Book Review—11/14/2011

 

Gospel Wakefulness, Jared C. Wilson, 2011, Crossway, Wheaton, Ill., ISBN 9781433526367, 224 pages, $15.99, softcover.

Through the pages of Gospel Wakefulness, Vermont pastor and blogger Jared C. Wilson asks the Church two fundamental (and nagging) questions: “Does anything capture your imagination, energy, and activity more so than the Gospel of Jesus Christ? If so, why?” The concept of Gospel-centrality is a growing movement in evangelical and reformed circles in recent years, and Wilson taps into this vein with an engaging description of just what it means to be apprehended by the message of salvation through grace alone by faith alone.

To this discussion, Wilson adds the idea of “Gospel wakefulness”, which he defines as “treasuring Christ more greatly and savoring His power more sweetly.” What he means by this is not some sort of “second blessing” after salvation, but a growing realization by the Christian of the sheer magnitude of the forgiveness of sins and the glory of God.

Within that framework, Wilson shares insights and stories (some his, some from friends and associates) of how the power of the Gospel fully realized impacts every aspect of a Christian’s life, from worship to good works to spiritual disciplines and spiritual growth. He shows how the Gospel message necessitates the destruction of our idols, changes how we view the people and things God places in our lives, and casts out fear.

Wilson is particularly prescient in his discussion of Gospel-driven sanctification, reminding us that the work of Christ does not end with conversion and that our growth in holiness is not primarily our task but His. He writes at the end of his chapter on sanctification, “Don’t…pursue righteousness by pursuing righteousness, per se, but by pursuing Christ. Seek first His righteousness. It is the only way to get yours.”

Wilson also offers a challenge to pastors to allow the Gospel to drive not just their personal lives but to lead their whole churches to a greater appreciation and application of the completed work of Christ. He argues passionately and persuasively that any other motivation for ministry will ultimately fail.

This is not an “innovative” book—Wilson is not selling something new here. Rather, he urges readers to return to their first love and to find within the wondrous work of Christ the source of their life and strength. His witty style and compelling testimonies bring a personal touch that helps his message resonate with Christians of all stripes, particularly those of the younger generation.

Justin Lonas

Target: All
Type: Christian Life
Take: Recommended

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