Tullian Tchividjian|8:53 am CT

Only The Promise Produces

Mike Horton rightly warns against depending on “guidance technology” to put wind in our sails:

Like a sailboat equipped with the most sophisticated guidance technology, our Christian lives are often decked out with the latest principles for living, with spiritual guidance counselors telling us what will make life really work for us and our families. Oftentimes, brand new Christians sail out of the harbor under full sail, eager to follow the guidance system, making use of all the gadgets, enthusiastically listening to every fellow boater who has some advice to offer. Yet as many long-time believers know, eventually the winds die down and we find ourselves dead in the water. Then when storm clouds gather on the horizon, we discover that all of the guidance technology and good advice in the world cannot fill our sails so that we can return safely to the harbor. The equipment can plot our course, tell us that a storm is coming, and indicate our present location, but it cannot move us one inch toward the safety of the harbor. In other words, if we are looking for motivation in the Christian life, it cannot come from motivational principles; only the gospel fills our sails…While God’s wise directions are necessary, apart from the ever present word of promise that, despite our failures at sea, God is at the helm piloting us to safety, we will eventually give up on sailing altogether. Purposes, laws, principles, suggestions, and good advice can set our course, but only the gospel promise can fill our sails and restore to us the joy of our salvation.

The Gospel Driven Life, pg. 143-144


  1. Thanks for sharing. Another book added to my wish list.

  2. there is so much power in surrender. so much comfort in trusting His power. i love the Gospel and am so thankful it hunted me down. i was hellbent on row, row, rowing my boat violently up the stream. life was not a dream. it was a nightmare.

  3. I think ties in w/ this blog entry…
    …was reminded again today, that it’s His kindness, His goodness that leads us to repentance (to change our minds and attitudes) – not His judgement. The cross was where God’s justice and mercy perfectly met & He is not angry with us anymore. The penalty for sin was paid, completely, b/c of His perfect life, faith, blood and sacrifice. He did remember once, Jesus took it – “He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God in Christ”.

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Hello Pastor Tullian,

    For clarification sake does gospel promise here mean only my justification, or all the redemptive indicatives (including justification) that I possess by virtue of my Union to Christ (which includes all the benefits I have in Christ – New unchanging status, New heart & mind, New power to obey, New love, and New hope)? Personally the fact that God will inevitably finish what he started in me encourages me also to seek Him by His Spirit.

  5. Walter Flach, Geneva-CH

    Pastor Tullian,

    I have no comment to post, I leave that to others. I just listened to your today’s message online, something I have been doing for the last few years. And I cannot help falling at the feet of Jesus to thank him and praise him for what he has done for me what I could never do for myself.
    And I cannot help thanking you from the bottom of my heart for preaching this radical, outrageous, amazing and heart-changing Gospel of Grace to the world. It is my prayer that God may raise a new generation of Gospel preachers who understand the severity of the law and the unconditional nature of grace that alone sets the captives free from the crushing and enslaving burden of the do-more-try-harder messages that are unfortunately and tragically still rampant in evangelical circles all over the globe.

  6. Pastor
    …The promise is not something that we can attain;it is the gift that keeps on giving,the present that we open again and again. We need the gospel throughout our whole life “the Gospel Driven Life” Michael Horton pg 145

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