What are the marks of a heart that has been radically changed by the grace of God? If we trust in Christ, what should our hearts be like? It is not simply a matter of morally virtuous behaviour. It is quite possible to do all sorts of morally virtuous things when our hearts are filled with fear, with pride or with a desire for power. We are talking about hearts that have been changed, at root by the grace of God – and what that looks like in real life. So opens this brief 45 page book written by Tim Keller.
Expounding Paul’s discourse in 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7, Keller addresses the modern preoccupation with self-esteem. He analyses the way that both low self-esteem and high self-esteem have their roots in seeking the approval of man. Keller argues that true self identity is found from understanding that the only opinion that matters is Christ’s. The crucial difference being that in Christ the verdict is given before the performance! Paul is saying that in Christianity, the verdict leads to performance. It is not the performance that leads to the verdict.
Living in the security of this truth, Keller states, is the key to true humility:A truly gospel-humble person is not a self-hating or a self-loving person, but a gospel-humble person. The truly gospel-humble person is a self-forgetful person whose ego is just like his or her toes. It just works. The toes just work;the ego just works. Neither draws attention to itself.
Perfect freedom is found only when our sole concern is what Jesus thinks of us and that is grounded in the truth that ‘there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’