20 Quotes | Ortlund’s The Gospel

20 Quotes | Ortlund’s The Gospel

The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ (Crossway, 2014) by Ray Ortlund, Jr. is a fantastic little book. At Park City, we give copies out to people who are seeking formal membership at our church. We do this because we think Ray is absolutely right about the necessity of gospel-culture in our church community. We don’t simply want to affirm the gospel on paper, we want it to be evident in the beauty of our relationships.

Here are some of the quotes that stand out:

How many people in our cities are ex-Christians, and even strongly anti-Christian, because they went to church to hear “good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10) but it was drowned out by strife and trouble? (17)

A church with the truth of the gospel in its theology can produce the opposite of the gospel in its practice. (17)

The need of our time is nothing less than the re-Christianization of our churches, according to the gospel alone, in both doctrine and culture, by Christ himself. (18-19)

We accept that the truth of biblical doctrine is essential to authentic Christianity, but do we accept that the beauty of human relationships is equally essential? If by God’s grace we hold the two together—gospel doctrine and gospel culture—people of all ages will more likely come to our churches with great joy. It is more likely that they will think, “Here is the answer I’ve been looking for all my life.” (22)

Truth without grace is harsh and ugly. Grace without truth is sentimental and cowardly. The living Christ is full of grace and truth (John 1:14)…He will stretch us and make our churches more like himself, so that we can glorify him more clearly than we ever have before. (22-23)

A gracious church culture proves that Jesus is the Holy One who forgives sinners, the King who befriends his enemies, the Genius who counsels failures. (39)

You can consider Christianity either by earning a PhD in biblical studies, or simply by getting up a little earlier next Sunday morning and visiting a church. The gospel should be displayed most clearly in our churches. Therefore, how we “behave in the household of God” matters to everyone around us. (66)

A church should offer the world a counterculture, a living embodiment of the gospel. (67)

The beauty of human relationships in the church is itself an argument for the gospel…When the gospel is doubted, a beautiful church that sticks together is an unanswerable argument in our angry and divided world. (69)

When the gospel of Christ’s grace defines both the doctrine and the culture of a church, its members can safely confess and forsake sin. (73)

A faithful church…holds the gospel up for everyone to see and firms the gospel up as credible and solid. (75)

A gospel culture is harder to lay hold of than gospel doctrine. It requires more relational wisdom and finesse. (82)

[A church that embodies gospel culture] becomes a surprising new kind of community where sinners and sufferers come alive because the Lord is there, giving himself freely to the desperate and undeserving. (83)

We should pay careful attention to the intangibles of our churches—the feel, ethos, relationships, quality, and unspoken assumptions. They might not be in alignment with the gospel as closely as we desire. (84)

We can sincerely love the doctrine of God’s grace and, at the same time, unwittingly nullify that grace. Preserving the truth requires a culture where sinners can see the beauty of what we believe in a new kind of community. (89)

On Sunday, we walk into a new kind of community where we discover an environment of grace in Christ alone. It is so refreshing. Sinners like us can breathe again! It’s as if God simply changes everyone’s topic of conversation from what’s wrong with us, which is plenty, to what’s right with Christ, which is endless. He replaces our negativity, finger-pointing, and self-hatred with the good news of his grace for the undeserving. Who couldn’t come alive in a community that’s constantly inhaling that heavenly atmosphere? (91)

Eternal consequences hang in the balance in every gathering of the church, every Bible study, every personal conversation, every blog post. Heaven and hell are beginning to appear in people before our very eyes. (99)

If our purposes rise no higher than what we can attain by our own organizing and thinking, then we should change our churches into community centers. But if we are weary of ourselves and our own brilliance, if we are embarrassed by our failures, then we are ready for the gift of power from on high. (105)

If we fail to love one another in ways so striking that we actually start looking like Jesus, then the world has the right to judge that we know nothing of him. They might be wrong. We might indeed be Christians. But the world is right to dismiss unloving Christians as unchristian. Jesus himself gave them that right. (112-113)

Ray Ortlund is the president of Renewal Ministries, the pastor to pastors at Immanuel Church Nashville, and a canon theologian with the Anglican Church in North America. He is the author of several books, including the Preaching the Word commentaries on Isaiah and Proverbs and Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel. He is also a contributor to the ESV Study Bible. Ray and his wife, Jani, have been married for fifty years.

To purchase your own copy of Ortlund’s The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ, you can visit amazon, crossway, or anywhere where books are sold.