The Greatest Gift

Of all the customs surrounding Christmas, it occurs to me the most singular, the most distinctive, is the custom of giving one another gifts. You realize how unique that is. There are other special occasions, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, Father’s Days, Mother’s Days, and so on, in which somebody is given gifts. You bring your gifts to somebody, but the real question is … How many holidays do we have in which all of us give gifts to all of us? The answer is only one, and it’s right that we do it at Christmas because it highlights, it makes real, the central event, in some ways, the central truth of Christmas.

 

Jesus Christ came at Christmas, but he didn’t just come. He was given. ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given …’ Jesus didn’t just come. He was a gift. That’s the central event of Christmas, and all the gift giving, in a sense, makes that real. Jesus was given. ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son …’ Jesus did not just come. He was a gift.

 

There’s one place in which Paul is so overwhelmed by the thought of it that he breaks into praise, and he says, ‘Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift,’ an unspeakable gift, an inexpressible gift. It’s beyond description. It’s beyond comprehension. Whenever Paul thinks about it, even for a while, his imagination and his heart explode.

– Tim Keller (from the sermon “His Name Shall Be Called” — December 23, 1990)

The Gospel Must Argue With You

The gospel, if it is really believed, removes neediness – the need to be constantly respected, appreciated, and well regarded; the need to have everything in your life go well; the need to have power over others. All of these great, deep needs continue to control you only because the concept of the glorious God delighting in you with all His being is just that – a concept and nothing more. Our hearts don’t believe it, so they operate in default mode. Paul is saying that if you want to really change, you must let the gospel teach you – that is to train, discipline, coach you – over a period of time. You must let the gospel argue with you. You must let the gospel sink down deeply into your heart, until it changes your motivation and views and attitudes.

~ Tim Keller

Book Review: The Gospel as Center (D.A. Carson & Tim Keller)

Committed to always keeping the Gospel of Christ at the center of everything–both our doctrine and our lives–The Gospel Coalition and Crossway publishing have joined together to release this book. Piecing through the Confessional Statement provided at the Gospel Coalition’s website (http://thegospelcoalition.org/about/foundation-documents/confessional/), TGC has previously provided 14 booklets to expand on these details. This book is a compilation of these booklets, expanded upon, and fleshed out in further detail.

This book served as a refreshing look at the core tenants of the Christian Faith (ranging in topic from “can we know truth” to “the holy spirit” and the grand themes of the bible in Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration). This book is an extremely necessary and faithful reminder to keeping the Gospel at the center of our lives and constantly as a focal point from which all other things flow.

I have been both encouraged and strengthened through the reading of this book, and I pray that it may continue impacting the faith and faithfulness of Christians who read it across the Earth.

In closing, the book brings to memory a quote uttered often by Pastor Tullian Tchividjian: “The Gospel is not the ABC’s of Christianity, it’s the A to Z.”

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes by Crossway Publishing. I was not required to post a positive review and the views expressed in this review are my own.