Keller on Idolatry and Gospel Preaching

“So if the root of every sin is idolatry, and idolatry is a failure to look to Jesus for our salvation and justification, then the root of every sin is a failure to believe the gospel message that Jesus, and Jesus alone, is our justification, righteousness, and redemption…

Our failures in actual righteousness… generally come from a failure to rejoice in our legal righteousness in Christ.  Our failures in sanctification come mainly from a lack of orientation to our justification.  We will never change unless we come to grips with the particular, characteristic ways our hearts resist the gospel and continue their self-salvation projects through idolatry.

Those who preach and counsel for gospel renewal should constantly speak about underlying idols, which show us our hearts’ particular, characteristic ways of failing to believe the gospel.  To do so will prevent people from trying to solve all problems and make all changes through moralistic behaviorism, which leads to insecurity, suppressed anger and guilt, and spiritual deadness.  Instead it keeps the focus on the gospel and the work of Christ.”

Timothy Keller “Center Church



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