Wheaton: Crossway, 2011 220 pages$18.99
To follow Jesus and grow as aChristian, to give up all the world offers us, we must see the overwhelming value of the gospel and what God hasdone through Christ. We cannot truly change unless we understand the weight of the gospel in our lives. This is the focused message of Jesus+Nothing=Everything.
Tchividjian uses this formula as the backbone of the book; looking at each part, starting with everything and working to Jesus, then backtracking to talk through it all again. This means that he drives home his point effectively by giving us the time to digest what he is saying because we hear it again and again. The main thrust of the book is that our lives need to be gospel focused and centered and that it is only by gaining a deeper and richer understanding of what Christ has done that one can truly grow.
“The hard work of Christian growth, therefore, is to think less of ourselves and our performance and more of Jesus and hisperformance for us. Ironically, when we focus mostly on our need to get better,we actually get worse. We become neurotic and self absorbed. Preoccupation with our effort instead of with God’s effort for us makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective.”(95)
It is only when we believe and trust in the new identity that God has given us, through the life and work of Christ, that we can let go of our self and actually grow.
The natural question that arises from all this talk of grace is, “What about the law and the commands of God?” Tchividjian answers this way:
“Therefore, it’s the gospel (what Jesus has done) that alone can give God-honoring animation to our obedience. The power to obey comes from being moved and motivated by the complete work of Jesus for us. The fuel to do good flows from what’s already been done. So again, while the law directs us, only the gospel can drive us.”(192)
Considering this topic is foundational to the Christian faith, the author doesn’t expect hisbook to be exhaustive on the topic. He provides a list of twenty-six books on the gospel for further study. At the end of the book Tchividjian says, “So relax and rejoice. Jesus plus nothing equals everything; everything minus Jesus equals nothing.” This reminds us of what Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”(Matthew10:39 ESV)