surrendered to the life of Christ within you. Here is the path to holiness, for though we can never hope to eliminate sin the Spirit of Christ in you will never sin. Here is the path to intimacy with our God. We can never attain intimacy with a God who we see as “up there in heaven,” but the Holy Spirit within us will draw quickly into deep, intimate communion with Himself.
Along the way, Edwards breaks down for us the digression of the original New Testament experience of the church as it lived in the new covenant relationship with our God. From that lofty experience, the majority of followers were led into the institutional religion we all grew up with. The issue in this book is not church structure or organization. The issue is the experience of God Himself, living in believers and empowering them to live the life of God in place of their own. That is a topic largely (if not completely) absent in the writings and preaching of the institutional religion that is Christianity in almost all its expressions.
The point of the book. If you want to know your God intimately, love Him deeply, obey Him consistently, and be filled with all His fullness (see Ephesians 3:15-19), you must stop trying to do these. You must instead turn to Him in absolute and full surrender everyday, seeking not His help to live better but His life to live in place of yours. This is the gospel of the kingdom as Christ taught it and the apostles and early church lived it. Yes, the Christian life is indeed that simple.
Impact of the book. I have given away copies of this book to many people. The most common response I hear from them after reading it is along the lines of, “This book changes everything!” And it does. You can finally live a life filled with the Holy Spirit as the Bible describes it, in its transforming power within as opposed to seeking signs without. Holiness of living is in reach. Daily communion with your God is a real experience available to all seekers. The presence of your God is palpable and powerful in you. A spirit of wisdom and revelation can be yours daily.
This is not a report based only upon reading the book, but upon experiencing this life in response to following what it says.
Quotes. “The Father indwelt His Son here on earth for thirty-three years. The Father lived the Christian life inside Jesus Christ. It was the Father’s life, and the Father’s life alone, that lived the Christian life inside your Lord. It is the Father’s life, and the Father’s life alone, that ever lives the Christian life. it is the Father’s life, and the Father’s life alone that will live the Christian life in you. Set your course in any other directions, embrace a formula or a list in order to “live the Christian life,” and you are doomed to frustration.“
“After Jesus died and rose again, the Holy Spirit came to live inside these men. He also spoke inside these men, and loved inside these men, and reminded them of those things Jesus had said, and reminded them of how He lived. These men began to live the Christian life the same way Jesus did! That was the result of a choice they made: either to love by the externals or by fellowship with an indwelling Lord.”
Similar books. “Christ Life” by A.B. Simpson. “The Kingdom of God is Within You” by Andrew Murray. “Absolute Surrender” by Andrew Murray. “A Guide to True Peace” by William Backhouse and James Janson. “Unburdened” by Vance Pitman. “The Normal Christian Life” by Ian Thomas. “The Saving Life of Christ,” “The Mystery of Godliness,” and “The Indwelling Life of Christ” all by W. Ian Thomas.
My take – read this book. Read it twice. It really changes everything.