Daily Keller

~ Wisdom from Tim Keller 365 Days a Year

Daily Keller

Purifying Your Heart with the Gospel

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Tim Keller

Here’s how you know you’ve purified your heart with the gospel. You love other Christians without deceit, without hypocrisy, without envy, and without slander of any kind. That’s how you know. Let me put it a couple of ways. The reason love is the acid test of whether or not you believe the gospel is it is very possible to have both doctrinal purity and moral scrupulosity for other motivations and out of other forces besides the gospel.

It’s quite possible to be moral out of tradition, out of nostalgia, out of loyalty to your family, out of temperament, out of fastidiousness of conscience. There are all kinds of ways in which you could look at a person who’s very moral, and a person could say, ‘Well that proves that person is a Christian. That person really understands the message of Christianity.’ What Peter is saying here, and what the Bible says is no. A loving spirit is a far better acid test of whether you understand the gospel than moral scrupulosity.

– Tim Keller

 

The Claims of Jesus

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Tim Keller

The reason Jesus Christ has to argue, and the reason we have to show him arguing, is that not only in the Bible but ever since (and we all see it), when people come to Jesus Christ, they read his statements, they read his life, and they always try to take them and pour them into their existing assumptions about reality.

So people say, ‘Yes, Jesus Christ … basically he said what all the religions say: it’s all about love.’ Or, ‘Yes, Jesus Christ … basically he’s saying what all the philosophers have said: it’s really about living an unselfish life. It’s really about leading a life of character.’ Jesus Christ continually comes and says, ‘No, no, no. No one has ever said what I’m saying. No one has ever claimed the things I’m claiming.’

What he’s saying continually in here is ‘I demand you listen to me. I do not come into anybody’s live to revise or supplement or add to your current worldview. I come in to blast out all of your foundational assumptions. I demand to be the thing through which you see everything. I’m here to open up new vistas, new realms of knowledge. I’m here to explode your paradigms.’

– Tim Keller

 

What Do You Desire?

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Tim Keller

We never imagine that getting our heart’s deepest desires might be the worst thing that can ever happen to us.

– Tim Keller

Christmas Love

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Christmas, Tim Keller

C. S. Lewis put it like this,

‘Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.’

There is no way to have a real relationship without becoming vulnerable to hurt. And Christmas tells us that God became breakable and fragile. God became someone we could hurt. Why? To get us back. And if you believe this and take it into your life, you’re blessed. As you take in the truth of what he did for you—how loved and affirmed you are—you’ll be able to let down your defenses in your own relationships with other people. You won’t always need to guard your honor. You’ll be able to let down the barriers down. You’ll be able to move into intimate relationships with other people.

What is in the package of Christmas? His vulnerability for intimacy with us, which gives us the vulnerability to be intimate with the people around us. If you believe in Christmas—that God became a human being—you have an ability to face suffering, a resource for suffering that others don’t have.

– Tim Keller

Christmas and Suffering

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Christmas, Tim Keller

We sometimes wonder why God doesn’t just end suffering. But we know that whatever the reason, it isn’t one of indifference or remoteness. God so hates suffering and evil that he was willing to come into it and become enmeshed in it.

Dorothy Sayers wrote, ‘For whatever reason, God chose to make man as he is — limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death — he [God] has the honesty and the courage to take his own medicine. Whatever game he is playing with this creation, he has kept his own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that he has not exacted from himself. He has himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When he was a man, he played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace, and thought it was worthwhile.’

The gift of Christmas gives you a resource — a comfort and consolation — for dealing with suffering, because in it we see God’s willingness to enter this world of suffering with us and for us.

– Tim Keller

Incarnation

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Christmas, Tim Keller

Incarnation. If you understand the word incarnation, you’ll understand what Christmas is about.

Christmas is frankly doctrinal. The invisible has become visible, the incorporeal has become corporeal. In other words, God has become human.

This is not only a specific doctrine, but it’s also unique. Doctrine always distinguishes you. One of the reasons we’re afraid to talk about doctrine is because it distinguishes us from others.

Here’s why the doctrine of Christmas is unique. On one hand, you’ve got religions that say God is so immanent in all things that incarnation is normal. If you’re a Buddhist or Hindu, God is immanent in everything. On the other hand, religions like Islam and Judaism say God is so transcendent over all things that incarnation is impossible.

But Christianity is unique. It doesn’t say incarnation is normal, but it doesn’t say it’s impossible. It says God is so immanent that it is possible, but He is so transcendent that the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ is a history-altering, life-transforming, paradigm-shattering event.

– Tim Keller

*Excerpt from Relevant Magazine, “Why Christmas Matters” by Timothy Keller, December 2011