Christian Growth grace Resources

The Gospel Isn’t Advice

February 26, 2011

“Remember what religion is: advice on how you must live to earn your way to God. Your job is to follow that advice to the best of your ability. If you follow it but don’t get carried away, then you have moderation. But if you feel like you’re following it faithfully and completely, you’ll believe you have a connection with God because of your right living and right belief, and you’ll feel superior to people who have wrong living and wrong belief. That’s a slippery slope: If you feel superior to them, you stay away from them. That makes it easier to exclude them, then to hate them, and ultimately to oppress them. And there are some Christians like that–not because they’ve gone too far and been too committed to Jesus, but because they haven’t gone far enough. They aren’t as fanatically humble and sensitive, or as fanatically understanding and generous as Jesus was. Why not? They’re still treating Christianity as advice instead of good news.

The gospel isn’t advice: It’s the good news that you don’t need to earn your way to God; Jesus has already done it for you. And it’s a gift that you receive by sheer grace–through God’s thoroughly unmerited favor. If you seize that gift and keep holding on to it, then Jesus’s call won’t draw you into fanaticism or moderation. You will be passionate to make Jesus your absolute goal and priority, to orbit around him; yet when you meet somebody with a different set of priorities, a different faith, you won’t assume that they’re inferior to you. You’ll actually seek to serve them rather than oppress them. Why? Because the gospel is not about choosing to follow advice, it’s about being called to follow a King. Not just someone with power and authority to tell you what needs to be done–but someone with the power and authority to do what needs to be done, and then offer it to you as good news.”

~Tim Keller, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus (p. 25), bold emphasis mine

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