The following are my favorite quotes from the book Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney.
“‘We never move on from the cross, only into a more profound understanding of the cross.’ The cross and its meaning aren’t something we ever master.” – page 17.
“‘My God, only You could show me what a wretched sinner I am and make it the greatest news I’ve ever heard!'” – page 20.
“The gospel cannot be preached and heard enough, for it cannot be grasped well enough…” – page 23.
“‘What we have in the Bible is Truth; it is not an emotional stimulus…and it is as we apprehend and submit ourselves to the truth that the feelings follow!’ When we focus first on truth, lo and behold, feelings follow! And they’ll be reliable feelings, because they’re anchored in truth.” – page 35.
“But if you trust your feelings first and foremost, if you exalt your feelings, if you invest your feelings with final authority–they’ll deposit you on the emotional roller coaster which so often characterizes our lives.” – page 36.
“. . . The Gospel and its events remain completely unaffected by whatever is agitating our emotions. The Gospel is objective fact.” – page 40.
“Men are opposed to God in their sin, and God is opposed to men in his holiness.” – page 59.
“Divine love triumphed over divine wrath by divine self-sacrifice.” – page 70.
“For when you’re deeply aware of your sin, and of what an affront it is to God’s holiness, and of how impossible it is for Him to respond to this sin with anything other than furious wrath–you can only be overwhelmed with how amazing grace is. Only those who are truly aware of their sin can truly cherish grace.” – page 88.
“‘Your sufferings are not so great as your sins” Put these two in the balance, and see which weighs heaviest.’ We can rejoice in our salvation even amid great affliction when we recognize how much worse we deserve because of our sins.” – page 105.
“Australian theologian Peter Jenson notes Paul’s significant use in this verse [Galatians 2:20] of the past tense–not that ‘Christ loves me’ as we might expect him to say, but that ‘Christ loved me.’ Paul ‘could not graduate beyond the Cross of Jesus as the source an power of his religion, as the place at which he gained assurance, as the demonstration beyond any other need of proof of the grace and love of God.'” – page 106.
“When the disciples returned to Jesus after a successful ministry trip and reported excitedly, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’ Jesus responded, ‘Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven [Luke 10:17-20].’ He wasn’t trying to minimize the joy one derives from ministry success. But He was drawing their attention away from that to primary joy–a joy that takes precedence over the experience of spiritual power. And that is the joy that comes from the gospel. . . .” – page 108.
“We change what God intends as a means of experience grace [spiritual disciplines] into a means of earning grace [legalism].” – page 115.
“. . . We’re hesitant to approach God. . . . We can’t escape the feeling that God disapproves of us. Our confidence is no longer in the gospel; it’s based instead on our own performance [legalism], and when that performance slides, so does our peace and joy.” – page 115.
“. . . Every passage of Scripture–in both the Old and New Testaments–either predicts, prepares for, reflects, or results from the work of Christ.” – page 143. Cf. Luke 24:27.
“The Spirit does not take his pupils beyond the cross, but ever more deeply into it.” – page 147.
“There’s no mantra we can learn, no catchphrase we can recite, that will move God’s hand. We appeal to Him based on the person and work of His Son.” – page 153.
Quotations inside the quotations:
David Prior, Message of 1 Corinthians: Life in the Local Church (Downers Grave, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 51.
Martin Luther, unknown source.
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Feelings” in Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965, reprinted 2001).
J.I. Packer, unknown source.
John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVaristy Press, 2002), 205.
Thomas Watson, The Art of Divine Contentment: An Exposition of Philippians 4:11 (Orlando, FL: Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, 2001).
Peter Jense, “The Cross and Faith: The Good News of God’s Wrath,” Christianity Today, March 2004, 45.
J. Knox Chamblin, unknown source.