Works Cited – The Advent of Humility by Tim Keller

In his sermon yesterday Tim quoted from the essay The Advent of Humility (Tim Keller). The bulk of the material he cited can be found below.

The entire essay may be downloaded for free at the Redeemer City to City website. Registration is required. The site provides access to dozens of articles like this one and offers an introduction to Redeemer City to City's work to "catalyze and serve a global movement of leaders who create new churches, new ventures, and new expressions of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the common good."

"There are two basic narrative identities at work among professing Christians. The first is what I will call the moral-performance narrative identity. These are people who in their heart of hearts say, 'I obey; therefore, I am accepted by God.' The second is what I will call the grace narrative identity. This basic operating principle is, 'I am accepted by God through Christ; therefore, I obey.'

People living their lives on the basis of these two different principles may superficially look alike. They may sit right beside one another in the church pew, both striving to obey the law of God, to pray, to give money generously, and to be good family mem¬bers. But they are doing so out of radically different motives, in radically different spirits, resulting in radically different personal characters.

When persons living in the moral-performance narrative are criticized, they are furious or devastated, because they cannot tolerate threats to their self-image of being a 'good person.'

But in the gospel our identity is not built on such an image, and we have the emotional ballast to handle criticism without attacking back. When people living in the moral-performance narrative base their self-worth on being hard working or theologically sound, then they must look down on those whom they perceive to be lazy or theologically weak.

But those who understand the gospel cannot possibly look down on anyone, since they were saved by sheer grace, not by their perfect doctrine or strong moral character.
Another mark of the moral-performance narrative is a constant need to find fault, win arguments, and prove that all opponents are not just mistaken but dishonest sellouts. When the gospel is deeply grasped, however, our need to win arguments is removed, and our language becomes gracious. We don’t have to ridicule our opponents, but instead we can engage them respectfully."



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