Tim Keller on Salvation

I have never found an explanation of repentance and faith as clear as this one.

What must we do, then, to be saved? To find God we must repent of the things we have done wrong, but if that is all you do, you may remain just an elder brother. To truly become a Christian we must also repent of the reasons we ever did anything right. Pharisees only repent of their sins, but Christians repent for the very roots of their righteousness, too. We must learn how to repent of the sin under all our other sins and under all our righteousness – the sin of seeking to be our own Savior and Lord. We must admit that we’ve put our ultimate hope in both our wrongdoing and right doing we have been seeking to get around God or get control of God in order to get hold of those things.

It is only when you see the desire to be your own Savior and Lord—lying beneath both your sins and your moral goodness—that you are on the verge of becoming a Christian indeed. When you realize that the antidote to being bad is not just being good, you are on the brink. If you follow through, it will change everything—how you relate to God, self, others, the world, your work, you sins, your virtue. It’s called the new birth because its so radical” - Tim Keller, The Prodigal God

We must repent not only of our evil ways, but also our good ways motivated by the wrong reasons. This kind of repentance results in good works.


Steve Martin said...

"All our righteous deeds are as filty rags."


Our good works maybe aren't so good.

Thabnks be to God that the Word (of law and gospel) leads us to repentance.

Steve Martin said...

Thanks be to God that God doesn't hold our bad spelling against us (for the sake of Christ Jesus!).

Steve Martin said...

Keller's explanation is good, and simple.

But here's another one that is also good, and even more simple:


In this explanation we have to DO..."nothing".

That's right...the word is "nothing".

J. K. Jones said...


We do something in one sense. We only do it because of the work of the Spirit, but it does come. We respond in faith. We live changed lives (although imperfect).

In the sense I think you mean, we do nothing. We do not contribute anything to our salvation that merits us anything before a holy God.


Steve Martin said...

Right, J.K..

We do nothing to gain faith, or salvation on our own.

Faith is a gift of God (the Bible tells us that), and salvation is totally by God's grace, alone (the Boble tells us that, too.

But after God calls and chooses us, then we do respond.

Search This Blog