A proclamation of Christ's sufficiency! Based on a study of the Book of Colossians, Tchividjian's insights take aim at self-righteousness. Delving into profound theological truths from Scripture, he offers a message that is intensely practical---lean hard on Christ in every area of your life in order to experience radical freedom and peace. eBook.
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Customer Reviews for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
Tullian Tchividjian’s inspirational book Jesus + Nothing = Everything could very well play a pivotal role in a spiritual paradigm shift in your life. I could not recommend this book more.
Tullian shares his story of how in the midst of his greatest time of brokenness and pain as a Pastor recently transitioning to a new ministry, God revealed a deep penetrating truth to him as he was studying the book of Philippians. Tullian describes his personal brokenness in this way, “He had stripped me down—wrecked me afresh! And when he does that to a person—when you actually feel like you have nothing—Jesus becomes more to you than you ever could have hoped or imagined.” Have you been there? Have seen your true emptiness apart from Christ? Tullian goes on to say, ”When we’re captured and captivated by who Jesus is, we’ll be empowered and equipped to resist the constant temptations to settle for anything less.” The rest of this book puts forth the unique formula Jesus + Nothing = Everything. In other words Christ is fully sufficient for all joy, all satisfaction, and all truth. More than that, all of Christ’s sufficiency is found in the gospel.
Tullian goes on to argue that the gospel is not just for non-Christians, it is for Christians too. The gospels transformative power does not end at our conversion/justification. The gospel has a powerful outworking in our daily spiritual living. There is not a day that passes that we do not need to cling to the treasurable truth of the gospel. How did Tullian make this personal discovery? He was studying in the book of Philippians. Here he describes how this truth took full bearing in his life, “Early in this letter, Paul mentions ‘the word of the truth, the gospel,’ and he then adds this: ‘which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you’ (1:6). He’s speaking to Christians, and he tells them the gospel is not only fruitful and growing around the world, but in them as well. It was these verses, specifically, that first convinced me long ago that the gospel is not just for non-Christians. It’s bigger than that; it’s for Christians, too. The gospel represents both the nature of Christian growth and the basis for it.” In other words, our personal holiness is found in resting in Christ, not adhering to a law through works.
Coming to terms with our great need of the gospel depends on us fully understanding our depravity, our rebellion against God, that is completely helpless because of our identity in Adam. Tullian succinctly communicates this present truth, “You and I will never know Christ to be a great Savior unless we first understand ourselves to be great sinners. We’ll never really feel deliverance if we don’t first feel desperation. We’ll never experience the glory of real freedom if we don’t first experience the grief of our own slavery.” Whether pre-conversion or post-conversion, each of us should be driven to the cross and broken over our struggle against the flesh. We deceive ourselves when we think that we have some hidden power to resist sin apart from Christ. Tullian writes, “Since the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart, rules and regulations are never the solution. Jesus is. Behavior modification cannot change the human heart. You and I need this reminder all the time, and that’s why we turn to the gospel.” This is precisely why Tullian earlier says, “Jesus is everything, and, therefore, for mankind the gospel is everything.”
The gospel is built not just upon Jesus death but also His resurrection. Christ did not come to bring us merely a moral example to follow but to take the dead and give them life. “We have to keep remembering that the reason Christ came was first of all not to make bad people good but to make dead people alive. If we forget that, our Christianity will turn out to be Christless.” Tullian refreshes our minds with the message of the gospel and encourages us to constantly look outward from ourselves and look to Christ. “The more I look into my own heart for peace, the less I find. On the other hand, the more I look to Christ and his promises for peace, the more I find,” he remarks.
I will close this review with on of the most startling and beautiful statements that Tullian writes, “Because Jesus was someone, we’re free to be no one. Because Jesus was extraordinary, we’re free to be ordinary. Real slavery is self-reliance, self-dependence. Real slavery is a life spent trying to become someone. But the gospel comes in and says we already have in Christ all that we crave, so we’re free to live a life of sacrifice, courageously and boldly.” Tullian’s writing will startle you into some deep reflection. You will be compelled to examine not merely how you apply and live the gospel but also how you communicate the gospel. If the gospel is for us daily, then are we satisfied with hearing it daily? Do we tire of hearing the gospel? Does it ever become used up like an old t-shirt that needs to be retired from our dresser drawer? Surely not, the gospel ought to be like the whitest, purest, t-shirt that comes out clean, fresh, and new to be don and worn joyfully every day.
This book comes heartily recommended. You will have trouble putting it down!
View more book reviews by Joey Cochran at jtcochran.com.
This book covers the importance of looking to Jesus and His gospel instead of ourselves in living out our daily lives. Quite good and practical!
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Review 3 for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
Sets you free with the truth of the gospel
Date:June 12, 2012
The truths that Tullian begins to unfold and expound upon have begun to set me free from joyless self preformance based and checklist christianity. Tullian has brought me to a deeper understanding that the gospel is the everyday power that keeps me utterly dependant on God, because I cannot live the christian life apart from it. I enjoyed the ease of how the book is written so that even I can understand it, Tullian does not try to overcomplicate the content.
I was intrigued by the title to this book. I thought the author focused on the issue previlant in today's spiritual culture. Too many believers are wrapped up in man made rules as to what constitutes a truly "spiritual" individual and what does not. Good for him.
If you have not read Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchivijian I would highly recommend it to every believer. It explains how a clear understanding of the gospel of grace is not just essential to entering the Christian life, it is also essential to living it.
All people must come to Christ recognizing that we are saved by grace – favor we do not deserve. We are accepted based on His performance on a cross, not based on our performance. When Christ said, “It is finished,” (John 19:30) He meant, “It is finished.” Our debt of sin was paid in full by a loving Savior who died was our substitute and rose again.
What Tullian so superbly explains, is that the basis on which we are saved is the basis on which we serve. We don’t have to earn His acceptance, we already have it. We don’t have to impress God; we are so clothed in Christ’s righteousness, He views us through the perfection of His Son. Getting our mind off ourselves and onto Him and who we are in Him is liberating, exciting, and motivating. An understanding of the gospel of grace is not only key to our salvation, it is key to our sanctification. I love his comment, “Christianity isn’t turning over a new leaf, it’s receiving a new life.” That life is all about Him and the resources He has for us each day due to our new, never to be changed, indescribable position in Christ.
If as a Christian you are struggling with your self-image, living a life pleasing to God, understanding legalism versus grace, this book is a must read.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Larry Moyer, Founder & CEO, EvanTell
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done..." gets to the heart of this book - it's truly about JESUS CHRIST and the active and passive obedience of the only Savior. Clearly there's plenty more to say about our sanctification, and the author isn't seeking to say that this small work is all that's needed, but it's definitely a useful tool in the life of any true believer.
Jesus + Nothing = Everything is the equation that Tullian Tchividjian took away from a year of great trial and turmoil. He describes the bitter divisions that soured the beginning of his pastorate at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and the personal anchor that he found in the overwhelming power of the gospel. The book of Colossians forms the basis of Tchividjian’s call for Christians to rediscover the gospel and continually reorient their lives around Jesus.
Tchividjian insists that many who assume they understand the gospel fail to actually apply its riches to their lives. He takes particular aim at self-righteousness, which motivates moral behavior by fear and guilt. In contrast, the gospel of grace, with the radical freedom that it brings, provides the only sustainable motivation for Christians. This book delves into the profound theological truths of the gospel, yet the message is intensely practical—Tchividjian sounds the call for believers to lean hard on Christ in every area of every day. This book was easy to read through and at times Pastor Tchividjian goes on so much with the title it is almost numbing and tiresome. His main point is well taken in that we bring nothing to our Lord when he bestows salvation on us and that anything we try to bring are filthy rags. The events that lead to this book are the same trials every believer experiences when they are doing the work of the Gospel. The world hates this message, there is no other way they could live if they did not do all they could to destroy the Jesus of the Bible. Which is the main point of any trial. Thank be to God that this trial was one that he was able to grow closer to the Lord. I would like to thank Net Galley and Crossway Publishing, Inc. for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
Jesus + Nothing = Everything makes sense. We know that it's true in a logical way. But when left with nothing, do we still live in the truth of having everything in Christ? This book is about the very nature of our salvation and the sanctification process.
Tchividjian talks about a common falsehood in Christianity, a "do more, try harder moralism that robs us of the joy and freedom Jesus paid dearly to secure for us." Salvation becomes man centered, another tool in our belt of personal development. The remedy, according to Tchividjian is to meditate on and live in the reality of Jesus's victory.
I love this quote.
"The only way to deal with remaining sin long-term is to develop a distaste for it in light of the glorious acceptance, security, and forgiveness we already possess in Christ. I need to be reminded of this all the time, every day. Because the fact is, guilt doesn't produce holiness; grace does."
I received a free copy of this book from Crossway Books in exchange for my honest review.
I found this book very insightful and thought-provoking. So often, we think that the gospel is just to get us into the "Christian club" then it's up to us to maintain our membership. This book reminds us that the gospel is for daily living. I need Christ's saving power in my life as much today as when I first believed. This book also reminds us that it is God's power in us that makes us like him, not our own efforts. I need to continue to come to Him, confessing, repenting and acting in faith to how He would have me to live. When I act in faith contrary to what my heart wants to do, I glorify God.
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Review 10 for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
Isn't it interesting how when reading a book it speaks to us differently than the next reader. Books are personal. A book meets us just where we are: intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and even meets us at our prejudices and fears. This book addressed a problem I've had all of my life, wanting approval. How did it all begin? It began as a little girl because I feared punishment. I'll not rattle you with giving uncomfortable information, and it's not necessary. But that type of thinking became a habit, wanting approval. Another habit I've had is in wanting to be perfect, because if I'm perfect then maybe I won't fail or get in trouble. Ridiculous. But, not ridiculous to a small child. At 47 years of age it was time for me to stop this: to be aware of it and acknowledge it, to be convicted of it, to ask forgiveness of it, and to surrender it all over to Jesus. Let it go.
For the above reasons Jesus+Nothing=Everything was just what I needed to read. I have high regards for this book, I loved it!
Tullian Tchividjian believes that "what we are missing is the gospel-a fuller, more powerful understanding of Jesus and what his finished work means for everyday life." The author believes that "we are looking to something else other than Jesus to be what only He can be." In Jesus+Nothing=Everything Tchividjian points out that we are trying to attain by works, our own works, affirmation, which we already have in Jesus Christ. "Performancism leads to pride when we succeed and to despair when we fail. Slavery either way." "We are justified by grace alone, we're glorified by grace alone." See Ephesians 2:8-9. Tchividjian states that even though we know in our minds what is the truth, we still seek approval from others. In summing up this brief summary---and in my words and my interpretation. Let go of our need for approval and rest--be at peace in what Jesus did on the cross. Jesus shed His blood so that we would have eternal life. And in that we also might have "real life." Not some messed up warped thinking about things that do not matter or cannot be achieved or does not satisfy, but real soul quenching life.
A few more things I liked about the book: It is a thinking book, a book to ponder over and over again. Days later I'm still thinking about this book. I loved the questions from the book and I wrote down on a large index card most of them, for example: 1. Who am I trying to please? 2. What are you living for? 3. What are you depending on to provide the freedom, worth, and value you crave? 4. Am I working hard to perform? Or am I working hard to rest in Christ's performance for us? 5. How is your present disappointment, discouragement or grief a window on what has actually captured your heart? This book directed me to where I needed to refocus, the Gospel message.
What I disliked about the book: On page 22 the author states, "the glorious message of which we'll investigate together in the pages to come" in his statement he was referring to being enlightened by the message of the New Testament book of Colossians. I thought that when he referred to this book in the opening chapter and to a few of the verses from this book, Jesus+Nothing=Everything would be more guided by this NT book. It is not. Another words it is not a book on Colossians. I do believe that the author used too many quotes, especially from the same people over and over again. I do believe that the author could have used a different word instead of "relax" page 206. I think peace would have been a better word, explaining more accurately what Jesus has done for us. We are at peace with God because of what Jesus did on the cross. The word "works" has been a burr in most Christian's saddle for centuries. Even in explaining the book of James against what Paul wrote. We're uncomfortable with that word, and don't know what to do with it. I state this because the author used the word "works" several times and I feel another word could have been used, especially in light of the theme of this book.
I'm always saddened by what Christians do in the name of "their belief" etc., etc. What Tullian Tchividjian encountered at his new church (which is the basis of what led him to write this book) was disheartening and I have great empathy for him. I have been him, not to that large of scale, but I had a bad encounter with a class I had taught....it was reminiscent of the gunfight at the O.K Corral. Instead of reflecting on what "they" did wrong (which I might add is easier to do). I have decided to look at what I needed to learn from this, because there is always a lesson to be learned.
Thank you to Crossway for my free review copy in order that I would write an honest review!
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Review 11 for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
Title: Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything Author: Tullian Tchividjian Publisher: Crossway Publishing Year: 2011 Pages: 224 My Rating: 5 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book) Normally when I write a book review, I have a firm opinion of whether or not I liked the book. However, this book still has me puzzled and thinking. I guess you could take that as the sign of a good book. One thing is for sure, Tullian Tchividjian is an excellent writer. In this book, Pastor Tullian weaves the story of his difficult times at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (and his near ouster as pastor) together with a running commentary on the book of Colossians. Whether you agree with his theological conclusions or not, all must agree his keeps it interesting and thought-provoking all at the same time. This is not a book you will get bored with. The premise of the book is that the Christian does not find security in his performance or perceived performance by others, but the Christian is to rest in the finished work of Christ on our behalf. Our life of obedience and good works is not founded on the notion that such things must be done to gain God’s favor and acceptance rather such things flow from a heart of gratitude because we already are favored and accepted by God. In other words, works are the result of God’s favor, not the basis of it. Now, if you are like me, my first reaction was, “Won’t that just lead to antinomianism? Won’t that just allow people to be as sinful as they want?” This sounds great, but there’s that voice in the back of my head that wants to temper such ideas with just a little bit of law, to keep us honest. However, Pastor Tullian counters that reaction with this thought, “The biggest lie about grace that Satan wants the church to buy is the idea that it’s dangerous and therefore needs to be kept in check.” – page 44 (page numbers on my Nook e-pub may differ from other versions) He also adds, “When it comes to drawing near to God and pleasing him, legalism insists that obedience precedes acceptance – that’s it’s all up to us. But the fresh breeze of the gospel freedom announces that acceptance precedes obedience – that once we’re already approved and already accepted by God in Christ, we can freely follow God’s lead and grow in his will out of genuine gratitude for his amazing grace and without any fear of judgment or condemnation when we fall… C.S. Lewis observed that what most distinguishes the gospel from legalism is that legalism says God loves if we are good, while the gospel tell us God will make us good because he loves us.” – page 77 As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, there are still parts of this book I am working through. There are still issues I am struggling to justify. For example, one wonders where the imperatives of Scripture come in. In other words, there are commands all throughout Scripture. If we were to break one of these commands, our relationship with Christ would suffer to some degree. While I certainly agree that our acceptance is not found in works but in Christ – doesn’t my sinful disobedience disrupt (but not break) that relationship? This is radical. However, I am convicted by the constant reminder of grace. My temptation is always to add to grace, a sort of “grace, but…” of some sort. How can I add to Christ’s work? How can my meager attempts at holiness somehow garner the favor of the one who is infinitely holy and perfect? Again, still issues I am working through. This book has been a tremendous aid in this thought-process. Here are just a few quotes I thought were worthy of your attention: “In fact, when it comes to Christian life and experience, many of us have understood the gospel as the thing that gets us in, while then the thing that then keeps up in (we assume) is our own effort and performance.” – page 34 “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.” – page 40 “I believe it’s more theologically accurate to say that there is one primary enemy of the gospel – legalism – but it comes in two forms. Some people avoid the gospel and try to ‘save’ themselves by keeping the rules, doing what they’re told, maintaining the standards, and so on. (I call this ‘front-door legalism’). Other people avoid the gospel and try to ‘save’ themselves by breaking the rules, doing whatever they want, developing their own autonomous standards, and so on (‘back-door legalism’)…There are two ‘laws’ we can choose to live by apart from Christ: the law that says, ‘I can find freedom and fullness of life if I keep the rules,” and the law that says, ‘I can find freedom and fullness of life if I break the rules.” Either way, you’re trying to ‘save’ yourself, which means both are legalistic because both are self-salvation projects.” – page 43 “Idolatry, according to John Piper, ‘is a suicidal exchange of infinite value and beauty for some fleeting, inferior substitute.” – page 64 “Luther said, “God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does.” – page 97 “Paul says that when we divorce obligations from gospel declarations, then our obedience becomes nothing more than behavioral compliance to rules without heart change. But when God’s amazing grace in the gospel grips out hearts the motivational structure of our hearts is radically changed, and we begin to obey out of faith, not fear, gratitude not guilt… When I begin analyzing and evaluating my own heart and the motivations behind what I do, I begin to discover a lot of moralistic tendencies. That’s why, as I’ve said so often, we need to be making a beeline for the finished work of Christ every day, because only the gospel can crush the moralistic tendencies that are the natural default mode of our hearts.” – page 117 “Only after he makes that huge point does Paul say, ‘Therefore walk in him. [Colossians 2:6-7]’ Notice, he doesn’t say ‘walk to him’ – as if we were on our own, separated from him and needing somehow to get to him by way of our own obedience. He says we’re to walk in him – to walk in Christ, in his strength.” – page 119 “I’m not saying the Christian life is effortless; the real question is Where are we focusing our efforts? Are we working hard to perform? Or are we working hard to rest in Christ’s performance for us?” – page 129 The only real negative aspect I thought I should mention is an over-reliance on the works of Michael Horton. I love Horton. I own several of his books and frequently listen to the White Horse Inn. However, Pastor Tullian seems to quote him on ever other page of this book. Gets a little old… In short, buy this book. Begin your own theological quest to grapple with these great struggles! What I appreciate most in these pages is the constant reminder of God’s grace and work on our behalf. You will walk away glorying in the Lord and revealing in HIS righteousness. No wonder the last chapter is just one praise after another… You won’t want to skip the end, trust me! Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
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Review 12 for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
Tullian is passionate about the gospel. “I'm beginning to realize,” he writes, “that the gospel is way more radical, offensive, liberating, shocking, and counterintuitive than any of us realize. And that's beginning to be okay with me.” (11) How he got there is told in this book. Tullian was pastoring New City Church in Fort Lauderdale, a thriving church he had started five years before. To the south was Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, founded fifty years before by D. James Kennedy. It had once been thriving but attendance was in decline and then Kennedy died in 2007. Leaders at Coral Ridge asked Tullian about the possibility of a call but he was not interested. Months later a new idea surfaced – combining the congregations, and Tullian sensed God was in it. The congregations began worshiping together on East Sunday, 2009 and he was installed as pastor in May. “Although I'd expected some tough times to crop up as two very different congregations merged into one, I had no idea how ugly and messy it would become.” (21) With this introduction, Tullian tells of the pain. Within three months, false accusations and a petition to get him removed. He agonized with God and realized his addiction to human approval. The gospel became his lifeline. Tullian focuses in on the human hunger for everything. Is it true that only God alone can satisfy that desire? Tullian reminds us of our restless hearts, our tendency to idolatry. He wonders if our “good works” give us comfort or a feeling of self-righteousness. Are we “demonstrating that we believe in ourselves much more than we do in Jesus”? (49) He challenges us, “What are you looking to (instead of Jesus) for meaning in life, for purpose, significance, security, direction, acceptance, approval?” (55) Tullian had read Colossians when he was on his vacation in the early summer of 2009. Paul's emphasis on the completeness of Christ moved him. Tullian spends some time reviewing Colossians and the fullness of Christ inn this book. He shares how he was confronted by the truths contained in that book and was reoriented back to the gospel. He addresses idols. “What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God...” (89) He had thought that becoming mature meant, “...I needed to find a way to get more joy, more patience, more faithfulness, and so on.” (94) He realized that was not what the Bible taught. “What the Bible teaches is that we mature as we come to a greater realization of what we already have in Christ.” (94) Tullian also helps us identify the counterfeit gods we create. He helps us identify legalism. We avoid the gospel because then it is no longer about us. We are no longer the point. We must understand it is all about God. We need to understand that Jesus did not come to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive. For Christians, who you are really has nothing to do with you. “Your identity is firmly anchored in Christ's accomplishment, not yours...” (132) Tullian admits it was easy to affirm all the truths from Colossians in his brain. The past few years of difficulty helped him understand deeply what it meant to be accepted , approved, redeemed, forgiven by God and transferred from darkness to light. He came to see that Christian growth was “working hard to live in the reality of what you already have” rather than working hard to get something you don't have. That radically transformed his life. The secret of maturity, he says, “we become more spiritually mature when we focus less on what we need to do for God and focus more on all that God has already done for us.” (185) All of that, and the best is yet to come! Tullian Tchividjian is glad to report that the gospel is active at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, where is pastor.
I received a complimentary egalley from Crossway for the purpose of this review.
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Review 13 for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
"I used to think that growing as a Christian meant I had to somehow go out and obtain the qualities and attitudes I was lacking. To really mature, I needed to find a way to get more joy, more patience, more faithfulness, and so on.
Then I came to the shattering realization that this isn't what the Bible teaches, and it isn't the gospel. What the Bible teaches is that we mature as we come to a greater realization of what we already have in Christ." --Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus+Nothing=Everything
There is a subtle, yet dangerous doctrine that is everywhere in our churches today: Jesus+trying hard to live a good life=being a successful Christian.
Instead, let us consider a different way of living:
"...the banner under which Christians live reads, "It is finished." So relax, and rejoice. Jesus plus nothing equals everything; everything minus Jesus equals nothing." --Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus+Nothing=Everything
This doctrine is so extremely important. It affects my everyday living and decisions. It needs to permeate my parenting. Oh, I hope it shows up through my teaching and writing! The last thing I want for YOU to hear from ME is that you need to go out and try harder to be a good Christian.
Christianity is all about what has already been done for us, NOT what we need to do for God. " The hard work of Christian growth, therefore, is to think less of ourselves and our performance and more of Jesus and his performance for us. Ironically, when we focus mostly on our need to get better, we actually get worse." --Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus+Nothing=Everything
I loved reading this book. I found myself nodding my head in agreement over and over. What we believe about the doctrine of the gospel is so very, very important.
The gospel--the good news about Jesus--is not just about how to become a Christian. It is by the gospel that we continue in Christ, everyday of our life. We must get this right.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to every one of you!
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Review 14 for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
Did you ever wonder if you really have the Lord in the correct position in your life? Have you ever asked yourself if you have any idols that you need to remove from your life? Read Jesus + Nothing = Everything. The author has the ability to surprise us by identifying idols that we would never have though of as idols. Read twice, at least, first time at your regular speed for reading. The second time read it to study it.
In my Library the Bible will always hold first place, “The Praise and Prayer Encyclopedia” is second, and Jesus + Nothing = Everything is in third place.
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Review 15 for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
My first official book review was quite a rewarding experience. I took an interest in this book immediately from reading the press release review. I knew the book would deal with the topics of legalism, grace, law, the Gospel, etc. I held out hope–before reading–that the author would have a full grasp on the topics and be able to articulate arguments against legalism and make an irrefutable case for the Gospel being entirely sufficient (salvation through Christ’s work alone, without the need of adding to that work with our own works). I was not disappointed with the outcome. Tullian makes the argument irrefutable indeed.
I found this book to be absolutely correct, theologically. I could find no fault in the content. The writing was very much inspiring. Since I am a minister of the Word, I have studied and thought these topics over countless times, taught them to believers and unbelievers, and written about them. While I would not go so far as to say that I learned something new, I can say that Tullian’s writing inspired and even challenged me in ways I didn’t expect.
There are two important things I look for when reading books. First, I look for quotable content, quotes that I can use when teaching on related topics. Second, I am looking for books that are adequate enough for me to recommend to others who are in need of its particular content. Well, I find the book to be loaded with quotable content, and it is definitely a book that I will recommend to anyone who does not have a solid grasp on the above mentioned topics. In fact, while teaching, I have already quoted from this book and recommended it as a good-read.
As is the case with any product from Crossway that I have ever seen, the quality of this book seems top-notch. I would expect it to stand the test of time. The book has an interesting look, with its black cover and red lettering.
Tullian points out how often believers struggle to come to grips with the work of Christ being complete. We neglect to understand the past tenses of that work: that we were saved, we were freed, we were justified, we were sanctified, we were blessed, we were empowered, etc. He explains how truly knowing these things can free us to live for Christ from a heart of gratitude and not be bogged down by feelings of self-condemnation that come from trying to work for our salvation, acceptance, sanctification–what have you.
A Few Quotes From The Book
A gospel-saturated church is a church filled with people who give everything they have because they understand that in Christ they already have everything they need.
Legalism happens when what we need to do, not what Jesus has already done, becomes the end game.
Enormous sin, extravagant gospel.
The gospel is so counterintuitive to our fallen pride that it cannot be believed apart from a miracle of divine grace.
Are we working hard to perform? Or are we working hard to rest in Christ’s performance for us?
I would like to thank Crossway Publishing for providing this book to me free of charge, in exchange for an honest review of the product.
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Review 16 for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
Jesus + Nothing = Everything. Its a simple equation really. Similar to the mathematical equation 1 +1 = 2. But as simple as it looks and sounds it is so hard to live out. This is what Tullian Tchividjian discovered in his first year as senior pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Tchividjian begins by explaining the inner struggle he had over his own identity during his first year at Coral Ridge:
"I’d never realized before how dependent I’d become on human approval and acceptance until so much of it was taken away in the rolling controversy at Coral Ridge. Before, in every church I’d been a part of, I was widely accepted and approved an appreciated. Now, for the first time, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of being deeply disliked and distrusted, and by more than a few people. Now I realized just how much I’d been relying on something other than – something more than – the approval and acceptance and love that were already mine in Jesus (p. 22).”
What Tchividjian recounts for the reader here is not something unique to him. No, desire for the approval, acceptance and appreciation of others is something that strikes at the heart of everyone. We have an addiction to being liked and we desire what he hope others think about us more than what we have in Christ. We have a gospel problem.
The solution to this problem is found in the gospel and for Tchividjian much of this gospel truth was found in the book of Colossians. It is here that Tchividjian discovered the gospel truth that Jesus + nothing else = everything because everything we have in Christ is all we need to shape and find our identity. The growing truth that is set forth in this book is that though we need to gospel to get saved we need it just as much after we are saved. The gospel not only “ignites the Christian life” but is also “the fuel that keeps it going (p. 37).” This is a book about helping us to find and remove the idols in our lives that our hearts seek to build our identity around.
The greatest threat to the believer finding satisfaction in their identity is Christ is legalism. “Legalism happens when what we need to do, not what Jesus has already done, becomes the end game (p. 46).” It is because these self-imposed structures seem so right that makes them so dangerous. “Our rules become our substitute savior, and keeping those rules becomes our self-salvation project (p. 48).” It “preserves our illusion that we can do this (p. 49).” This legalism is a double edged sword and so cuts both ways. First, there is “front-door legalism.” This says that “I can find freedom and fullness of life if I keep the rules (p. 51).” Second, there is “back-door legalism.” This says that “I can find freedom and fullness if I break all the rules (p. 51).” But both sides of the coin mean I am trying to save myself and neither is the gospel.
The freeing message of the gospel from legalism is that in Christ we are free from the law and its desire to enslave us to the double edged sword of legalism. We need to bask in the reality that Christ has freed us from the demands of the law for he has met them because we cannot. Our self-imposed legalism cannot help us fulfill the law. We were never intended to and God does not expect us to. Our attempts are displeasing to him and they diminish the law fulfilling work of Christ that has already been accomplished on the cross.
Page after page Tchividjian lays out for us the freeing truth of the gospel. It is this gospel truth that we need to run to everyday. It is this gospel truth that keeps us day by day. It is the gospel truth of what Christ has already done for us in Christ that enables us to stand before almighty God because he has freed us from sin and covered us in himself.
This is a book that every believer needs to read and digest. This is probably the most encouraging book I have read all year and one I will return to for years to come. Jesus + Nothing = Everything is a freeing gospel truth!
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Review 17 for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
Jesus + Nothing = Everything is written by Tullian Tchividjian, Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Jesus + Nothing = Everything explores what implications the sufficiency of Christ has on the everyday life of believers. In this book, Pastor Tullian shares how during a very difficult year; he discovered the power of the Gospel. During this year the Lord led him to read and study the book of Colossians; a book which he then preached to the congregation at Coral Ridge, and upon which this book is based.
While much has been written and said about the current “Gospel-centered” movement, I believe that this book significantly advances that conversation by taking it deeper into the fullness of the Gospel. Tullian in this book bears all the marks of a man who has truly experienced the power of God in the Gospel, which is why throughout the book he demonstrates what it means to be a man on fire for the Gospel. Throughout church history the men and women that God has used the most to advance the Gospel have been believers who have understood their identity in Christ. Many believers often wonder what “secret” these great saints discovered in order to experience the level of effectiveness they enjoyed in there ministries. The fact that so many Christian books written on the Christian life today focus solely on what it means to be successful for God is an indictment on contemporary evangelical theology. This book unlike those books focuses not on what it means to be successful for God, but rather on what Christ has already accomplished in His death, burial and resurrection. Pastor Tullian skillfully guides his readers deeper into the fundamentals of the faith by explaining how the Gospel frees the people of God to be who they really are in Him by His grace for His glory.
This book contains a message that needs to be preached from every rooftop and in every pulpit; every single week of the year. The implications of Christ’s sufficiency are many and they all take the believer to the end of themselves in order to grow deeper and wider in the finished work of Christ in everyday life. Many contemporary theologians have written that evangelical Christianity is a mile wide and an inch deep. The message Tullian delivers here rightly diagnoses that problem as moralism, legalism and idolatry, but doesn’t stop at just explaining what these are or how Christians fall into these traps, but rather skillfully as a surgeon gets to the root of the problem by exposing these isms for what they are; a lack of confidence in the finished work Jesus Christ.
Jesus + Nothing = Everything is confessed as truth by nearly every evangelical, and yet many evangelicals do not appropriate this truth into their everyday lives. By this I mean, and Tullian explains so well that many evangelicals focus on their problems rather than on Jesus Christ. The believer who focuses solely on their problems demonstrates a lack of confidence in the power of the Gospel. Tullian calls believers away from being introspective about their sin by reorienting them to the truth of what Christ has done for them in the work of the Cross and Resurrection.
This is a book that challenges many contemporary evangelical ideas about accountability, spiritual growth, and ministry. Reading this book will change many believers’ lives by turning them upside-down and inside-out for the sake of His Gospel. Tullian rightly notes that the Gospel that saves and sanctifies provides the fuel to do good, which flows from the fount of what’s already been done by Christ. The truth that this book contains is the power of God to wreck your life in order to free you from hypocrisy, legalism and addictions, so that you will be who you are in Him by the grace of God. I recommend you pick up this book to be reminded and wrecked afresh by the precious truth that the Gospel that saves and sanctifies is indeed the power of God.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 18 for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
Tchividjian addresses what many of us are experiencing who have been followers of Christ for a long time, we keep adding things to the Gospel. Why do we do that? Because as Tchividjian points out on page 37, "identify where your restlessness is rooted--because that's where a confrontation with the gospel is needed.". What he is talking about is that we add to the Gospel to attempt to resolve the restlessness that we feel with life.
The Gospel is Christ crucified and resurrected. It is not Jesus plus running an orphanage. Nor is it Jesus plus feeding the homeless. Nor is it Jesus plus abiding by a set of our own moralistic rules. No, everything we need is just Jesus and only Jesus. it isn't that good works are bad, it's just they don't bring us salvation. That is through Christ alone and His work on the cross)
When we add to the Gospel we are adding our own idols ofnthe heart. Tchividjian does a wonderful job giving us many quotes from Godly men to remind us that it is the idols of our hearts that are our ruin;
Augustine, "God, you made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."
Martin Luther, "whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God."
John Calvin famously said that all our hearts are idol-making factories.
Tullian Tchividjian, "idolatry is simply trying to build our identity on something besides God."
As a conflict coach for Peacemaker ministry I find myself captivated by Tchividjians thoughts and premises. He is so correct that we humans strive to find fulfillment and pleasure and meaning through the Gospel, but if it doesn't quite fit in our box, we add to it to make it fit. We add to it so our own pleasures are satisfied.
I agreed with Tchividjian that my problem was seeking to please people more than seeking to please God. By trying to please people you tend to water down the Gospel. You remove the rough edges so they will like it. But some of Christianity is difficult and we can not avoid it. We must seek to serve Him and Him only.
I recommend this book to all Christians who are struggling with restlessness in their hearts. They will find answers to their questions if they approach this read with an open heart and soul and mind. Jesus is all we need and after reading this book you will better understand why Jesus + Nothing = Everything.
I do want to thank Crossway books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
God bless you and enjoy reading and thinking!
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Review 19 for Jesus + Nothing = Everything - eBook
Have you ever felt as though every aspect of your life was under siege? That the work you were doing, the life you were living, and the way you were doing things were all somehow going wrong? I know I have; indeed, there have been days when I couldn’t seem to get my bearings – when it felt as though there was absolutely nothing certain, including gravity! In this book, Pastor Tullian relates how God used a period like that in his own life to draw him into the gospel in a deeper way.
As the pastor of a successful church that merged with another, Pastor Tullian experienced some difficulties that would usually seem more common in a corporate tower than a church sanctuary. And while he felt assurance before the merger that the bond was God’s will, after the fact, he couldn’t help but feel some level of discouragement in the way things were transpiring.
God had some amazing things to show him, though! Through a study in Colossians, Pastor Tullian found a clear insight into the gospel of Jesus, and how complete that is for Christians. Jesus said “It is finished” and He meant it – the gospel completes the transaction of sin for righteousness that all of us need for a relationship with Him. When we forget that, we begin to waver, and start adding other things to the gospel to improve what is already perfect.
This encouraging tome stays true to its title as Pastor Tullian shows through scripture (especially Colossians) that the sufficiency of the gospel for our salvation is as faithfully true as gravity. We don’t need to add legalism, accolades, service, or obedience to assure ourselves of that truth – we already have EVERYTHING through the life and sacrifice of Christ. This book is a great read, and one that reminds Christians, again and again, that resolving to soak ourselves in the grace and love of the gospel on a daily basis is the best way to grow our relationship with Him. Do that and you will spend fewer days despairing, and more days celebrating the freedom that Christ has already promised, secured, and given.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255