Book Report: Gospel Formed

Gospel Formed: Living a Grace-Addicted, Truth-Filled, Jesus-Exalting Life by J.A. Medders

How would you define “gospel?” The term has enjoyed a resurgence in Christian culture over the last few years; everybody’s talking about it. While this is an exciting trend, we can easily get muddled in Jesus jargon and miss the power clarity affords. What is the gospel, anyway? Isn’t it only for lost people? How does it affect our lives from Monday to Saturday? J.A. Medders has crafted an amazing resource for laying a theological foundation our hearts need so desperately. This isn’t just church talk: “The gospel of the kingdom goes into every nook and cranny of life; the reign of Christ extends to all its edges—food, sex, entertainment, Netflix, hobbies, books, everything.” Listen, friends, if you only read one book about the gospel this year, make it this one. It’s exciting, broad, and deep—much like the good news it champions.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

We need a big and accessible view of Jesus—the Lord of the cosmos who will bounce a kid on His knee and raise a friend from the dead.

A gospel-centered heart dances to the beat of a different exegesis. It looks for a crucified Galilean; it listens for echoes of “It is finished!”

Don’t dismiss other important truths—just keep the gospel as the blazing center of your theological solar system.

A Christianity filled with well-intended good advice, severed from the good news, is bad news and bad advice.

We learn our identity from earth-shattering, veil-tearing truths from that place called the Skull—ground zero of the gospel.

Please stop having quiet times … a sword is only quiet when it’s not being used.

His cross is deeper than we realize. It is deep enough to plunge through the bowels of hell and deliver the deathblow to our ancient foe. That’s the love of Jesus. He kills snakes and lifts up sinners—and He’ll carry us the rest of the way.

Despite the tons of highlights, my biggest takeaway from this book is J.A.’s right-now war against sin. He writes,

I’ve heard Christians say (and I know I’ve said it before too), “I’m waiting to be freed/released/saved from _________.” Is that truly biblical? I think the satanic forces conjured up that formula and have been peddling it in accountability groups since the nineties. Christians are not waiting to be freed from sin … Do not wait until Monday to repent and pursue godliness. Today belongs to the Lord; you may not have Monday.

Excuse me, those are my toes you’re stepping on! It’s so easy to excuse certain sins, right? Making tomorrow- promises instead of exercising the freedom Jesus bled to give me today cheapens His sacrifice and robs us all of who I’m meant to be in this moment. I can’t keep turning a blind eye to my favorite vices if Christ is really my chief joy. (Note: I’m not talking about legalism here—J.A. writes about that, too. But I shouldn’t be so willing to live in bondage when Jesus has purchased my total liberation. There’s no need to wait for a victory I’ve already been handed.)

Journaling questions include:

  • Where have I been running on the fumes of self-importance, self-will, or self-protection?
  • What especially blows me away about the God of the gospel?
  • How can I grow in showing my love for Christ’s bride, the church?
  • Which sins have I been trying to manage rather than massacre?
  • What kind of gospel preaching does my heart need?
  • How have I cobbled together a religious Franken-god? Why?
  • Which songs can I use to push back the darkness in and around me?
  • What tears still linger on my face? How will I bring them to the throne?
  • Have I been defining myself by my sin or by my Savior?
  • Where do I need to repent of having small thoughts of Jesus?

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