Periodically I come across a book that grips my soul and takes my breath away. I am presently reading such a book and though not a lengthy book it is a meaty book that requires one to back up and read again. The book is titled Jesus+Nothing=Everything. The author is Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Coral Ridge, Florida. This is the church that was founded and pastor by Dr. D. James Kennedy up until the time of his death. Tullian is also the grandson of Billy Graham.
The book deals with all of the things that we Christians try to add to the pure simplicity of the Gospel. When the truth of the matter is that when Jesus said, “It is finished!” He meant it. There is nothing we can add to it, it is finished. No amount of effort on our part can ever enhance our position before God in Christ and if we offer up anything, even good things to show God our sincerity or good faith, this amounts to dead works on our behalf. How do you add to a finished work?
Tullian says, “Christian growth does not happen by first behaving better, but by believing better, believing in bigger, deeper, and brighter ways that Christ has already secured for sinners.” What does he mean?
What he means is that we simply need to truly believe what it is the Bible says that Christ has done for us. Such as, all of our sins have been atoned for, past, present and future. That Christ has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing. That in Christ and Christ alone we have already been redeemed made righteous, and sanctified. We do not have to work for any of these things but simply begin living in the truth of them by constantly reminding ourselves of them. If we are in Christ we can be no more acceptable to Him than we already are! Do you know that? Do you believe that?
Because we are naturally prone to look at ourselves and our performance more than we look to Christ and His performance, we need to be constantly reminded of the completed and finished work of Christ that has already been done in us. When we stumble we need to remember that Christ does not stand looking at us in disappointment. It is the enemy who whispers into our ears what losers we are. Christ wants us to know and to realize that there is now no condemnation in Him. He longs to pick us up, brush off the seat of our britches and show us how to walk in the victory that He has purchased for us.
Tullian also says, “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. We become neurotic and self-absorbed. Preoccupation with our effort instead of with God’s effort for us makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective.”
These are truths that the enemy does not want us to apprehend. He does not want us to fully understand the implications of the cross and the message of the gospel. His goal is to keep us wrapped in grave clothes, like Lazarus who was alive but still bound by the burial wrappings (John 11:44). Jesus has come to set the captives free. And he whom the Son makes free is free, indeed (John 8:36). “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).