One of my current open books is Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian. I’m reading it on my phone, which has proved to be very handy since I can highlight with the touch of a finger. In all honesty, I should just highlight the entire book. It is awesome. Some reviews fault it for being repetitive. I believe that is the point.

The basic idea of this book is that you need nothing but Jesus. The life of a Christian is forever defined by the gospel of Jesus Christ. So what is the gospel? Good news. What is the good news? The good news is that while we were still sinners, Jesus died to save us from our sins. Not because we’re great, but because we’re not. Not because we’re worthy, but because we’re not. Not because we are mostly good people who just need a little help, but because we’re horrible people who can do nothing good apart from Christ! Jesus, fully God and fully man, lived the perfect life we could not live. He died the death we should have died. He takes our sin, and gives us his righteousness. He transforms guilty, vile, and helpless sinners into children of God. That is Good News!! We are saved by grace. We did nothing to earn Jesus’ love. He loves us not because we’re lovely, but because he is lovely! And his love makes us lovely. The gospel is not just for our salvation, the gospel is for our sanctification as well. The gospel is not something we can ever move past. We don’t get saved and then work our way toward being better people. It is all of grace, all of Jesus. Plus nothing.

I’m about half done the book, and thought I would share a sampling of my favourite quotes thus far.

“When it comes to the Christian life and experience, many of us have understood the gospel as the thing that gets us in, while the thing that then keeps us in (we assume) is our own effort and performance. We recognize that the gospel ignites the Christian life, but we often fail to see that it’s also the fuel to keep us going and growing as Christians.
Unless we come to see and embrace the fact that the gospel never loses its importance in the practical outworking of the Christian life, we’ll continue to undercut and cheapen the gospel’s impact.”

“In our bones, we know that God hates unrighteous ‘bad’ works; we’re not nearly so convinced that he hates self-righteous ‘good’ works just as much, if not more.”

“The biggest lie about grace that Satan wants the church to buy is the idea that it’s dangerous and therefore needs to be kept in check. By believing the lie, we not only prove we don’t understand grace, but we violate the gospel advancement in our lives as the church by perpetuating our own slavery. The truth is, disobedience happens not when we think too much of grace, but when we think too little of it.”

“You and I will never know Christ to be a great Savior unless we first understand ourselves to be great sinners. We’ll never really feel deliverance if we don’t first feel desperation. We’ll never experience the glory of real freedom if we don’t first experience the grief of our own slavery.”

“In his law-fulfilling life, curse-bearing death, and death-defeating resurrection, Jesus has entirely accomplished for sinners what sinners could never in the least do for themselves. The banner under which the Christian lives reads, ‘It is finished.'”

“Because we’re so naturally prone to look to ourselves and our performance more than we look to Christ and his performance, we need constant reminders of the gospel.”

“The irony of real growth in godliness is that those who end up obeying more are those who increasingly realize that their standing with God isn’t based on their own obedience for Jesus but on Jesus’s obedience for them.”

“The only thing you contribute to your salvation and to your sanctification is the sin that makes them necessary.”

“The gospel is not just for non-Christians. It’s bigger than that; it’s for Christians, too. The gospel represents both the nature of Christian growth and the basis for it. Whatever progress we make in our Christian lives – whatever going onward, whatever pressing forward – the direction will always be deeper into the gospel, not apart from it, or aside from it. Growth in the Christian life is the process of receiving Christ’s ‘It is finished’ into new and deeper parts of our being every day, and it happens as the Holy Spirit daily carries God’s good word of justification into our regions of unbelief – what one writer calls our ‘unevangelized territories.'”

2 Responses to “Jesus + Nothing = Everything”

  1. Sounds like good stuff. Really enjoyed a book I read not to long ago, and a couple conferences I went to, that focused on ‘all for GODS glory’ and if we are impressed with our behavior we are taking glory and on the verge of worshiping our own image. Really hard to get ones head wrapped around this teaching, but I suppose that is the point… it should have nothing to do with OUR heads and more to do with ‘faith brings wisdom’.

  2. Amen! Indeed “It is Finished” His work has been done. Nothing I need do but give Him all glory. We need to grab hold of that every day. I will add this book to my “need to read soon” pile.

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