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|image from cslewisinstitue.org|
"And that brings us again to the paradox. Of all men, we hope most of death; yet nothing will reconcile us to---well, its unnaturalness. We know that we were not made for it; we know how it crept into our destiny as an intruder, and we know Who has defeated it. Because Our Lord is risen we know that on one level it is an enemy already disarmed; but because we know that the natural level also is God's creation we cannot cease to fight against the death that mars it, as against all those other blemishes upon it, against pain and poverty, barbarism and ignorance. Because we love something else more than this world,we love even this world better than those who know no other."
“On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more. On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall. Death is, in fact, what some modern people call “ambivalent.” It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.”
“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” -- from The Last Battle
|Me, Mom and J-man in Geneva, October 2007|
Grace is not only the means of gaining the salvation achieved by Christ's death and resurrection, it is also the means of living the Christian life. In discussing everything from the error of the Judaizers, to the work of the Spirit, to the role of the Law, to the profundity of the believer being adopted as a child of God, Keller ties it all back to the complete sufficiency of Christ's work and the utter folly of trying to improve upon. As Keller memorably puts it, "you can't add to Christ without subtracting Christ. He is either all [our] value or He is without value." Furthermore, Keller does a great job of translating the situation of Galatians, which revolves around discussions of potentially unfamiliar subjects such as circumcision and food laws, into terms more accessible to a modern audience, such as the threats posed by social/racial divisions in the church or the dangers of unflinching adherence to non-essential cultural and theological distinctives. On the latter, Keller does not hesitate to sound a word of caution for his own Reformed tribe, observing that championing justification by faith alone does not always protect against relying on good doctrine as a source of salvation. In Keller's treatment, Galatians is hardly relegated to the record of religious debate from millennia past; rather, it is supremely practical and relevant to readers in our own day (and all others).You might think: We covered this in Chapter One of this book! And we did - but this letter, in its structure as well as its content, shows us that the gospel of grace underpins every step of the Christian life. Paul will keep coming back to it; so should we, in our lives, our prayers, our thoughts, our preaching and teaching.