Saturday, February 4, 2012

Book Review: Jesus + Nothing=Everything by Tullian Tchividjian

I am a huge fan of the Star Wars movies—particularly the original trilogy that I saw as a child.  There isn’t a man my age that didn’t imagine himself swooping in with a lightsaber to defeat the forces of evil, saving the day, and being hailed as a hero.  One of my favorite scenes comes in The Empire Strikes Back where Luke is talking to Yoda trying to convince him that he is serious enough to train to be a Jedi.  Yoda looks him up and down and says:  

“This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away, to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was! Hm? What he was doing!” 

That’s a pretty good summation of the human heart, in some respects.  And, as Tullian Tchividjian says in his book Jesus+Nothing=Everything, when you look in your heart and you see dissatisfaction or longing in some form, you see a place in your heart that needs a confrontation with the gospel.  In this book, he examines Paul’s epistle to the Colossians and drives home the point that the gospel is the answer to the deepest longing of our hearts because in Christ we have been fully accepted by God, blessed, redeemed, and saved from God’s holy wrath against our sin.  In short, Tchividjian drives home Paul’s point that Christ is supreme over all creation and that in Him we have everything we need.  Without Him, therefore, even if we have everything this world offers, we really have nothing.

Rather than extolling a gospel of legalism, or as he terms it “performancism”, Tchividjian exhorts believers using the book of Colossians to trust in the finished work of Christ.  Christ has already kept the law—He has done the work to deliver us from hell by dying on the cross.  Therefore, we can’t add anything to that work by our behavior.  We don’t live holy lives in order to earn salvation, but rather we have been freed by Christ from the curse of the law and enabled by the Holy Spirit to joyfully follow Christ.  When we realize that Jesus is more precious, more beautiful, and more valuable than anything this world has to offer, when our hearts are captivated by the gospel of grace, we find true satisfaction that all the things that we look to now (men’s approval, money, fame, status) can never provide.

In short, this would be an amazing book for personal study and reflection.  I would also commend it for a group Bible study.  We all need to be reminded of the gospel and reminded that the gospel is not just for those who need to be converted, but it’s also for Christians.   We are reminded in this book that the gospel doesn’t just save us, it also sanctifies us.

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