Tuesday, April 24, 2012

By Grace Alone by Sinclair Ferguson

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

Grace. As Christians we sing about it. We talk about it. We may even preach about it. But do we understand it? Do we comprehend it for the true gift of God that it really is? When we become Christians, many times we are overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the grace God has extended to us to forgive us our sin, but even a year later, are we still so speechless when we think about the mercy that was extended to us?

In this book Sinclair Ferguson takes the hymn “Oh How the Grace of God Amazes Me” and transforms this hymn into a short but powerful book reminding as well as instructing us about what a powerful gift was given when we were forgiven.

Within the seven chapters are an amazing amount of truth that all Christians should be reminded of from time to time. I think this would make an excellent book for a small group or Sunday School class to go through, or even a new convert class because isn’t a large part of Christian maturity growing in knowledge and living out the grace of God in our lives?

Within seven chapters, Rev. Ferguson presents in a very readable style the theology behind grace. The book begins with the chapter “My Chains Fell Off” and concludes with “True Freedom” and the chapters in between cover the theology behind grace, how it applies to us, and how we can live it out.

One of the most powerful statements to me in the book is the amazement that religious people often have when they realize they are not a Christian. I know that’s true in my own life, and a number of people were shocked to find out that I was not a Christian in years past. I was certain I was, and others were sure as well. When I discovered grace, it made me wonder how I never realized that I was not a Christian because grace was so powerful it didn’t compare to anything else I had ever experienced while doing religious things.

My favorite chapter was “True Freedom”. This chapter discusses sanctification as a process of growth. The way it is explained is that if we are Christians we are slaves to Jesus Christ. We aren’t slaves to sin because we have been set free from slavery to sin. Now we just need to live out that truth. This was an amazing revelation to me because so often I would like to have a checklist of things I do and don’t do, but that’s not how we receive grace. Grace is freely given, and all we have to do is receive it. While many things can help us grow in the knowledge of God, we can’t earn grace. It is right there for us.

I have a friend at church who we always discuss what we are currently reading. I explained this book as “So powerful I would actually make myself stop reading so I can absorb the truth in it.” I highly recommend this book to every Christian, pastor and layman, as this book is a readable account of the amazing gift Christ gave to us.

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