Sunday, July 08, 2012

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

As a long time fan of the Apostle Paul and student of Colossians at several critical points in my life, I was thrilled that Tullian Tchividjian helped me see the message of Colossians with even more clarity.  Paul was clearly obsessed with the gospel as he wrote the inspired letter.

If I had to wrap up the point in one sentence it would be this: "Grace is the root of the gospel, and peace is the fruit of the gospel."

For those that know the teachings of Bob Warren, I like to relate these two important aspects of the gospel to illustrations that can go a little deeper:

  • Grace is about identity in Christ and life defined by Christ and work done by Christ which is rigidly communicated with the "Law of the Buttons" and the many illustrations within the Romans study.
  • Peace is a result of living in the grace of God in Christ and understanding that there is nothing that can be added to Grace. The "Law of the Circles" communicates this very well.

Here is another great line of thought from the book that hits the reader hard.

  • We Christians have a remarkable tendency to focus almost exclusively on the "fruit" of the problem.
  • We do this as parents with our children, pastors with our parishioners, husbands with our wives and wives with our husbands.
  • The gospel, on the other hand, always addresses the "root" of the problem. And the root of the problem is not bad behavior.
  • Bad behavior is the "fruit", death chosen in the garden of Eden is the "root"
  • To address behavior without addressing death is to perpetuate death. The Pharisees were masters of this, and Jesus called them "white washed tombs"
  • I am often guilty of making this same mistake.
  • The fact is, Jesus came first to effect a mortal resurrection, not a moral reformation.

As Christians, it is embarrassing to focus on the short term fruit if the root of the problem has not been dealt with.  When digging down deeper into any problem, if you keep on digging you will get to the original sin resulting in death.  The answer is always God's love resulting in life.

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