In the 1746, Jonathan Edwards wrote Religious Affections (See my Review) – one of the most significant books ever written. Edwards’ thesis is plain: “True religion, in great part, consists in holy affections.” Gospel Wakefulness by Jared C. Wilson explores similar themes. His thesis is a complement to Edwards: “Gospel wakefulness means treasuring Christ more greatly and savoring his power more sweetly.” The author maintains that gospel wakefulness not an optional add-on to the fabric of the Christian life; Rather it is an essential aspect of vital Christianity. Exactly what does gospel wakefulness do? Wilson explains: “Awe. Transfixion on Christ. Confidence in him. Humility. Assurance. Transformed worship. New affections. Stronger hope and clearer peace in moments of grief and pain. Assassination of idols. Quicker conviction, quicker repentance. Acts of generosity and service. Unity with brothers and sisters. Deeper love for God and deeper love for neighbor.” In the remainder of the book, Wilson continues to unpack the beauty of the gospel diamond and presents practical ways for gospel wakefulness to become a reality in the lives of God’s people.
Wilson’s work should be celebrated for its Christocentric presentation of the gospel. He delivers a death-blow to legalism and invites Christ-followers to the radical pursuit of a holy God. He uncovers the biblical reality of progressive sanctification: “We cannot continue to treat the gospel as if it is the power of God for a conversion experience but not for total life transformation.” Gospel Wakefulness is a welcome addition to a growing number of books devoted to the gospel.