I have long touted the helpfulness of a message that Timothy Keller has preached on several occasions in one form or another which centers around the specific ways that change happens in the life of a believer through the gospel at work in us. (Though my favorite version is no longer online as audio, you can watch it as video here.) It may sound simple and awfully familiar, but when one tries to scratch below the surface to the specifics, such as how the gospel changes one’s issue with, say, anger, the working out of the connections can be difficult to conceive.

Along the same lines is the teaching found here in a quote from Tullian Tchividjian’s book:

It’s almost as if, for me, the gospel changed from something hazy and monochromatic to something richly multicolored, vivid, and vibrant. I was realizing in a fresh way the now-power of the gospel—that the gospel doesn’t simply rescue us from the past and rescue us for the future; it also rescues us in the present from being enslaved to things like fear, insecurity, anger, self-reliance, bitterness, entitlement, and insignificance (more on all this later). Through my pain, I was being convinced all over again that the power of the gospel is just as necessary and relevant after you become a Christian as it is before.

The Bible makes it clear that the gospel’s premier enemy is the one we often call “legalism.” I like to call it performancism. Still another way of viewing it, especially in its most common manifestation in Christians, is moralism. Strictly speaking, those three terms—legalism, performancism, and moralism—aren’t precisely identical in what they refer to. But there’s so much overlap and interconnection between them that we’ll basically look at them here as one thing… It shows up when behavioral obligations are divorced from gospel declarations, when imperatives are disconnected from gospel indicatives. Legalism happens when what we need to do, not what Jesus has already done, becomes the end game.

You can read the longer quotation from the book at Mbird.com’s “Jesus Plus Nothing Equals a Gospel Tornado.” 

Does “tornado” sound a little harsh? If you will dwell on the difference between what most of us naturally perceive to be the way to change and the way that the gospel should change us, then I think the analogy becomes increasingly accurate:  the gospel destroys our man-made solutions.

Are you willing to think differently about what changes us? Then, are you willing to delve deeply enough into the gospel to see it change you?