Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary – Book Review
“Rediscovering the gospel has given me a joy in God I never experienced in all my years of fervent religion” (pg. 5). So Dr. JD Greear begins his book Gospel, Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary declaring that there is a distinct difference in religion and relationship. This truth has eternal consequences and as I wrote in my post Millennials: Religion is Out…Real Faith is In!, it is vital as we reach this generation.
JD immediately establishes a beachhead in the first part of the book demonstrating how the Gospel does what religion cannot do. The Gospel changes a person beginning with the inside rather than focusing on outward behavior. JD puts it this way, “A Christianity that does not have as its primary focus the deepening of passions for God is a false Christianity, no matter how zealously it advocates righteous behavior” (pg. 11)
“The Gospel Prayer” as Greear refers to it makes up the balance of the book’s content. I have to admit that when I first read this, the skeptic in me said, “Here we go again with one of those religious genie prayers.” You know what I mean: the ones we are told to pray every day and God will bless us, enlarge our borders, give us money, houses, cars or iPads….well, you get the idea. Anyway, I sighed.
I am glad to say that JD is not trying to sell any “Religious Aladdin Lamps” with this prayer. What he is trying to do is awaken within us a fresh desire for understanding the Gospel as the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and what it means to walk with God. He divides the prayer into four distinct parts and deals with each extensively. I will simply give you the concepts and some key quotations.
The Gospel Prayer
- “In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.”
“My identity and my security are in God’s acceptance of me given as a gift in Christ.” (pg. 55)
- “Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy. “
“Awe combined with intimacy is the essence of Christianity.” (pg. 91)
- “As You have been to me, so I will be to others.”
“Those people who really believe the gospel become like the gospel.” (pg. 113)
- “As I pray, I’ll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.”
“What would your prayers look like if you believed that the cross really was the measure of God’s compassion for someone?” (pg. 172)
My take-a-ways from the book are simple:
- Salvation is based on what Jesus did and not what I do.
- The same grace that saved me, sanctifies and keeps me.
- Living the Gospel means treating others with the grace I received.
- I need to stop measuring God’s love and power by me.
I hope I have not over simplified what my friend JD wrote. His writing was practical and I feel he has clarified some wonderful truths about our relationship with God, other believers and a lost world through the Gospel.
I recommend this book to you and encourage you to pass it on to those in your sphere of influence. It is engaging, encouraging and equipping.