30+ quotes from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters by Timothy J. Keller

Quotes from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters

Timothy J. Keller ·  240 pages

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“When people say, "I know God forgives me, but I can't forgive myself," they mean that they have failed an idol, whose approval is more important than God's.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves. Joy-based repentance makes us hate the sin.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“If you want God's grace, all you need is need, all you need is nothing. But that kind of spiritual humility is hard to muster. We come to God saying, "Look at all I've done," or maybe "Look at all I've suffered." God, however, wants us to look to him - to just wash.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“As many have learned and later taught, you don't realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“When anything in life is an absolute requirement for your happiness and self-worth, it is essentially an ‘idol,’ something you are actually worshiping. When such a thing is threatened, your anger is absolute. Your anger is actually the way the idol keeps you in its service, in its chains. Therefore if you find that, despite all the efforts to forgive, your anger and bitterness cannot subside, you may need to look deeper and ask, ‘What am I defending? What is so important that I cannot live without?’ It may be that, until some inordinate desire is identified and confronted, you will not be able to master your anger.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“God's salvation does not come in response to a changed life. A changed life comes in response to the salvation, offered as a free gift.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“Have you heard God's blessing in your inmost being? Are the words, "You are my beloved child, in whom I delight" an endless source of joy and strength? Have you sensed, through the Holy Spirit, God speaking to you? That blessing- the blessing through the Spirit that is ours through Christ- is what Jacob received, and it is the only remedy against idolatry. Only that blessing makes idols unnecessary. As with Jacob, we usually discover this only after a life of "looking for blessings in all the wrong places." It often takes an experience of crippling weakness for us to finally discover it. That is why so many of the most God-blessed people limp as they dance for joy.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“People "at the top" are eager to attribute their position to their own intellect, savvy, and hard work. The reality is much more complicated. Personal connections, family environment, and what appears to be plain luck determine how successful a person is. We are the product of three things- genetics, environment, and our personal choices- but two of these three factors we have no power over. We are not nearly as responsible for our success as our popular views of God and reality lead us to think.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“The text says that when the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, _he_ loved her. God was saying, 'I am the real bridegroom. I am the husband of the husbandless. I am the father of the fatherless.' This is the God who saves by grace. The gods of moralistic religions favor the successful and the overachievers. THe are the ones who climb the moral ladder up to heaven. But the God of the Bible is the one who comes down into this world to accomplish a salvation and give us a grace we could never attain ourselves.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“If you want God's grace, all you need is need, all you need is nothing.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“As many have learned and later taught, you don’t realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“If we look to some created thing to give us the meaning, hope, and happiness that only God himself can give, it will eventually fail to deliver and break our hearts.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give. Idolatry functions widely inside religious communities when doctrinal truth is elevated to the position of a false god. This occurs when people rely on the rightness of their doctrine for their standing with God rather than on God himself and his grace. It is a subtle but deadly mistake…. Another form of idolatry within religious communities turns spiritual gifts and ministry success into a counterfeit god…. Another kind of religious idolatry has to do with moral living itself… Though we may give lip service to Jesus as our example and inspiration, we are still looking to ourselves and own own moral striving for salvation…. Making an idol out of doctrinal accuracy, ministry success, or moral rectitude leads to constant internal conflict, arrogance and self-righteousness, and oppression of those whose views differ.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“An idolatrous attachment can lead you to break any promise, rationalize any indiscretion, or betray any other allegiance, in order to hold on to it. It may drive you to violate all good and proper boundaries. To practice idolatry is to be a slave.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“God saw Abraham’s sacrifice and said, “Now I know that you love me, because you did not withhold your only son from me.” But how much more can we look at his sacrifice on the Cross, and say to God, “Now, we know that you love us. For you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love, from us.” When the magnitude of what he did dawns on us, it makes it possible finally to rest our hearts in him rather than in anything else.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“If you get married as Jacob did, putting the weight of all your deepest hopes and longings on the person you are marrying, you are going to crush him or her with your expectations. It will distort your life and your spouse’s life in a hundred ways. No person, not even the best one, can give your soul all it needs.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“Money cannot save you from tragedy, or give you control in a chaotic world. Only God can do that. What breaks the power of money over us is not just redoubled effort to follow the example of Christ. Rather, it is deepening your understanding of the salvation of Christ, what you have in him, and then living out the changes that that understanding makes in your heart—the seat of your mind, will, and emotions. Faith in the gospel restructures our motivations, our self-understanding and identity, our view of the world. Behavioral compliance to rules without a complete change of heart will be superficial and fleeting.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“Now I know that you love me more than anything in the world.” That’s what “the fear of God” means.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“If you marry someone expecting them to be like a god, it is only inevitable that they will disappoint you. It's not that you should try to love your spouse less, but rather that you should know and love God more.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“When you see him dying to make you his treasure, that will make him yours.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“If we are deeply moved by the sight of his love for us, it detaches our hearts from other would-be saviors.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“People who have never suffered in life have less empathy for others, little knowledge of their own shortcomings and limitations, no endurance in the face of hardship, and unrealistic expectations for life. As the New Testament book of Hebrews tells us, anyone God loves experiences hardship (Hebrews 12:1-8).”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“Why didn't Jacob simply refuse to go along with this bold, obvious swindle? Again, Robert Alter's insights are invaluable. When Jacob asks, 'Why have you DECEIVED me?' the Hebrew word is the same one used in chapter 27 to describe what Jacob did to Isaac. Alter then quotes an ancient rabbinical commentator who imagines the conversation the next day between Jacob and Leah. Jacob says to Leah: 'I called out "Rachel" in the dark and you answered. Why did you do that to me?' And Leah says to him, 'Your father called out "Esau" in the dark and you answered. Why did you do that to him?' His fury dies on his lips. He sees what it is like to be manipulated and deceived, and he meekly complies with Laban's offer.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“If you want God’s grace, all you need is need, all you need is nothing. But that kind of spiritual humility is hard to muster. We come to God saying, “Look at all I’ve done,” or maybe “Look at all I’ve suffered.” God, however, wants us to look to him—to just wash.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“The reason for our confusion is that we usually read the Bible as a series of disconnected stories, each with a “moral” for how we should live our lives. It is not. Rather, it comprises a single story, telling us how the human race got into its present condition, and how God through Jesus Christ has come and will come to put things right.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“La persona que usa el dinero para servir a un ídolo profundo como el del control, a menudo se sentirá superior a las personas que lo usan para alcanzar el poder o la aprobación social. Sin embargo, en todos los casos la idolatría del dinero esclaviza y distorsiona vidas. En cierta ocasión, otro pastor de mi iglesia aconsejó a un matrimonio que había tenido graves conflictos sobre su administración del dinero. La esposa consideraba que su marido era un avaro. Un día, el pastor estaba hablando a solas con el marido, que se quejaba amargamente sobre lo manirrota que era su esposa. “¡Es tan egoísta, gasta tanto dinero en ropa y en su aspecto!” Entendía claramente cómo la necesidad de su esposa de estar atractiva para otros influía en su uso del dinero. Entonces, el pastor le expuso el concepto de ídolos profundos y de superficie. “¿Se da cuenta de que por no gastar o dar nada, al guardar cada céntimo, es igual de egoísta que ella? «Gasta» absolutamente todo en su necesidad de sentirse seguro, protegido, en tener el control”. Afortunadamente para el consejero, el hombre quedó más conmocionado que furioso. “Nunca lo había visto así”, dijo, y las cosas empezaron a cambiar en aquel matrimonio. Por este motivo, los ídolos no se pueden erradicar eliminando sencillamente los de superficie, como el dinero o el sexo. Podemos mirarlos y decir: “Tengo que quitarle importancia a esto en mi vida. No debo permitir que me controle. Lo detendré”. Los ataques directos como ese no funcionarán, porque a los ídolos profundos se los debe atacar en el nivel del corazón. Sólo hay una manera de cambiar en ese nivel, y es por medio de la fe en el evangelio.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“When love of one’s people becomes an absolute, it turns into racism. When love of equality turns into a supreme thing, it can result in hatred and violence toward anyone who has led a privileged life. It is the settled tendency of human societies to turn good political causes into counterfeit gods. As we have mentioned, Ernest Becker wrote that in a society that has lost the reality of God, many people will look to romantic love to give them the fulfillment they once found in religious experience. Nietzsche, however, believed it would be money that would replace God. But there is another candidate to fill this spiritual vacuum. We can also look to politics. We can look upon our political leaders as “messiahs,” our political policies as saving doctrine, and turn our political activism into a kind of religion.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“They had sacrificed everything to the god of success, but it wasn’t enough. In ancient times, the deities were bloodthirsty and hard to appease. They still are.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“It is a mistake to think that some of our impulses—say mother love or patriotism—are good, and others, like sex or the fighting instinct, are bad. . . . There are situations in which it is the duty of a married man to encourage his sexual impulse and of a soldier to encourage the fighting instinct. There are also occasions on which a mother’s love for her own children or a man’s love for his own country have to be suppressed or they will lead to unfairness towards other people’s children or countries.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


“si Dios se convierte en el centro de su vida, esto destrona al dinero y lo vuelve contingente. Si su identidad y su seguridad se encuentran en Dios, el dinero no puede controlarle mediante la inquietud y el deseo. Es una cosa u otra. O bien sirve a Dios o se expone a la esclavitud de Mammón.”
― Timothy J. Keller, quote from Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters


About the author

Timothy J. Keller
Born place: in Allentown, Pennsylvania, The United States
Born date September 23, 1950
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