Is the gospel the start of the Christian life? Something you “get” and eventually move on from? Or is the work of Christ and all its entailments—is our union with Christ something that you graduate from or delve deeper into?
Jared Wilson, like a lot of evangelicals, grew up unintentionally believing that the gospel was the starting point of the Christian faith; it was “for the evangelizing of unbelievers only, not for the already convinced” (Gospel Deeps, Kindle location 186). He missed the depths because of a truncated gospel that treated Christ’s work on the cross as a transaction—a one-time event, rather than a life-time pursuit.
But this ought never be our mindset as Christians. The depths of the gospel ought to overwhelm us with awe even as it challenges us in how we live in the day-to-day. Gospel Deeps is an attempt to capture and pass on that sense of wonder as Wilson examines the many facets of the gospel and the “infinite excellencies”of Jesus.
A Matter of First Importance
Wilson argues with passion and conviction that this kind of dwelling in the gospel isn’t a nice-to-have; it’s not something that’s good for some and not for others. No, standing in awe of Christ is of first importance:
We must get this. And we have to understand that not getting it is not just an informational “miss.” Venturing into the depths of the gospel—seeing Christ’s accomplishment (the gospel’s content) and what is accomplished by his accomplishment (the gospel’s implications)—is vital to better knowing and loving God. When we miss the depths of the gospel, we hinder our worship. In reflecting on how the good news of Jesus creates the people of God, Paul cries out, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Rom. 11:33). (Kindle Location 254)
This truly is essential to grasp when reading this book or else you’ll be incredibly frustrated. In fact, those who prefer books offering ten steps, four keys, or three principles of being more gospel-centered will be infuriated by Gospel Deeps. Wilson just doesn’t go there. Not once.
Instead, he examines the many facets of Christ’s work in a way that (ought to) stir your heart. He wants you to be excited about the unceasing depths of Jesus; to see every aspect with renewed wonder and joy.
Which, if you want to get technical, is the ultimate in application.
The Sin of Boredom
Perhaps the most shocking quotable (and one that we desperately need to hear in our attention-span-of-a-gnat-on-a-sugar-rush culture) is the truth about boredom with the faith: ”If Christ is true, then boredom is a sin” (Kindle Location, 1335). Wilson continues:
When we are bored, it can be only because we have stopped looking at Jesus. He can’t be boring. If we find him boring, it’s because we are boring. The deficiency is ours, not his. (Kindle location 1338)
You know how it’s tempting to look at a book like Leviticus or Numbers and assume because they’re legislative and filled with censuses, they’re skippable.
But reading both with an eye fixed on Jesus opens them up–you see the wonder of God’s grace in offering us Christ’s righteousness and the sheer amazingness of that same righteousness when you realize that Jesus kept every single rule recorded there.
Shouldn’t that blow all our minds?
And yet it seems like so many of us continue in this pattern unabated. We leave our Bibles untouched for days, weeks, even months, seemingly never realizing all that we’re missing out on. We treat reading of all God has done and continues to do as a “have to” and thus become inoculated to the wonderousness of the fact that we get to. Our affections and our expectations are too small.
We worship a God whose wonders we will marvel at for eternity, because eternity cannot exhaust his wonders. We’ve got a ten-dimensional Jesus in a heaven so heavy our thin space can’t conceal it much longer; it must crash into this world. Maranatha! (Kindle Location 3363)
With unrestrained excitement about the gospel, Wilson offers readers a challenging, engaging and provocative look at the myriad excellencies of Christ. Read this book and let it stir up your affections for Jesus.
Title: Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus
Author: Jared C. Wilson
Publisher: Crossway (2012)