Title: Galatians for You
Author: Timothy Keller
Publisher: The Good Book Company
Publishing Year: 2013
My Rating: 5 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)
Galatians for You is an apt title for this new commentary by Tim Keller. In this short book Keller unpacks a great deal of thought-provoking doctrinal content and challenging personal application of said content. It is incredibly easy to read and can be understood by new and old Christians alike. Tim Keller, like R.C. Sproul, possesses that unique gift of having a highly-intellectual mind and the ability to communicate to the common man. This is seen best in the appendix concerning the New Perspective on Paul.
In this book in particular, Dr. Keller unpacks Paul’s epistle to the Galatians. The key issue at stake here is nothing less than the gospel itself. Anyone familiar with Tim Keller realizes his passion for this subject. Anyone who reads this book walks away with a clearer understanding of just what the gospel is.
The reader is also warned against the counterfeit gospel (which is not a gospel) of legalism. Keller defines legalism as “looking to something besides Jesus Christ in order to be acceptable and clean before God.” (page 54) In contrast, “In the gospel we discover that trusting in Christ brings God’s full and complete favor and approval. When He sees the believer, He sees Jesus (3:25-27) – and so He says to us, ‘With you I am well pleased’ (Mark 1:11). God is pleased with us.” (Page 34)
Whenever I think of Galatians, my mind goes back to a Sunday school flannel board with pieces of fruit pressed against it. These are fruits of the Spirit which I am supposed to have or cultivate if I am a true Christian. So, I especially found pages 151-157 extremely helpful in interpreting this concept of fruit bearing in light of the gospel. Keller is quick to remind us that real fruit is gradual. In other words, it grows over time. An apple doesn’t just merely appear out of thin air. The fruit of the Spirit grows as well as the Holy Spirit does His sanctifying work within us over time. Keller also reminds us, “Our approval and welcome from the Father rests not on our character or actions, but on His. We are free to acknowledge where we have given up ground to the sarx in our lives; free to confess where we have not sought to keep in step with the Spirit; free to realize where we have confused our gifts or natural abilities with the fruit of the Spirit.” (page 155)
This book is a gift to the church. Buy it; use it; give it to a friend. I think new Christians in particular will find it most helpful. But, really, anyone who is struggling with legalism and is therefore having difficulty seeing the gospel for what is would benefit from this work.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
You can purchase a copy for yourself here.