There are not many books out there that are so simple yet, so effective to change our understanding of the Gospel. The book is not a theological treatise on the subject of the Gospel. But, Tullian does bring the Gospel into the here and now, into the practical implications of what Jesus Christ has done for us. He helps us as Christians apply the Gospel to very difficult experiences in the Christian life. He constantly bring us back to the finished work of Christ in the gospel and brings out from the text that the Gospel is not just the spark that ignites the Christian life, but it is also the to keep us going and growing as Christians.
As stated earlier, the book is not a concise biblical theology, so there are weaknesses in how he presents justification vs. sanctification. I think Tullian has beautifully and powerfully by the scriptures explained to us the meaning and power of justification, but when he starts talking about sanctification he retreats back to root cause of our sanctification'justification'thus missing the point.
I like to remind myself and others that the only thing you contribute to your salvation and to your sanctification is the sin that makes them necessary. (Page 104)
I think Tullian misses the point here. In the letter to the Corinthians Paul shares with us a verse that helps us understand the nature of sanctification,
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10, ESV)
This verse teaches us that our sanctifications is Spirit powered, Gospel driven, faith fuelled, effort. We work and God works through us, I don't think our work is something that should be excluded from sanctification.
We do not have justification without sanctification, and we do not have sanctification without justification. Justification does play a role in our sanctification, but it is important that they are defined separately while remaining dependent on each other. The best way I have heard it put was, Justification is like a judge, who declares us just, and sanctification is like a surgeon, who operates on our insides and works on making us just.
Overall I do recommend this book. It presents the Gospel, it is full of lots of great quotes, and the books brought me into a deeper love for Christ and into a deeper appreciation for justification. I did really thoroughly enjoy the book and I will read it again and again, but for new believers I would encourage you to afterwards read a book on sanctification.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: 'Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.'