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Saturday, March 24, 2012

"Gospel Wakefulness" (Jared C. Wilson)

TITLE: Gospel Wakefulness
AUTHOR: Jared C. Wilson
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012, (224 pages).

What is gospel wakefulness? It is essentially the gospel waking us up to our calling. Our spiritual future depends on it. Our mission to change the world stems from it. In fact, how we all wake up to the gospel for our lives will prevent us from the futile path of becoming all things to all people. We will not be easily distracted by the presence or the absence of 'booming growth.' We will avoid the arguments about religions or non-religiosity. It is essentially allowing an unchanging gospel to change our perspective so that we can change the world. For the gospel is power. It is saving faith. It is not entertainment but transformation of ordinary lives like you and me.

For Wilson, gospel wakefulness is likened to how Eastern Europe wakes up to their potential with the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is beyond rhetoric toward an earth-shattering moment of truth. In fact, Wilson continues to describe this throughout the book. It comes through as salvation in Christ. It comes through a spiritual conversion. It comes alive through the many acts of Jesus in the gospels. Gospel wakefulness is about a spiritual orientation around Jesus, just like how the planets in the solar system circle the sun. He points out 11 factors that demonstrate an absence of gospel wakefulness.

  1. Lack of interest in the gospel;
  2. Taking everything personally
  3. Worrying about what others think
  4. Majoring on minors
  5. Impatience
  6. Trouble seeing fruits of the Spirit in us
  7. Little interest in God's Word
  8. Cannot forgive
  9. Too controlling
  10. Others are worse sinners than yourself
  11. Centrality of the gospel makes no sense.
On and on, Wilson drums in the nuances of gospel wakefulness.
  • It is being alive in worship, where good works and good worship inform each other
  • It is a zeal energized not by a desire to payback, but a desire to give joyfully.
  • It is not spiritual laziness due to fear of legalism in the law, but adopting spiritual rhythms in the demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit.
  • It is a journey toward sanctification
  • It recognizes that sometimes in our spiritual journey, we encounter deep depression and discouragement. In times like these, it is being able to see the bigness of God during the struggle.
  • It is being confident in the gospel, without being fearful of the world
  • It is beyond simply saying, "All I need is Jesus."

There are four reasons why the gospel needs to be central.
  1. We are easily forgetful people
  2. The gospel alone has the power to save
  3. The gospel is of first importance
  4. The gospel glorifies God

Indeed, the word 'gospel' has become such a familiar word that we take it for granted. We tend to assume that we know what it means and what it stands for. The truth is, we are less aware of what it is. Books like this is a reminder for all to take the gospel seriously, and to live it out powerfully without additives or gimmicks. The gospel is not merely the old story in a new world. It is a story and a powerful reality that continues to renew us and the community of God around the world. Finally, the gospel is something that happens to us, and not something for us to make it happen. Chances are, for many of us, we simply need to wake up our sleepy moods. There is much to be done.

Banish spiritual lethargy and sleepiness about gospel matters by reading this book. Learn again what it means to be awake to the gospel, and be awakened.

Ratings: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Crossway Publishers and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated.

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