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5 Stars Out Of 5
Do not let this book sit idle...
September 29, 2012
In Gospel Deeps Jared Wilson displays the excellencies of Jesus found in the gospel so that we might marvel and revel at it as he unravels our shallow pretension to think that our need for the gospel ends at justification. Wilson argues that the inestimable depth of the gospel presses us to depend solely on Christ's good news kingdom message every day of our sanctified living. Wilson writes, "We like that our gospel gets our sins forgiven and gives us a ticket to heaven, but we're not sure of its functionality in our lives every day...We're content to keep the gospel at an elementary level, assuming that we graduate from it... (Wilson, 19)" Contrary to this line of thinking, Wilson argues, "The further into the gospel we go, the bigger it gets. There is no way for us to wear it out (Wilson, 20)." Later he says, "Venturing into the depths of the gospel - seeing Christ's accomplishment (the gospel's content) and what is accomplished by his accomplishment (the gospel's implications) - is vital to better knowing and loving God (Wilson, 21)."
Wilson guides the reader on a journey to uncover five primary ways the gospel of Jesus Christ is deep. He proffers that 1) the gospel's work is both personal and cosmic, 2) the gospel presents the fullness of God, 3) the gospel reconciles individuals to God, to each other, and us together to God, 4) the gospel saves us totally, 5) and the gospel reflects the multiple excellencies of Christ.
As I interacted with Jared Wilson's writing, my profound appreciation for his well thought out research and ease with communicating such a weighty discussion deepened along with my understanding of the gospel's depths. Wilson gracefully blends puritan pastoral insights (Thomas Watson) with contemporary scholastic giants (N. T. Wright) and adds a dash of solidly reformed thinking (Abraham Kuyper) with evangelical classical acumen (C. S. Lewis).
In the midst of recognizing Wilson's thorough research on what others have delved from the depths of the beautiful gospel, Wilson's astuteness ought be recognized as well.
Here are four gems among countless others that I appreciated from Jared Wilson as he acquainted me with the multi-faceted gospel:
1. When closing his discussion on the three-fold vision of the gospel, Wilson reveals how God being at the center of the gospel reinforces our great need to be focused on what is most central. He says, "Through the gospel we see God most clearly because it is himself God wants us most to see (Wilson, 58)."
2. Wilson sums up the concept of our freedom towards childlike play and enjoyment of God by pointing out that the gospel stands alone as providing peace and satisfaction for both today and tomorrow. Wilson shares, "Only the gospel frees me to enjoy things as they truly are and as they someday will be (Wilson, 91)."
3. In broadening our understanding of the gospel, Wilson imparts, "To know God better is to better know that eternity won't exhaust his knowability (Wilson, 132)."
4. Wilson divulges that since the scripture is the source of knowledge concerning the gospel, our study and commitment to the scriptures is imperative in order to fully understand the depths of knowing Christ. "Yet loving Jesus more and more requires looking at him as he is revealed in the scriptures more and more, beholding him Spiritually in a real sense of his transforming glory (Wilson, 186)."
If this introduction to Gospel Deeps has aroused interest in further reading, then I encourage you to visit Crossway's website here and order your copy of Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus. Do not let this book sit idle on a shelf, backpack or wishlist. Allow the insight from Gospel Deeps to uplift your heart to soaring heights as you drill into the depths of the gospel.
My friends at Crossway honored me with an advanced copy of this book a few months ago, for which I am very thankful. I would also like to thank Jared Wilson's kindness in interacting with me via e-mail to discuss this review.
View more book reviews by Joey Cochran at jtcochran.com.
I loved Gospel Deeps. I found myself drowning in the immensity and beauty of God and at the same time realizing I could breath under water. Wilson starts by setting the groundwork for the what of the gospel. He takes the ground and air (p. 34) approach like Matt Chandler. For the rest of the book he takes the kernel of the gospel and unpacks it skilfully and wonderfully. He demonstrates that although the gospel is small and simple enough for a child to understand, it's also big and complex enough for someone to dive into it's beauty for their entire life and never come to the bottom (pp. 24, 26-27). Says Matt Chandler in the foreward,
God is big, weighty, thick, immense. This is no cliche, although we could make it one. God is so big that to dwell on his immensity long enough could lead one into terror. In the display of his glory God is beyond overwhelming. We sense God's bigness in his interaction with [us]. (p. 11)
Wilson begins by roundly condemning the evangelical propensity to put the gospel in a box that "gets our sins forgiven and gives us a ticket to heaven" but "end[s] up missing its depth" (p. 19). He cries out "Woe to the flatteners of what is hyperspatial, multidimensional, intra-Trinitarian, and eternal in ways awesomer than â€˜one year after another'" (p. 30).
Wilson then moves forward taking each chapter to unpack one multifaceted diamond edge of the gospel. He moves from the gospel's threefold vision (1 Peter 2) to the God focus of the gospel to Christian hedonism ("The heart of God is vast, his grace is free, his gospel is exhilarating. Uncross your arms and unpurse your lips" p. 91) to our adoption (I loved pp. 154-55). It reminded me of riding a roller-coaster for the first time--slowly climbing that first hill. Then the drop takes your breath away. You think Nothing could be more wonderfully terrible than that and then you take that dropped, hair-pin turn, 360 almost slamming into a perfectly placed stone wall but you survive.
Wilson is quickly becoming one of my favorites writers. He writes plainly so that just about anyone could pick up this book and grasp it but there's also a depth to his words. He moves seamless in out of biblical & literary allusions and pop culture references. None of these are forced or pressured rather they enhance the topic at hand.
I can't recommend Gospel Deeps enough. I'm planning on re-reading it later this year just to digest everything a bit more completely. If you know someone who loves the gospel Gospel Deeps is your book. If you know someone who doesn't love the gospel enough Gospel Deeps is your book. Pretty much anyone who loves the gospel or doesn't should read this book. It will point you to Jesus and teach you to love him more. Can you ask for anything more?
There are times you finish reading a book and lament the time lost on that particular's author drivel. There are other times you finish a book and think well that was nice and move on never to remember it. There are other times when you think information will enhance my life in some way. There are other books you never really quit reading. I do not mean that you cannot finish the books rather I mean you never stop reading and re-reading it. I have heard Tim Keller say that he never knows how to answer when someone asks him how many times he has read Tolkien's works, because he has never stopped reading them. I feel like Wilson is that way for me. I had never heard of him before Gospel Wakefulness last fall. I purchased that book in late October, and by Christmas had read it 3 times. I have read it twice more this year and may read it again next month. I was able to obtain an early copy of Gospel Deeps in pdf form and will still purchase a physical copy when it comes out. The truths in this volume resonate with me that much.
If in Gospel Wakefulness Wilson showed us the width of the Gospel by driving home the point that the Gospel is much much more than just that which saves us as he taught us that the Gospel is also what sanctifies, then in Gospel Deeps Wilson becomes our Tumnus leading us into the vast expanse that is our reality as we grow in Gospel sanctification. Wilson does this on a very deep level but Gospel Deeps never reads as a Seminary text book rather Wilson is able to convey profound scriptural truth in a storytelling manner, often reverting to the language of Lewis and Tolkien to somehow portray the greatness of God.
I could go chapter by chapter and recap this work for you, but I do not want to rob you of the chance to read this work on your own. Read it and soak in the truth continually. It may be a book to only read once for you, but the truth in it is truth to never leave behind.
I received this book from Crossway Books for the purpose of reviewing it and am not required to post a positive review.