Posts Tagged ‘Tullian Tchividjian’
A Christmas Story, great movie, AND it's a good season to think about what the real Christmas story is all about.
Tullian Tchividjian (say it five times fast and I dare you to spell it without looking:) has written a splendid gospel primer called Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything.
Much richness in it, but this caught my eye today. There is something about the difference between being created and redeemed for beauty than for “productivity” that should really stun us. Furthermore, and most importantly, Pastor Tullian goes on to state five important misconceptions about Christianity that I want everyone, believer or not, to know. Since it’s the Christmas season, it’s a good time to think about what that “Christ” in Christmas really means, and whether we just want to settle for a “happy holiday.”
“God created you for beauty – and redeemed you for beauty – so that you and your joy and peace and gratitude for what he’s done for you in Christ would be put on display in a dark, watching world.
“The world isn’t captivated by people trying to give the impression they have it all together. That’s not what draws them. What captures their attention is the sight of humble, desperate, dependent people who acknowledge their sin and who point to their Savior as the only one who can rescue us. The world, in other words, needs our confession, not our competence.”
5 important myths and realities about Christianity
- “rules and regulations and standards and behavior modification are not the heart of Christianity.”
- “the gospel is radically different…”
- “Jesus came first not to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive.”
- “the primary goal of the gospel is to bring about mortal resurrection, not moral reformation.”
- “Christianity is not the move from vice to virtue, but rather the move from virtue to grace.”
Think about it. How do you view Christianity? Have you ever thought or been taught that “keeping rules and regulations” is what makes you a Christian?
What difference does it make in your life today that Jesus came to make “dead people alive”?
This is from this week’s Colossians Bible study, which you can find on the Living Story Facebook page in Notes.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
What Paul is saying here often confuses modern readers because when we see “if,” we think “condition” – that is, “If I clean my room, my mom will give me allowance/be pleased with me…”
In this sentence, though, the Greek verb is in the “indicative” mood, which means that it is a statement of assurance. As the ESV Bible says, ‘Paul fully expects that the Colossians believers will continue in the faith; no doubt is expressed.”
Why is this good news? Because, contrary to what many people have been led to believe, the gospel is NOT UP TO US. Jesus died and reconciled us to God. That’s been done. Now we will assuredly grow in our faith. Listen to what Pastor Tullian Tchivdjian says:
“Paul…is actually assuring believers that because they’ve been reconciled through Christ’s work on their behalf, they’ll indeed continue in the faith, stable and steadfast. Spiritual steadfastness and stability will become a growing experience in their life. Paul isn’t saying that our performance leads to our rescue; he’s saying that genuine rescue leads to our performance. Our improvement comes from God’s approval; God’s approval doesn’t come from our improvement.
Living Story focuses on learning what God has done in order to live it.
I promise I will not write an entire blog series quoting the entire text of Tullian Tchividjian’s new book Jesus + Nothing = Everything, but I read this one last night, and it occurred to me that it’s a great explanation of what Living Story is all about — studying, learning, remembering, awe-ing what God has done + living this story of grace, the gospel into the world in such a way that other people want to know this ‘what-God-has-done’ story. Everything we do — conferences, curriculum, coaching, and community, is focused on the indicative of Christ followed by the imperative. Read Pastor Tullian’s explanation:
“To use grammatical terms, Paul begins with the vertical indicative (what God in Christ has done for us), followed by the horizontal imperative (how we’re to live in light of what God has done for us).
Paul knew that the right way for us to think about our Christian lives is always to start with the vertical, then move to the horizontal. We’re always to soak first in what God has already done before set out to do. This intentional order is crucial because it distinguishes the gospel from moralism in our minds and helps us preserve the gospel from moralism in our actions.”
I’ll admit — i bought this book for our youngest son so I could read it myself. (I’ll add — when I gave it to him, his first response was ‘how did he get a cool name?!)It’s a simple equation, really — the most basic gospel math, but one that we for some reason try to make into differential calculus. The title of the book is “Jesus + Nothing = Everything.” I launched right in yesterday (while our son was at choir practice) and blew through the first 50 pages in no time. Since this isn’t a review, but it is an encouragement to study Tchividjian’s math, today, I’m just going to leave you with a couple of the quotes that nailed me:
“Legalism happens when what we need to do, not what Jesus has already done, becomes the end game.”
“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. In fact, the most dangerous thing that can happen to you is that you become proud of your obedience.”
“Our ‘good works’ can become the very thing that gives us so much self-comfort and self-approval, this very thing we find so killingly attractive. Self-righteousness is our attempt to provide our own righteousness apart from his. God hates it because he loves us. And because self-righteousness can lead only to the robbery of freedom.” Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything