“The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ”–A Review

The following is a guest post from my good friend Evan Knies. Evan will be appearing on this blog more frequently in the coming months. He is one of the most well-read younger guys that I know and will greatly benefit this blog by way of book reviews, especially. I pray many young people pick up books because of his work.

41t26Q0Y72LRay Ortlund. The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ, Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. pp. 144. $9.99.

The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ is written by Ray Ortlund. This work is part of the 9Marks: Building Healthy Churches Series. Ray is the pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of several other books, and serves as the president of Renewal Ministries. He also serves on the councils of The Gospel Coalition and the Acts 29 Network.

This book has been a beneficial and refreshing read for me. The main point of The Gospel is the principle that gospel doctrine creates gospel culture. Ortlund drives home this point throughout the book. If a church doesn’t have a biblical view of the gospel, they won’t have a healthy church. Thus, the gospel relates to the church and is foundational for the church. The church must always rely on the gospel.


The Gospel begins with an introduction and then is divided into seven chapters. At the beginning of each chapter, Ortlund uses a different verse of Scripture as the primary ground for his argument in each chapter. In chapter one, the author discusses John 3:16 and demonstrates how it personally relates to the reader. In chapter two, the author explains Ephesians 5:25 and shows the gospel relates to the church. In the following chapter, Ortlund uses Revelation 21:5, which states; “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’.” In this chapter, the author discusses how the gospel relates to everything. He also uses one of the best analogies I have ever read to describe the gospel. But you will have to buy the book to check it our for yourself. J

In chapters 4 through 6, Ortlund uses three Scriptures (1 Tim. 3:14-15, Gal. 2:14, and 2 Cor. 2:15-16). These three chapters discuss how the first three chapters apply to our churches. Our churches are called to proclaim the truths of the gospel and take joy in them. In the final chapter, Ortlund uses Revelation 14:4 which states, “They follow the Lamb wherever he goes”. Ortlund’s call for the reader is to look and see what is ahead. May the church follow the Lamb!


This book helps show how the gospel relates to you (personally), the church (locally and corporately), and everything (globally). The gospel relates to you and me in that it is the good news by which we have been saved! Jesus spilled his blood on the cross for your sin and my sin! This good news has not only personally changed us; it has also locally and corporately changed us. When the local body of believers gathers together, they are united in Christ. In the church it does not matter what race or ethnic group we belong to. We are all saved by the Son who gave himself up for his bride (Eph. 5:25). Since the church is united in Christ, every nation, every tribe and tongue, are under King Jesus (Heb. 2:8). Jesus is the King of the globe! All men will answer to him! Christians have been changed personally, to be united locally so that they are sent globally. These men and women are to proclaim this good news. That we who were dead (Eph. 2:1-3), now are alive in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:4-5). Under Christ’s rule, He is making all things new! (Rev. 21:5).

This book was a joy for me to read! I went through The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ as a daily study with my 10 year old brother. It is encouraging for me to see him as we have gone through this book; that he is taking and holding onto these good things. I recommend this book to every believer in Christ. For the old Christian, that they may be refreshed in this good news. For the new Christian, that they continually hold fast, and rejoice of their salvation in him. Take this book, read it, and give it to everyone!

Only what is done for Christ will last!

–Evan Knies is a 21 year-old undergraduate student at Boyce College. He is a Biblical and Theological Studies major. He has been taking online classes through Boyce while serving as a youth minister in West Monroe, Louisiana (yes, that West Monroe) the past two years. As of May 24th, he will be the husband of Lauren. Evan and Lauren plan to move to Louisville where Evan will continue studying at Boyce. Evan enjoys reading, coffee, and sports. 


One thought on ““The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ”–A Review

  1. Heb. 2:8 ends by saying “we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.” While Jesus is indeed ruling at God’s right hand, in glory and honor (2:7), he is doing so “until I (God) make your (Jesus’) enemies a stool for your feet” (Heb. 1:13). The readers of Hebrews are still suffering persecution from enemies of Christ; thus they need to endure (suffering), so they receive what is promised (Heb. 10:36). This is just as Jesus said to his disciples: “you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake,” but “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Mt. 24:9,14).

    It is this final end that is then portrayed in Rev. 21:1-5. Only a new heaven and new earth bring a whole new world (21:1). Only then will God “wipe away every tear” and “death shall be no more” (21:4). Only then will the one sitting on the throne “make all things new” (21:5).

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