Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary
By JD Greear
Reviewed by Nicole Schrader
“…the truth of the gospel hadn’t moved from my mind to my heart…No matter how many rules I kept and how disciplined my life was, I walked around with an ever-present sense of guilt. In the deepest part of my heart, I knew God was not really pleased with me, because there was always something I could be doing better.”
JD Greear’s, GOSPEL, is a book I return to when I begin to feel like I’m going through the motions of Christianity and missing Jesus. When daily routines, like having a quiet time, become so routine I can actually forget I’m meeting with Jesus, I need a mental and spiritual wake-up call. A closer look at the gospel and the loveliness of Jesus Christ is the way back for me.
In his book, Greear first goes about distinguishing between religion and the gospel—God’s power for salvation. (Romans 1:16) He states, “Religion, then, can tell you what to do—namely, to ‘love God with all your heart, soul and mind’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself' but the gospel alone gives you the power to do it…Only in the truths of the gospel can a heart turned in on itself burst alive in love for God.”
The main portion of GOSPEL focuses on “The Gospel Prayer.” This four-part prayer is a tool to preach the gospel to ourselves by pointing us to the love of God, what He has done for us in Christ, and how it changes how we see God, ourselves, and others. “The gospel assures us of God’s acceptance, given to us as a gift earned by Christ’s worthiness, not ours.”
Finally, Greear addresses several questions like: Why are there commands in the Bible? What is the right way to work for God?
And what does a gospel-centered church look like?
I revisit GOSPEL to remind myself that it’s Jesus—my loving Savior—who meets me in my daily Quiet Times and opens my eyes to understand his words in the Bible. He is the one who convicts me of sin ever so gently and waits patiently for me to confess and repent. He assures me of his love, his sanctification, and my ultimate glorification. From this place of peace, I can love others, serve genuinely, and persevere through difficulties.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Tim Keller’s Foreword—
Religion, as a default mode of our thinking and practices, is based upon performance: “I obey; therefore, I am accepted by God.” The basic operating principle of the gospel, however is, not surprisingly, an about-face, one of unmerited acceptance: “I am accepted by God through Christ; therefore, I obey.” To truly understand this paradigm shift at a life-altering level requires that the gospel be explored and “looked into” at every opportunity and in regular, systematic ways.
Greear, J. D. Gospel. B & H Pub. Group, 2011.
Retired homeschool mother who loves to travel, bake bread, read, and spend time with her kids and grandkids.