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The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  6,566 ratings  ·  269 reviews
Remember Jesus Christ? Although it seems almost too obvious, the center of our faith is surprisingly easy to forget. Dynamic pastor C.J. Mahaney shows how to overcome our tendency to move on from the gospel of grace. Finding joy in the gospel -- whose promises allow us to escape condemnation whenever it attacks -- helps us avoid the prevalent trap of legalism. With practic ...more
Hardcover, 89 pages
Published October 12th 2002 by Multnomah Books
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Natalie Vellacott
"Reminding ourselves of the gospel is the most important daily habit we can establish. If the gospel is the most vital news in the world, and if salvation by grace is the defining truth of our existence, we should create ways to immerse ourselves in these truths every day. No days off allowed."

I picked up this book recognising the author of the forward, Albert Mohler. I've also read books by Joshua Harris recently and C.J. Mahaney is mentioned frequently as a mentor/senior pastor. I agree wi
Reed Schafer
If you haven’t read Living the Cross Centered Life, it needs to be the next book you read. Arguably the most helpful book I’ve ever read. C.J. clearly reveals the glory and power of the cross, and it has helped transform the way I view the gospel.

“We never move on from the cross, only into a more profound understanding of the cross.”
I haven't been a fan of gospel tracts for years. I remember the old Chick Tracts that were little cartoon presentations of the "gospel" but they were more offensive than helpful to my memory. I'll never forget one that was against Christian rock music. The band was called "Green Hell" or something like that and in the end we found out that their manager was Satan. One of the band members turned out to be gay and their manager gave them AIDS as a wedding gift. The "gospel" was clear in that track ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
"One purpose of this book is to restate the obvious yet often neglected truth of the gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ and bring it before you again_vividly and compellingly_so that you more deeply grasp the crucial importance of never taking it for granted."
Ashley Peters
This is a book that after three times already reading it I'd read it again and again
Patrick Lacson
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A short book that explains our blindness to inadvertent Law-keeping that nullifies the work of Christ on the cross.

Mahaney explains a helpful definition of legalism: Legalism is seeking to achieve forgiveness from God and acceptance by God through obedience to God (chapter 3).

Mahaney observes the consequences of such thinking, "Legalism claims that the death of Jesus on the cross was either unnecessary or insufficient. It essentially says to God, ‘Your plan didn’t work. The cross wasn't enough
Joel Rockey
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-again
Living the Cross-Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing is a gem! This short book is packed with gospel truth. We must never get tired of the gospel or "graduate" from the gospel. This is one I'll be coming back to often. Highly recommended!

Mahaney recommends these five steps in order to keep the gospel the main thing in our lives:

1. Memorize the Gospel
2. Pray the Gospel
3. Sing the Gospel
4. Review How the Gospel Has Changed You
5. Study the Gospel

These are just a few of my favorit
Feb 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book belongs on that list that you read regularly... once a year or more so. It serves as a simple reminder of the affect of the Truth of what Christ has done for me - and drives home the fact that the Gospel is not just for the unsaved - quite the contrary actually.
Seth Lippert
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Just... wow.

I’ll admit, I initially chose to read this book because I just needed something light and short to supplement my more ‘circumlocutory’ endeavours.
But while the book is quite short it is anything but light. It’s not that Mahaney’s writing is overly demanding or academical—on the contrary he is very evidently gifted with conciseness and clarity. Rather, it is the way he uses his clarity to explain and exhort the book’s central message—that our lives should be centred around the cross—t
David J. Harris
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wish I would have read this years ago. It’s work buying extra copies and giving away.
If I could give this more stars, I would! It is that good. It will pierce your heart and you will see much more of the cross than ever before. It is about the gospel it is about the cross. In Chapter 1, Mahaney clearly tells you what moves you away from the cross. Subjectivism, which is we base truth on our feelings instead of the word of God. Legalism which i when our obedience and service is not centered to the cross, we can become legalistic. Mahaney was very helpful in this area to me. So ma ...more
Cliff Downey
Nov 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-living
This book brings to light the importance of the Gospel. The Gospel must be the central focus that drives everything we do. MUST READ!
Chad Warner
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
A spiritually profitable reminder of the centrality of the cross (the gospel) in Christian life. It explains that although we mature as Christians, and grow in our knowledge, we never outgrow the gospel. It's both theological and practical. It's encouraging and comforting.

These quotes give a taste of the book:
To grow in your passion for what Jesus has done, increase your understanding of what He has done. Never be content with your grasp of the gospel. The gospel is life-permeating, world-alteri
Jack Smith
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you CJ for this wonderful reminder of God's saving work on the Cross. I was helpfully, and powerfully reminded of the Cross, and the meaning it has for my life. I was also challenged to live more 'Gospel Centered' days, and to never move on from the Cross when there are so many other theological matters; of second importance however. A brilliant read and must-read for every Christian wanting to have a deeper understanding of the Cross, and live a Cross Centered Life.
Jessica Vaughn
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great call back to the heartbeat of Christianity! The cross is both the why and how of following Christ, and this little book beautifully challenged me to sit in its shadow.
Mandy J. Hoffman

Living the Cross Centered Life is a book that has found a permanent home on my bookshelf. It's short, it's sweet, and it's simply simple. I greatly appreciate how C.J. Mahaney takes us back to the basics of the Christian life - the gospel - to which all the Bible points to.

I enjoyed this book that made me stop and fully look at God's love for me through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I was convicted of my check-list spiritual habits that take away from keeping the gospel the main thing
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christians, both new and old
Recommended to Sarah by: Fernanda
This book marked a defining moment in my relationship with God. It clearly defined for me the difference between justification (Christ's redemptive act that allows me to stand holy before God...permanently) and sanctification (the Holy Spirit's continued act of making more more like Christ). Since I'm justified, I do not have to continually feel guilty for my sin. There is no condemnation for me because of my Savior!

Which brought me to another realization...that God is not sad when I sin. He can
Ali Cannon
wow! just wow! I might start over at the beginning tomorrow...
Natalie Smith
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You have got to love CJ Mahaney. I remember hearing him preach in person as a college kid. As I read his words I feel like he is right in the room talking to me as if we were friends. He gets right down to the truth in this book. That the Gospel is the most important thing in your life, now and always. To remember where you came from (separation from God) to who you are through Christ (because of His sacrifice on the Cross) is the most humbling and spectacular love story of grace you will ever k ...more
Helen Griffin
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
Great book to keep your Christian life in focus
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Introduction: Gal 6:14
Pg 13 "Each of our lives is centered on something, Whats at the center of yours?”
Pg 15 “If there’s anything in life we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel. And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others; I mean passionate in thinking about the gospel, reflecting upon it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world and all of life.”
Pg 18 “Not being cross centered you often lack joy, you’re not consistently growing in spiritual ma
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The contents of this book literally changed my life.

This book combines two of Mahaney's earlier works (Christ: Our Mediator and The Cross-Centered Life) along with some added material. I first read those two books (both of them on the same day, as I recall) a little over two years ago. On that wonderful day, C. J. Mahaney helped me to catch a vision of the beauty of the cross, and of the Savior who died in my place.

Mahaney, in simple, straightforward language, explains what Christ accomplished
Sydney Herron
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In order to live a cross centered life, our days must be centered around the message of the cross. Christians never grow past the gospel - it is the reason for everything we do. The final chapter is a great reminder that we must continue to preach the gospel to ourselves daily. CJ lists five ways we can do this: We can memorize the gospel, pray the gospel, sing the gospel, review how the gospel has changed us, and study the gospel.
This is a book that deserves to be read and re-read, as we all n
Apr 19, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the most incredible books I've ever read. I'm a big fiction person, but this was one reality check I needed. Mahaney is so real and simple, you get such a down-to-earth insight into life...and most importantly, faith. So often because I grew up in church, I lose view of how awesome and precious my faith is, and this book helped me ignite it again! A whole book wouldn't be enough to talk about the amazing qualities of Mahaney's creation. Every Christian (and even those who aren't) ...more
May 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good, short book focused on the events in the last week of Jesus' life. While primarily looking at the cross, Mahaney uses different events of the week (like the Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane) to teach about Jesus' atonement and other gospel truths.

For me, the book was a simple but fresh look at Jesus' death for sinners. It would be a good gift for a new/young Christian, but it makes for edifying reading for older Christians too.
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful book about the most important thing that matters. So often we get bogged down by condemnation, proving ourselves, and the next big thing that will make us better disciples. Yet, our main focus is and should always be the Cross of Christ. It is where we find life, joy, and are humbled in adoration before God. This book is for the non-Christian and Christian. Stop the self help books, cling to the cross. By his wounds we are healed.
Al Garlando
Sep 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Great overview of the essential elements of the gospel.
Excellent counsel in the last chapter about "how" to keep preaching the gospel to yourself (& others!).
The only point I would add/change is to add an extra area that talks about recognizing the gospel at work in the lives of each other within the context of a gospel-based community (aka church, aka fellowship, etc)
Brian Nicks
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Keeping the main thing the main thing is the main thing that must happen in the life of a believer. What is the main thing? The Gospel. The Cross. The penal substitutionary atonement accomplished at Calvary that we so easily forget. C. J. Mahaney writes a magnificently simple book with a profoundly important message: live a cross centered, gospel centered, Christ centered life!
Philip Mcduffie
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
Very helpful reminder. It has been a while since I have picked up a book that simply taught the importance of remembering the most fundamental truth in all the world. That truth is, "Jesus Christ has died for my sins." This should be on our mind continually. Everyday should be a day of exulting in what Christ has once and for all accomplished for us in his life, death, and resurrection.
Apr 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fires-of-sancti
"The gospel should be woven throughout our praise, our petitions, and our intercession, because our approach to God the Father is only--ever and always--through God the Son and His work on the cross" (138).
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Getting into Focus 3 11 Apr 09, 2012 12:48PM  

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C.J. Mahaney leads Sovereign Grace Ministries in its mission to establish and support local churches. He spent 27 years pastoring Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

He currently co-hosts the Together for the Gospel conference with Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and Albert Mohler and serves on the Council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and on the boards of The Council on Biblica

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As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young ...
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“Only those who are truly aware of their sin can truly cherish grace.” 50 likes
“To grow in your passion for what Jesus has done, increase your understanding of what He has done.

Never be content with your grasp of the gospel. The gospel is life-permeating, world-altering, universe-changing truth. It has more facets than any diamond. Its depths man will never exhaust.”
More quotes…