Anticipating Gospel Wakefulness

Ever since Your Jesus Is Too Safe came out a while back, I’ve been gleaning much from Pastor Jared Wilson. He is a pastor in Vermont who clearly loves the gospel and allows it to profoundly shape his life and ministry.

His newest book, Gospel Wakefulness, will be out this fall.  Unfortunately, there isn’t an official preview of this book available yet.  Nevertheless, Google was its usually helpful self in generating a glimpse at the book. Here is a quote from an interview with Wilson:

Gospel wakefulness means treasuring Christ more greatly and savoring him more sweetly, and it results from beholding Christ powerfully in the gospel in a moment of utmost brokenness. It is, simply put, being astonished by the gospel and then living with that astonishment enduring. . . .  The only way to be astonished is to, in some way, see the glory of God in the gospel of Jesus. Many of us look at Jesus but don’t see this glory. (My friend Ray Ortlund says, “Stare at the glory of God until you see it.”) We can look without seeing, but we can’t see without looking, so the thing to do is to keep looking and don’t stop. We must fix our eyes on Christ. Some days in a variety of ways, brokenness will find us, and we want to be holding hands with Jesus when it does.

Then, here is a blog post by Wilson himself, showing how you can know if you’re not tuned into the gospel as you should be:

The purpose of this book [Gospel Wakefulness] is not to shake your assurance but to bolster it, and in doing so to invite you deeper into your own spiritual brokenness to find the glistening diamond-riddled cave of the gospel treasure. But if at this point you are scratching your head, stretching your faculties to understand what is meant by divine entertainment, transferred affections, gospel-centrality, and the like, allow me the tender ministry of pressing on your assurance like a doctor would a troublesome extremity. Allow the application of a diagnostic test.

The Scriptures do tell us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, so the aim of this diagnostic is not to shake your foundation, but to shake off whatever might not be of God that has been erected upon it.

Some signs you have not experienced gospel wakefulness:

1. The gospel doesn’t interest you—or it does, but not as much other religious subjects.
2. You take nearly everything personally.
3. You frequently worry about what other people think.
4. You treat inconveniences like minor (or major) tragedies.
5. You are impatient with people.
6. In general, you have trouble seeing the fruit of the Spirit in your life.
7. The Word of God holds little interest.
8. You have great difficulty forgiving.
9. You are told frequently by a spouse, close friend, or other family members that you are too “clingy” or too controlling.
10. You think someone beside yourself is the worst sinner you know.
11. The idea of gospel-centrality makes no sense to you.

That last diagnostic question raises what I call the “Catch-22” of gospel-centrality.
As a pastor I am frequently faced with questions, either from curious people or from temptation from the devil, about the durability of the gospel week in and week out. It is the centerpiece of my preaching, the central theme of my ministry, the heart of my life, and the joy of my tongue and pen. Occasionally I am faced with this question: Can it not get worn out from all that use?

Here is the Catch-22 of gospel centrality: Whether one “gets it” or not, the prescription for preaching and all of life is still the gospel. The critic of the one-note Johnnyism of gospel-centrality just doesn’t get it. But the gospel is versatile enough for those who do and don’t. And there’s the awesomeness of the gospel-centered life! Those who haven’t yet experienced gospel wakefulness can only do so by hearing the gospel, and those who have experienced gospel wakefulness don’t tire of hearing it!

Either way, the gospel is the answer. (HT)

Check more of Wilson’s wisdom by heading over to his blog, Gospel-Driven Church.

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