The pastor of a GARBC church has put into words important how-to principles for spiritual growth and maturity. In the introduction, Hedges clears the way by pointing out imbalances Christians may have that short-circuit the road to conformity to the image of Christ. In the first chapter he shares his insight concerning the fact that the broken image of God in each person can be restored. Though many flounder, believers can truly become like Jesus. Hedges emphasizes that the gospel is the key to transformation in believers’ lives and that Christ’s accomplishments at the cross—propitiation, redemption, and so forth—are the basis for our help.
Moving on, Hedges emphasizes the doctrines of justification, sanctification, holiness, mortification of the flesh, joy, discipline in the Christian experience, suffering, and living together with other believers. These doctrines are not mere facts but are teachings that can be translated into believers’ human spirit and existence as children of God: “Too much of our religion is simply ‘fruit stapling’ [like taking a staple gun and attaching apples to branches on a bad tree]. It is attaching something to our lives artificially instead of changing us deep down in the roots of our being, in our hearts. The result is that our behavioral change and attitudinal change is superficial and short-term. It doesn’t last. Nor does it glorify God.”