- Tullian Tchividjian - http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian -

The Keys Are In Your Pocket

Posted By Tullian Tchividjian On December 13, 2012 @ 9:20 am In Uncategorized | 10 Comments

[1]On at least two occasions in the last year I’ve been late for a meeting or an appointment and haven’t been able to find my car keys. Certain that either my wife or one of my three children have misplaced them, I’ve frantically run from room to room blaming someone with misplacing my keys: “Has anyone seen my keys? I’m late for a meeting. Who was playing with my keys? I put them right here on the counter and now they’re gone. They didn’t just vanish into thin air! Who picked them up? Where are they? I’m late. ” And right about the time I’m ready to order mass executions in my home, I’ve walked into my bedroom one last time to look (huffing and puffing, moaning and groaning), put my hand in my pocket and found my keys. They’d been there the whole time.

Every time I tell that story, people laugh. And rightfully so. What forgetful moron falls prey to frantically looking for car keys that are in his pocket? Me. That’s who.

The truth is, however, that this is the way we Christians typically live: frantically and frustratingly searching for something we already have. The gospel is God’s good news announcement that everything we need we already possess in Christ. Because of Jesus’ finished work, Christians already have all of the justification, approval, significance, security, freedom, validation, love, righteousness, and rescue that we desperately long for, and look for in a thousand things infinitely smaller than Jesus.

Through the Holy Spirit, God daily delivers the gospel to forgetful Christian’s like me, declaring, “The keys are in your pocket.”

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10 Comments To "The Keys Are In Your Pocket"

#1 Comment By Paul St Jean On December 13, 2012 @ 9:54 am

My keys are securely on a belt and i still check to make sûre they are there

#2 Comment By David W. On December 13, 2012 @ 10:34 am

“Because of Jesus’ finished work, Christians already have all of the . . . love, righteousness, and rescue that we desperately long for”

So let me get this straight. Are you saying that after the moment of justification, the Christian cannot increase in love and righteousness?

#3 Comment By Tullian Tchividjian On December 13, 2012 @ 10:38 am

Hi David!

As the Bible makes clear, Christian growth happens not as we go out and get what we don’t have but as we come to greater grips with what we already do have in Christ (Col. 1:12-14). For instance, we live from approval not for it. We live from justification not for it. We live from love not for it.

I hope this helps.


#4 Comment By Justin Bell On December 13, 2012 @ 11:23 am

Great word. I love this. I have been so blessed by your gospel centered grace alone approach. Thanks for sharing.

#5 Comment By Ed Nugent On December 13, 2012 @ 11:26 am

Dave, how can I improve on Jesus and the righteousness that He gives to me (Rom 3)? I may grow and mature, but if these changes move me from my complete dependency on Christ’s righteousnesss in my place then I have believed the demonic lie that my righteousness comes from within rather than from Christ’s work for me.

Christians certainly can and do grow in love, obedience, knowledge, wisdom and joy (to name a few) but we do not “grow” in righteousness before God (coram deo). It helps to recognize the difference between active and passive righteousness when we talk about Christian growth. In the presence of God my righteousness is totally passive. That is earned by another (Jesus) and given to me by grace through faith. I cannot earn or improve on this gift righteousness because it is perfect. This is where the Christian rests.
Active righteousness is what the Christian practices in relation to his fellow man. We are to love our neighbors, serve our neighbors and we are to do it without thought of a return on investment. This is where the Christian works, and we have a lot of growing to do in this department!

If it were not for the fact that God is already pleased with me in Christ, I think I would give up on even trying to love my neighbor.

#6 Comment By Pam On December 14, 2012 @ 4:12 am

Most excellent word.

#7 Comment By theoldadam On December 14, 2012 @ 6:51 am

We are declared holy and righteous for His sake.

How could we possibly improve upon that? We can certainly mess it up, though, by thinking that we can.

#8 Comment By zee On December 14, 2012 @ 10:26 am

That’s good I like that analogy!

#9 Comment By Curt On December 14, 2012 @ 10:50 am

I don’t want to pile-on, but…

The Old Adam’s (mine, yours) righteousness isn’t reformable or improvable (filthy rags, excrement, etc.), Yes, it’s that bad. That’s why he’s gotta die. And in a way, that IS the death the Old Adam has to die. The fact that he brings nothing to the table re. his salvation is the death-blow.

Now, Jesus’ righteousness imputed in the new man, that’s a different story…

#10 Comment By Todd Van Voorst On December 17, 2012 @ 9:25 am

I am a “J” and inherently am attracted to boxes and lists and checking things off my list and my boxes. I have to frequently remember the “saved and sanctified” box is checked off by Christ’s life and sacrifice on my behalf. The keys are in my pocket. Beautiful example Pastor. Thank you for all you do and all that God does through you.


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