This one word says so much to so many and yet nearly defies an adequate definition. Beyond the definition itself comes a diverse set of understandings of its meaning depending on whom you speak with and what informs their knowledge and experience with the word. Many authors have written books, dissertations, and articles about it. Sermons on the subject abound.
When Jerry Bridges writes about grace, there is no question that the reader will experience a depth of riches to be mined. In Transforming Grace the reader will not be disappointed and will be challenged to examine whether or not he or she has fully embraced the gift it is. The challenge occurs at the outset in the preface when Bridges writes:
“When we think of grace, we almost always think of being saved by grace….But the Bible teaches we are not only saved by grace, but we also live by grace every day of our lives. It is this important aspect of grace that seems to be so little understood or practiced by Christians.
My observation of Christendom is that most of us tend to base our personal relationship with God on our performance instead of His grace.”
He continues the challenge and supports his premise through the next thirteen chapters of Transforming Grace. The book also includes a discussion guide at the end of the book that covers each chapter and works well for personal study, but preferably within the context of a small group.
At the foundation of the subject of grace, Bridges makes a point he will refer to throughout the book. The point is that most of us trust Jesus for the grace of salvation as though we declared temporary bankruptcy and now will unconsciously go back to a “works” or “performance” relationship with the Lord in our daily lives. We know we can’t get to heaven through our own efforts, but we can earn favor and blessings by our performance in our daily life thereafter. We can easily slip into living by performance and neglect the truth that we are and were permanently bankrupt.
We are nudged along in this fallacy by the Christian culture that reinforces this idea through what we are admonished to do. We all know the list. It includes regular church attendance, daily quiet times, Bible study, prayer, scripture memorization, witnessing to others, giving to missions, serving in ministry, etc. Bridges supports his premise with how often these very good things become a checklist of how well we are performing for the Lord and the follow-up belief that our “grade” suggests how much we will be blessed.
We lose track of the significant foundational truth about grace that our debt to God has been fully paid when we accept Him and “there is no possibility of going into debt again.” God doesn’t keep a chart to withhold or grant blessings based on our performance and yet many of us ease into living our lives as if we have a “works-plus-grace relationship with Him.”
That line of thinking (works + grace) can delude us into the false idea that we can somehow “obligate God by our obedience or our sacrificial service.”
If you have never read this book or if you have not read it for some time, this book can provide a great compass for the journey into 2018. There is much to digest that will nourish your relationship with the Lord and help you to rest in Him with greater assurance. I could share many quotes, but you will want to delve into this book and mine them for yourself so I will add only one more.
“You are loved and accepted by God through the merit of Jesus, and you are blessed by God through the merit of Jesus. Nothing you will ever do will cause Him to love you anymore or any less. He loves you strictly by His grace given to you through Jesus.”
To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.
19 thoughts on “Transforming Grace”
Looks like a great book for my ladies discussion group!
pam – i don’t see where to subscribe – I’m doing the blog party at Marilyn’s Treats.
Hmmmmm…..it used to be there on a tab at the very bottom of the home page. I just checked and don’t see it. If you could send me your email address, I will send you an invitation that you can then accept and I think that will do it. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Okay? (I will also sort out what the issue might be on the website….thanks for letting me know.)
Actually, if you had WordPress open to a site of your own, that will not allow the Follow tab to come up. If you open the site in another browser, you will find it on the right bottom of the homepage as soon as it opens.
Wow, this sounds like a book I need to read. I struggle with the vast meanings of the word grace. Thank you for sharing.
Oh, I love this book, Pam! It’s been a few years since I’ve read it, but I remember how much grace it filled me with. Truth: “But the Bible teaches we are not only saved by grace, but we also live by grace every day of our lives.” Amen! Thanks for sharing it.
Jerry Bridges is so rich! I’m glad they decided to bring it back again and add the discussion group materials to it! Blessings on your week!!
Thanks for sharing this review.
This past summer I did a Bible Study through the Life Lived Beautifully ministry called “Colossians: A study in grace” It was then that I realized like the author you quoted so aptly describes that I was putting grace in a box only connecting it with the moment of salvation. Oh what freedom there was for me when I started accepting God’s grace in every moment of my life and for letting that grace outpour to others.
This sounds like a great read.
Thanks, Karen! I think my experience on the subject of grace was similar until I read Jerry Bridges book, The Discipline of Grace, in 1998. I followed that up with Lewis Smedes’ book, Shame and Grace in 1999 and these two books brought me into the truth and scope of living by grace that somehow I never had seen (or frankly heard a sermon on). I have quoted from both of these books often and now Transforming Grace goes on my shelf with these other two. It is a great read and spurred me to write several posts on grace to flesh out more of what is written in the book.
Blessings on your day and relationship with Him!💕
This sounds like a must-read for me this year! Thanks so much for sharing the details.
I think you will find it rich reading!
Added this book and The Discipline of Grace book to my To Read list. Thanks for the review. I am thankful to be saved by grace and desire to live by grace every day!
I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the read. Take your time as you go through the book. It is still stirring in me and I am writing several posts this week related to the book and what it has stirred in me.
This looks like a fantastic and much needed book! Thanks for the recommendation, Pam. I just pinned it to add to my must read pile :).
It is indeed, Candace. I hope you enjoy and are blessed by it. I also loved his other book on grace, The Discipline of Grace. Have a blessed day!
Yes! It sounds as if Jerry is trumpeting the amazement of the Apostle Paul when he asks believers who were saved by grace why they are returning to a life of law following bondage!
You are very much on point, Michele! This is a great companion to his book, The Discipline of Grace. This one would be a great study for a small group…much to digest and consider together.
It sounds like a wonderful book that all of us should read. Thank you for sharing your review at The Really Crafty Link Party, and have a wonderful week!
It is one that I think is well worth digging into. I also love his book entitled The Discipline of Grace. Blessings and grace on your week ahead!💕