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The purpose of this series of blog posts is to change the world.  The culture of cool aloofness and negative scrutiny we have created is not the social environment the gospel creates.  The gospel of glorification (Romans 8:30) creates a culture of honor (Romans 12:10).  Nothing less will do, if we aim to surprise people that we actually know how to love in Jesus’ name.

Today I honor Paul Zahl.  Why?  Paul has an uncanny ability to articulate the message of divine grace in such a fresh way that it flies in under the radar and goes kaboom! right where we need it — applied to our real lives.  Not hanging out there in abstractions but right here, close up, where it starts making a difference.  The message of blood-bought grace for the undeserving is so clear in Paul’s preaching and writing that it is unmistakable, which is to say, uncommon but properly bold (Ephesians 6:19-20).

Here is a sample of Paul’s teaching from his Grace In Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life, page 41:

“Grace . . . is at the bottom of the house of cards that is human identity.  It is the ground floor of our striving after love.  When grace comes in, when it rewrites the script, when its light shines in the basement of the house that is ourselves, unbuilt to God, grace demolishes and creates.  It does what it promises.  Unlike the law, which produces the opposite of what it demands, grace succeeds.  It produces the fruit, to use the New Testament metaphor, of a law-congruent life.”

It also demands to be said about Paul that he, along with yours truly, is a true-hearted fan of the best music of all time, represented in small part here:


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2 thoughts on “I honor Paul Zahl”

  1. Ken Miller says:

    Careful, there boss. Posting things like this on TGC might get you in hot water. Before you know it, you’ll be one of the “hyper-grace” advocates and they’ll kick you off the site.

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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