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A Brief Review: Gospel Wakefulness

This weekend I had the pleasure of reading Jared Wilson’s Gospel Wakefulness and one thought rose above others. How shall I explain this? Let me use a very limited analogy. When I finished Gospel Wakefulness I left thinking Wilson sounds like a guy who’s fallen in love.

This dude is dumbstruck. Ruined. Taken. Gone.

Surely you’ve either seen or been that kind of guy. You know, the one who’s so smitten he’s unable to keep quiet in the presence of anyone who happens to have ears attached to their heads – always talking about how incredibly “awesomer” this girl is than anyone he’s ever met. To ask him why is to be peppered with a thousand intricately detailed ways she’s perfect for him. And doing it all with this dopey “I’m head-over-heels” grin on his face that makes the immature giggle and those who know what it is to be in love with someone simply nod their heads in admiration.

Okay, as I said, analogies are limited by definition and the one I’ve made is no exception. Gospel Wakefulness has nothing do with dating Jesus or something weird like that. However, it does have to do with being ruined by love – a different kind of love that far outpaces anything between a man and woman. It’s about the love of God found in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. Gospel Wakefulness displays the beauty and wonder of being awakened to the glory and centrality of the gospel. To lean back on my fragile analogy, Wilson doesn’t so much talk about how to fall in love but what it looks like when you’ve already fallen. In other words, Gospel Wakefulness, in my opinion, isn’t about how to become gospel centered but, more so, what gospel centrality will do to you. And, as such, why would you pursue anything else?

Frankly, this is the book I don’t have to write. Not only do I see much of my journey to gospel centrality paralleling Wilson’s, but he’s done all the heavy lifting with his winsome spirit, grasp of gospel centrality, and flat-out literary skills. In other words, when Gospel Wakefulness arrived in my mailbox I quit working on my next book: How the Gospel Blows Our Minds, Enlarges Our Hearts, and Cannot Be Anything but Central in Our Lives. Fortunately, I was only one paragraph into it.

If Tim Keller, Bryan Chapell, and Ray Ortlund (among others) have been the logos of the modern-day movement for gospel centrality, you can list Jared Wilson among those as its pathos.

It is a pathos that served me deeply this weekend. For I must confess, the love of God in the gospel is ruining me as well. So it was no surprise that with each chapter of Gospel Wakefulness, I found my heart beating faster, my head shaking in awe, and yes, my face affixed with a dopey lovestruck smile. If anything, I’m grateful for Gospel Wakefulness pushing me further into being ruined. Taken. Gone.

…or as Wilson would say, awakened by the gospel!

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

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