Usually, grace only shows up when I've messed up. And then in that situation I'm hoping, or even pleading, for grace.
But is that Grace?
That is the question Andy Stanley opens up in his book, "The Grace of God." He begins where the world began, in the garden of Eden, and works through the Bible to the book of Acts pointing out what grace looks like.
He doesn't explain grace with a theological argument. He sets out some of his understandings of grace, but the book is about showing grace. So we read Bible story after Bible story and Andy Stanley offers commentary pointing out where grace was evident in the story.
It's a bit sad to me that in many of the stories where I was tempted to skip ahead because I've heard them countless times, my eyes were opened to see grace where I thought none was being shown. His point is that grace is offered by God in the beginning, and if we ask for it, beg for it, or deserve it, it is not grace. Our only response is to accept grace, to open our eyes to see it, to welcome it, and live differently in the way of grace.
That is the beauty of this book. After reading it I'm now looking to see grace: where God has shown me grace, and where I need to be offering it to others.
The book is a quick read. It's not long and not complicated. Another of his points is that grace isn't supposed to be complicated. I guess it's fitting that the book isn't either.
I was left struggling with who this book would be for. Certainly I, as a pastor and a longtime Christian, got something out of it. But I can't say that it changed my life. I do think he is wanting the church to wake up and be better known as a group that offers grace. I'm not sure enough was done in these pages to achieve that goal. Perhaps there is a followup book needed called: "The grace of God was given to you, now get off your but and go show some to others." I'm confident that says more about me than anything else.
I'm sure many will read this book and be encouraged, and some will read it and think he's missing the point. The author is aware of this and tries to address it in the conclusion. My hope is that, if people are struggling with grace they will continue to do so and not throw aside the thoughts presented here.
Andy Stanley offers some beautiful thoughts on an even more beautiful subject: grace. And all of this is to point us to God to one who offers grace. This is never supposed to be about us. It is all about God. And he is a God of grace.
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Labels: book reviews
Labels: book reviews