Son Bought and Spirit Brought

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What that means is though the Son has bought it, the Spirit has actually brought it. The Son has bought it, and the Spirit has brought it. It says, for example, in John 16, Jesus says, ‘The Spirit will come and take of mine and show me to you. He will glorify me.’ The Spirit’s job is to melt you under the truth.

Back in the old days, before we had wonderful glued envelopes, do you know how you sealed an envelope if you wrote it? What you had to have is you had to have a little piece of wax, right? You had to have a seal (usually a signet ring), and you had to have a flame. So you softened the wax with the flame, and what the flame did to the wax was it made the wax susceptible to the seal.

If you tried to put the seal on the wax without the flame, there are only two things that could happen. What? It could break the wax, or it could just leave only a superficial outline on the surface. But if the wax is changed, it’s softened by the flame, then the wax is susceptible, and it’s changed in the image of the seal. Now that illustration, transform it. The wax is your heart. The seal is the Truth, the Word of God, and the flame is the Spirit.

When I go to the Truth of God, and the Spirit is giving me access, do you see what happens? You can read about the power of God. If you just read about the power of God, without the influence of Spirit, you say, ‘Oh, God is powerful.’ Without the influence of the Spirit, all that can do is make a superficial impression on the top of you, but when the Spirit of God is there, you read about the power, and there’s access. The truth begins to shine. It begins to change you, and what happens is your heart develops courage.

When you read about his goodness, it develops peace in you. When you read about his forgiveness, it develops relief in you. You shake off your guilty fears. When you read about his forgiveness, it develops generosity and mercy in you. When you read about his holiness, it develops conviction of sin and humility in you. Don’t you see? Only when the Spirit of God is doing that do you see real access happening. Only then.


- Tim Keller

*Words found in Tim Keller’s 1989 Sermon, “Christ Our House”

Every Person Worships

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Thus every person, religious or not, is worshipping something – idols, pseudo-saviors – to get their worth. But these things enslave us with guilt (if we fail to attain them), or anger (if someone blocks them from us), or fear (if they are threatened), or drivenness (since we must have them). Guilt, anger, fear, and drivenness are like fire that destroys us. Sin in worshipping anything but Jesus – and the wages of sin is slavery.

- Tim Keller

Answered Questions

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If you want to be sure you are developing sound, thoughtful answers to the fundamental questions, you need at the very least to become acquainted with the teachings of Christianity. The best way to do that is to see how Jesus explained himself and his purposes to people he met – and how their lives were changed by his answers to their questions.

- Tim Keller


The Gospel and Its Results

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The gospel is not about something we do but about what has been done for us, and yet the gospel results in a whole new way of life. This grace and the good deeds that result must be both distinguished and connected. The gospel, its results, and its implications must be carefully related to each other – neither confused nor separated. One of Martin Luther’s dicta was that we are saved by faith alone but not by a faith that remains alone. His point is that true gospel belief will always and necessarily lead to good works, but salvation in no way comes through or because of good works. Faith and works must never be confused for one another, nor may they be separated (Eph 2: 8–10; Jas 2: 14, 17–18, 20, 22, 24, 26).

- Tim Keller


God Saves Sinners

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Ever since reading J. I. Packer’s famous essay introducing John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ, I have liked ‘God saves sinners’ as a good summary of gospel:

God saves sinners. God – the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son and Spirit; three Persons working together in sovereign wisdom, power and love to achieve the salvation of a chosen people, the Father electing, the Son fulfilling the Father’s will by redeeming, the Spirit executing the purpose of Father and Son by renewing. Saves – does everything, first to last, that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in glory: plans, achieves and communicates redemption, calls and keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies. Sinners –  men as God finds them, guilty, vile, helpless, powerless, unable to lift a finger to do God’s will or better their spiritual lot. 

- Tim Keller