This book was amazing. It was refreshing. It was life changing.
Tullian begins the introduction with some shocking revelations: "The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s." - Dr. Richard Leahy. The New York Times reported that three in ten American women confess to taking sleeping pills before bed most nights. Some are calling this an epidemic. In a word we are - exhausted.
"Sadly, the Christian church has not proven to be immune to perfomancism. Far from it, in fact. In recent years, a handful of books have been published urgin a more robust, radical, sacrificial expression of the Christian faith." He even admits to writing one of them. "The unintended consequence of this push, however, is that if we're not careful, we can give people the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifice wemake for Jesus rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us . . ."
"Furthermore, it often seems that the Good News of God's grace has been tragically hijacked by an oppressive religious moralism that is all about rules, rules, and more rules."
"It is tragic, because this kind of moralism can be relied upon to create anxiety, resentment, rebellion, and exhaustion. It can be counted upon to ensure that the church hemorrhages the precise people whom Jesus was most concerned with: sinners."
And that was just the introduction!
Chapter 1 tells us about an "Exhausted World". "The Bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with His rescue, our sin with His salvation, our guilt with His grace, our badness with His goodness. The overwhelming focus of the Bible is not the work of the redeemed but the work of the Redeemer."
"We are uncomfortable because grace turns the tables on us, relieving us of our precious sense of control." Yes it does! It is what is so scary about grace. I describe it as a free fall. It is both freeing and terrifying at the same time.
Chapter 2 gives us a glimpse into Tullian's story. It is such a good story because it relates to us how his family handled having a rebellious child. He also talks about the prodigal son. A story in which I always have related to the older son and I know how dangerous that is.
Regarding the prodigal son parable: "Yes, it is a beautiful picture of God's one-way love, but it is more than that: it is a beautiful picture of God's one-way love for an unloving and actively hostile person."
There is one quote that made me think "Children will run from the law, and they'll run from grace. The ones who run from law never come back. But the ones who run from grace always come back. Grace draws its own back home." -Steve Brown
"By nature, you are completely addicted to a legal method of salvation. Even after you become a Christian by believing the Gospel, your heart is still addicted to salvation by works . . . You find it hard to believe that you should get any blessing before you work for it." - Walter Marshall The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification
In chapter 4 he tells us how he turned his life around but went too far the other way. He tells us what law without grace can do to a relationship (and don't I know that one!).
He also talks about a letter that a father sent to his children that went viral. It talks of how bitterly disappointed in his children he is. The author talks about how preachers sometimes implore this same tactic with their congregation and "estrangement and rebellion are inevitable".
He goes on to explain the purpose of the law. "Christianity alone affirms that the God who makes the demands also met those demands for us in the person of Jesus."
In the next few chapters he talks about the failures of the disciples (those closest to Jesus). In chapter 6 he tells a great story about Robert Downy, Jr. and Mel Gibson. It was an incredible story (you must read the book to get the full story:). He tells the story of Zacchaeus in a way I really enjoyed and hadn't thought about.
He talks about grace in our relationships, marriage and family. He told of a story about when he wore earrings and it drove his parents nuts. But his grandmother, Ruth Graham, would bring him earrings when she visited for holidays and such and have him wear them, like Christmas ornaments at Christmas time. She was saying, "This isn't a big deal. He's going to grow out of it."
I really appreciated this perspective!
Another thing that really struck me was the passage in Luke 7:36-39. This is the story of when Jesus was having dinner with the Pharisee and the women came in and washed his feet and cried and dried them with her hair.
"And then she kissed him. Over and over again. And he welcomed it. Jesus welcomed the kisses of a whore. She, the defiled, was cleaning Jesus, the pure." Incredible! It is something I read and just know but to think of it in this light was encouraging.
"Grace is wild. Grace unsettles everything. Grace overflows the banks. Grace messes up your hair. Grace is not tame. In fact, unless we are making the devout nervous, we are not preaching grace as we ought." - Doug Wilson
So he has talked a lot about grace. He has talked about sin and the law as well. And honestly I could write a book about this book. It is that good.
Chapter 9 is for you that are saying, "But, but, but what about . . ." - Objections to one-way love
Many fear that grace will promote laziness. Because we can rest in God's grace we will then not do anything. "There seems to be a fear out there that preaching grace produces serial killers." "After all, since our culture is already so permissive and morally lax, if we Christians don't stand up for God's standards of moral righteousness, His Law, then who will?"
"The fact is, the only way any of us ever start to live a life of true obedience is when we get a taste of God's radical, unconditional acceptance of sinners." "What makes us think the same generosity that flows from the Gospel of forgiveness won't lead others to repentance the way it has us"
There is a section entitled - God doesn't need our good works, but our neighbors do. It does a great job of explaining why we will do good works even if we aren't constantly living in fear of the law and its consequences and I have found this to be so true in my own life.
Chapter 10 is titled: "The End of the To Do Lists"
May I say it again - refreshing!
One of my favorite parables is of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The one where they both pray and the Pharisee thanks the Lord he is not like the tax collector and the tax collector beats his chest and asks for mercy. Yep, I am the Pharisee in this - over and over again.
The Pharisee's "capacity to be good enough to impress God and other people fueled contempt for those who weren't obeying the way they were."
" . . . Jesus did not come to offer moral reformation, he came to effect a mortal resurrection. Which is precisely what all of us need - both the "bad people" who know they're bad and the "good people" who think they're good. All of us have fallen short of the glory of God. The Law levels the playing field."
"What role have I left for religion? None. And I have left none because the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ leaves none. Christianity is not a religion; it is the announcement of the end of religion." - Robert CaponThis book is incredible. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It puts into words the thoughts I have been thinking for so long now. But I did not know this existed. I didn't know people preached this. I rarely if ever hear grace preached.
I cannot tell you how thankful I am that God has showed this to me. My children won't be growing up in a legalistic way. I won't be exhausted thinking that it is all on me. The fact that Jesus is the only One that can change hearts is the most freeing news in all the earth.
I'm done being exhausted and I'm done with my to do lists and I'm done thinking the fate of the world is solely dependent on my obedience to the law.
In other words, I am embracing God's inexhaustible grace!
I hope you read this book. I wish I could give a copy to every.single.one.of.you.
About One Way Love
Real life is long on law and short on grace—the demands never stop, the failures pile up, and fear sets in. Life requires many things from us—a stable marriage, successful children, a certain quality of life. Anyone living inside the guilt, anxiety, and uncertainty of daily life knows that the weight of life is heavy. We are all in need of some relief.
Bestselling author Tullian Tchividjian is convinced our world needs a fresh encounter with grace.
One Way LoveWritten by: Tullian TchividjianPublisher: David C CookPaperback: 240 pagesRelease Date: October 1, 2013$14.99
About the Author
William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) is the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. A Florida native, Tullian is the grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham. He is a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and a contributing editor to Leadership Journal. He is an ordained minister in Presbyterian Church of America. He is the author of six books; including the best seller, Jesus + Nothing = Everything that won Christianity Today's 2011 book of the year. He travels extensively, speaking at conferences throughout the U.S. (Photo Credit Mike Meyer).
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