Daily Keller

~ Wisdom from Tim Keller 365 Days a Year

Daily Keller

Worthy of All Glory

People often try to fill their hearts with the danger of what they are doing. You can tell yourself, ‘If I keep doing this it will cause problems for me.’ That may be true and could be good ‘smelling salts’ to get you to recognize your problem. But if that’s all you say to your heart, it effectively bends the metal of your heart but doesn’t really soften and permanently reshape it. The motivation is ultimately selfish and only brings short-term change.

We need to go deeper to the only lasting way to change our hearts — take them to the radical, costly grace of God in Christ on the cross. You show your heart the infinite depths to which he went so that you would be free from sin and its condemnation. This fills you with a sense not just of the danger or sin, but also of its grievousness. Think about how ungrateful it is, think of how your sin is not just against God’s law but also against his heart. Melt your heart with the knowledge of what he’s done for you. Tremble before the knowledge of what he is worth — worthy of all glory.

– Tim Keller

*Words Found in Redeemer Report, “Change and Grace: Part 3”, June 2013

Rising to the Level of Disagreement

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The Reason for God, Tim Keller

I commend two processes to my readers. I urge skeptics to wrestle with the unexamined ‘blind faith’ on which skepticism is based, and to see how hard it is to justify those beliefs to those who do not share them. I also urge believers to wrestle with their personal and culture’s objections to the faith. At the end of each process, even if you remain the skeptic or believer you have been, you will hold your own position with both greater clarity and greater humility. Then there will be an understanding, sympathy, and respect for the other side that did not exist before. Believers and nonbelievers will rise to the level of disagreement rather than simply denouncing one another. This happens when each side has learned to represent the other’s argument in its strongest and most positive form. Only then is it safe and fair to disagree with it. That achieves civility in a pluralistic society, which is no small thing.

– Tim Keller

Don’t Waste Your Sorrows

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Tim Keller

How you respond to the troubles in your life will go a long way toward whether or not you ever, ever, ever develop courage, ever develop patience, ever develop compassion, ever develop sobriety and humility, ever develop any of those things. Don’t waste your sorrows.

– Tim Keller

*Words found in Tim Keller’s 1990 Sermon, “Passive Discipline”

What Jesus Demands

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Encounters with Jesus, The Grieving Sisters, Tim Keller

Jesus demands a radical response of some kind. You could denounce him for being evil, or you may flee from him because he’s a lunatic, or you can fall down and worship him for being God. All of those reactions make sense; they are consistent with the reality of his words.

But what you can’t do is respond moderately. You must not say to him, ‘Nice teaching. Very helpful. You are a fine thinker.’

– Tim Keller

Destroying Pride and Fear

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Center Church, Tim Keller

The gospel destroys pride, because it tells us we are so lost that Jesus had to die for us. And it also destroys fearfulness, because it tells us that nothing we can do will exhaust his love for us.

– Tim Keller

Wonder of Wonders

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Tim Keller

The big difference between a person who believes they’re a sinner saved by grace and a person who believes God has accepted them through their own efforts is if you have a moralistic, religious person, you say, ‘Are you a Christian?’ They say, ‘Well, of course. Why do you ask? Sure, I am. What do you mean? Aren’t you?’ You know?

If you ask a person who understands they’re holy and dearly loved, completely out of free grace, what they’re saying is, ‘Yeah, me a Christian, what a joke. Me? A Christian.’ There’s always a wonder or a playfulness. There’s an eternal surprise whenever you think of yourself, and you’re saying, ‘Me, of all people, a Christian? But it’s true. How could that be? Isn’t a joke? Isn’t it the great joke? Isn’t it the big Joke, with a capital J?’ Yet it’s true. Absolutely true. There’s a playfulness about Christians. There’s a wonder in them.

– Tim Keller

*Words found in Tim Keller’s 1989 Sermon, “Finding Our Identity in Christ — Part 3”

Devoted to Justice

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Generous Justice, Tim Keller

Recently there has been a rise in books and blogs charging that religion, to quote Christopher Hitchens, ‘poisons everything.’ In their view religion, and especially the Christian church, is a primary force promoting injustice and violence on our planet. To such people the idea that belief in the Biblical God necessarily entails commitment to justice is absurd. But, as we will see, the Bible is a book devoted to justice in the world from first to last. And the Bible gives us not just a naked call to care about justice, but gives us everything we need—motivation, guidance, inner joy, and power — to live a just life.

– Tim Keller

Trusting in Yourself

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The Insider and the Outcast, Tim Keller

Religious people constantly talk about trusting in God — but if you think your goodness is earning your salvation, then you are actually being your own Savior. You are trusting in yourself. And while you may in this case not be committing adultery or literally robbing people, your heart will increasingly be filled with such pride, self-righteousness, insecurity, envy, and spite that you make the world a miserable place to live for those around you.

– Tim Keller

Faithful and Just

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The Two Advocates, Tim Keller

In the early days after becoming a Christian I first heard of this idea that Jesus Christ somehow ‘intercedes’ for me before the Father. I got this out of the book of Hebrews, where Jesus is depicted as our great high priest who stands before the Father for us, as priests in the Old Testament did for the people. When I first heard the idea of Jesus Christ representing me before the Father, it made me think of him going before the throne like this: ‘Good morning, Father, I represent Tim Keller. And my client, I admit it, is having a very, very bad week. He’s broken three or four promises he made to you. He has broken several of your laws that he knows and acknowledges. He has sinned a lot this week. He deserves to be punished— but cut him a break, please, Father? For my sake? I really ask that you give him another chance.’ That’s how I imagined him speaking. And I also imagined the Father saying in reply, ‘Well, all right. Okay. For you, one more chance.’

Now the trouble with that imaginary scenario is that Jesus does not have a case. He is simply pleading for another chance. And I remember thinking, ‘I wonder how long even Jesus can keep that sort of thing up?’ I wondered when the Father would finally say, ‘That does it! I’ve had it!’ But my imagination was ill-informed. It is not sufficient for a lawyer to just resort to tugging on the heartstrings of the jury or the judge, or to try to delay the verdict, or to appeal to technicalities. The lawyer doesn’t need spin or emotional manipulation — but a real case. And that is just what Jesus has.

What is his case? John goes on to tell us in 1 John 2: 2. First, he says, ‘He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.’ When Jesus goes before the Father he is not actually asking for mercy for us. Of course it was infinitely merciful of God to send Christ to die for us, but that mercy has now been granted, so Jesus does not need to beg for it. 1 John 1: 9 says that ‘if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.’ Notice it does not say that if Christians confess their sins God forgives because he mercifully gives them another chance. No, it says he forgives because he is faithful and just. To not forgive us would be unjust.

– Tim Keller