Saturday, October 29, 2011
The Grace of God
Thomas Nelson, 2010
Source: Received a free copy from Booksneeze for an honest review.
Grace has long been a topic of fascination to me. "Amazing Grace" is my favorite song and I am so grateful to receive grace from God. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm good at extending grace to others...
I really liked this book and how it delved into some of the most famous stories of the Bible. Stanley presents them anew, embroidering and expanding on how the participants might have been feeling when they went through their trials and their triumphs. No matter how badly they failed at the task set before them by God, that did not disqualify them from receiving grace nor did it stop God from following the great promises He made. Stanley looks at figures from both the Old as well as the New Testament. I thought that was especially good because of the not uncommon view that the merciless Old Testament God is so different from the loving New Testament God. Stanley squares them as most definitely being the same! He also has a clever little chapter bridging the two different sections of the Bible and preparing the reader for another perspective.
Beyond the usual suspects like Abraham and David, I was especially thrilled to see a look at the woman at the well from John 4, which I have a special fondness for due to a conference I attended. She's probably my favorite personage in the Bible (after Jesus of course) and I always devour any writings relating to her.
Another aspect I appreciated was the emphasis on how grace cannot be earned; otherwise it is not grace! I still struggle with this, thinking if I read my Bible for an hour one day, it will make me more worthy of God as well as other wrong-headed thinking. I know I can't change my thinking overnight but I will continue to cling to this truth as I amend my behavior.