I read a blog last year by Tullian Tchividjian that hit me straight in the face—and by God’s grace, I have not recovered since. It shattered and confronted fundamentally what I believed about the power of the good news. And I can only hope and pray that this gospel-blow to my understanding of the Christian life continues to press God’s Truth deeper into my thoughts and soul. Therefore, I feel like I would be stealing from you if I did not share this. To give a brief context, Tullian’s blog confronts the typical way Christians approach and understand spiritual growth. What works, what doesn’t, and what’s True. He therefore addresses the nature of our hearts, the means of sanctification, and Jesus’ work as the ultimate basis of our lives. So, without further ado…
Check it out:
“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. The gospel, in fact, transforms us precisely because it’s not itself a message about our internal transformation, but Christ’s external substitution. We desperately need an Advocate, Mediator, and Friend. But what we need most is a Substitute. Someone who has done for us and secured for us what we could never do and secure for ourselves.
The hard work of Christian growth, therefore, is to think less of me and my performance and more of Jesus and his performance for me. Ironically, when we focus mostly on our need to get better we actually get worse. We become neurotic and self-absorbed. Preoccupation with my effort over God’s effort for me makes me increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective.
You could state it this way: Sanctification is the daily hard work of going back to the reality of our justification–receiving Christ’s words, “It is finished” into new and deeper parts of our being every day, into our rebellious regions of unbelief. It’s going back to the certainty of our objectively secured pardon in Christ and hitting the refresh button a thousand times a day. Or, as Martin Luther so aptly put it in his Lectures on Romans, “To progress is always to begin again.” Real spiritual progress, in other words, requires a daily going backwards.
Day by day, what we must do practically can be experienced only as we come to a deeper understanding of what we are positionally—a deeper understanding of what’s already ours in Christ.”
***(And then he continues to explain why that is significant)
“We no longer need to rely, therefore, on the position, the prosperity, the promotions, the preeminence, the power, the praise, the passing pleasures, or the popularity that we’ve so desperately pursued for so long.
[Indeed], we have been blessed, “in Christ with every spiritual blessing” (1:3): we’ve beenchosen (v. 4), graced (v. 6), redeemed (v. 7), reconciled (v. 10), destined (v. 11), and sealedforever (v. 13). The everything we need and long for, Paul says in Eph 1, we already possess if we are in Christ. He has already sweepingly secured all that our hearts deeply crave.”
This excerpt was taken from Tullian’s original blog, “What to Preach to Yourself Everyday”. There, you will find many more blogs of his that relate to and expound upon how the gospel is relevant and powerful in its application to heal, restore, impart life, reinforce truth, and conquer sin. I encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already.
I hope this blog was as encouraging and life-changing as it was to me. It was reading this blog in particular where the Lord allowed things to click. May He continue to do so in our lives as we strive hungrily for a greater understanding of and satisfaction in Him.