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The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers

The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers

Eric Weiner

Perhaps there are people in your life in whom you’ve wondered - What do they think of me? I mean, do they really like me?

In fact, I have no doubt there are people like this in our lives. This doesn’t mean we are lock-tied or waiting on hand and foot for their approval. Just that we value these certain individuals. We love them and want them to affirm that they love us in whatever way they are able to show it. And let’s be honest, some people offer more clarity in their love than others.

But what about God? What does He think of us? I mean, of course, we know that He loves us. But what does He truly think of us, sinner-and-all? Surely, we deserved His just wrath and praise Him that He has satisfied His judgment at the cross. But even today, we deal with indwelt sin or present trial. So how do we massage out our personal guilt while trying to embrace the fullness of God’s grace in Christ for us on a daily basis? Or, how are we to notice God’s tenderness and nearness in the face of present suffering when it very much feels like He’s forgotten?

But maybe we wouldn’t wrestle so much with these ongoing tensions if we truly knew the heart of Christ, which is precisely what Dane Ortlund’s new book - Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers is all about.

Leaning on the writings of the Puritans and pastor-theologians like Spurgeon and Edwards, Ortlund takes us through the Old and New Testaments as he invites us to consider the surprising revelation that the heart of Christ is gentle and lowly in nature (Matt. 11:29).

Honestly, there’s so much to love about this book. Each chapter is compact and accessible, which nicely matches the tone and content of the book. Meaning you don’t need a degree in Christian theology for it to flood your heart with joy in Christ. And what’s more, to stand, confounded, by His joy in you. Yes, read that last clause again because it’s true!

That is why I believe this subject is an essential matter for the Christian, and yet one that is so infrequently covered at-length like it deserves.

Gentle and Lowly has literally brought me to tears considering what it means that God yearns to show His love toward me. To know the heart of Jesus for me - that, as Ortlund says, “Out of his heart flows mercy; out of ours flows reluctance to receive it.” And so, in our reluctance, “The Bible takes us by the hand and leads us out from under the feeling that his heart for us wavers according to our loveliness.”

Meaning we don’t need to cajole God to love us because to do that which excites the heart requires no cajoling. And for God, what is most readily available, what naturally flows out of His heart is His being gracious and merciful.

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