18 January 2012

Book Review: Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Jesus + Nothing = Everything (2011) is the latest book by Tullian Tchvidjian. I had previously read his books Unfashionable and Surprised by Grace. This one seems to have gotten the most acclaim, though Surprised by Grace probably remains my favorite of the three.

Tchvidjian has become one of the foremost champions of gospel centrality. He regularly blogs about the radical grace of Christ and how that is not only the beginning of the Christian life, but sustains us throughout. For Tchvidjian, the work of the Christian life is not our own pursuit of holiness, but rather our deepening understanding of the work Christ has done for us.

Tchvidjian has fast become one of my favorite authors. He challenges me to dive more deeply into the gospel, to bathe in the wonder of Christ's completed work.  Though he is the pastor of a Presbyterian church, the influences of Luther upon his thinking are clear. 

Here is a sampling:
  • the gospel doesn't simply rescue us from the past and rescue us for the future; it also rescues in the present from being enslaved to things like fear, insecurity, anger, self-reliance, bitterness, entitlement, and insignificance.
  • Idolatry is simply trying to build our identity on something besides God.
  • Legalism happens when what we need to do, not what Jesus has already done, becomes the end game.
  • I haven't met one Christian who doesn't struggle daily with believing--somehow, someway--that our good behavior is required to keep God's favor.
  • Progress in obedience happens only when our hearts realize that God's love for us does not depend on our progress in obedience. 
  • The gospel liberates us to be okay with not being okay. We know we're not--though we try very hard to convince other people we are. But the gospel tells us, "relax, it's finished."
This is just a small sampling. The book contains a lot of important truths that are worth digging through, even if it feels a bit disjointed at times.  4 stars. 

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