By E. Brown
It’s something we all want. It’s something we all need. It’s something we have difficulty extending to others, especially those who have hurt us.
I have read several theological books on the grace of God over the years and I have to say this is one of the better books. The writing style and treatment of the topic will appeal to both church-goers and non-church-goers; both lay-people and lay-leaders.
While many equate the biblical Old Testament with God’s wrath and the New Testament with God’s grace, North Point Community Church senior pastor and author, Andy Stanley, does an excellent job of demonstrating God’s grace as a continuous theme from the beginning of creation up to our current day.
In The Grace of God, there is plenty of good news for those who have adopted a distorted view of the Bible and Christianity. Unfortunately, many who claim to follow the teaching of Christ have often been the source of these distortions. An adherence to rules-based religion and the demand for others to adhere becomes the main road block for most people outside the faith.
You’ll be glad to hear:
- God initiated a relationship with his people even before he told them what the rules were.
- Grace is not reserved for good people; grace underscores the goodness of God.
- God didn’t give the law to make us good. He gave the law to expose our sin.
- Receiving grace is often easier than dispensing it.
Some of the chapters to highlight are:
In the Beginning Grace – “In the beginning God created, and this was a marvelous act of grace. But that was just the beginning.”
Redeemed By Grace – “The Ten Commandments do not stand in contrast to grace; they are introduced within the story of God’s grace.”
Accepted By Grace – “The story of Jesus is the story of God drawing near to those who had pulled away by sin and were subsequently pushed away by the self-righteous.”
Although the book is only 214 pages (paper back) it is composed of bite-sized chapters and subsections which make it easy to read. However, do not be surprised if you find yourself often pausing after you have read a portion of a chapter to consider the principles and implications of those principles.
Many may read this book and have a hard time digesting the content. What-abouts are sure to abound. Grace can seem like a slippery slope – easy to take advantage of and abuse. But, to add anything to grace no longer makes it what it is. Like Stanley says, “Perhaps it is this tension that has driven churches and Christians through the centuries to add and subtract from grace. There’s something in most of us that screams, It can’t be that easy! But as much as we want to qualify grace, it can’t be qualified.”
It’s not humanly rational. It’s almost irrational. I guess that’s why it is often called amazing. It’s not our grace – it’s the grace of God.
Comment below with you thoughts on this topic or the book.