Living Confidently in God’s Unfailing Love
Grace is amazing because it is God’s provision for when we fall short of His standards. Unfortunately, too many of us embrace grace for our salvation but then leave it behind in our everyday lives. We base our relationship with God on our performance rather than on His love for us, even when we intuitively know that our performance cannot earn us the love we so desperately crave.
Isn’t it time to stop trying to measure up and begin accepting the transforming power of God’s grace? The product of more than ten years of Bible study, Navigator author Jerry Bridges’s Transforming Grace is a fountainhead of inspiration and renewal that will show you just how inexhaustible and generous God’s grace really is.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ All of God’s Grace
Few people have done a mighty work of shaping my view of Christian faith and theology like the late Jerry Bridges. This book originally was written in 1981 and it still packs a strong punch of sound biblical teaching on grace alongside a healthy view of progressive sanctification. Jerry Bridges is most known for his book, The Pursuit of Holiness, but this book, Transforming Grace is a work of great value as well. The whole crux of the book is an answer to the question; now that we are saved by grace, how do we live the Christian life? Countering the view that somehow grace is not needed or unnecessary for the daily Christian’s life, Jerry points us back to grace as fundamental to our life on Earth.
In fleshing out what it means for the law of God to remain in effect for the Christian today, Jerry does an excellent job at explaining the difference between legalism and grace. He writes, “Under a sense of legalism, obedience is done with a view to meriting salvation or God’s blessing on our lives. Under grace, obedience is a loving response to salvation already provided in Christ, and the assurance that, having provided salvation, God will also through Christ provide all else that we need.” There is a change of reason or motive for following God’s moral commands when one operates under grace. No longer is the moral law a law which only condemns us but it is a moral guide, wisdom for the right path. Christ’s love compels us to love God through following his moral commands. This view of law brings freedom and relief to the Christian, not pushing us toward merit keeping obedience.
Jerry gets to the heart of sanctification in his chapter entitled Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace. He writes, “Sometimes we think of salvation as more like a sports coat and a pair of slacks. We think God gives us the sports coat of justification by His grace, but we must “buy” the slacks of sanctification by our own efforts. But salvation is like a suit. It always comes with the jacket of justification and the pants of sanctification. God never gives one without the other because both are necessary to have the complete suit of salvation. Sanctification in us begins as an instantaneous act of the Holy Spirit and is carried forward by His continued action in our lives.” (116) There is a very real sense where the believer must put to death deeds of the sinful nature and yet we don’t even do this activity by our own mental efforts. God’s work starts in election and ends in glorification for the Christian, and every step of the way God is working in and through him to conform him to the likeness of Jesus Christ.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Living By God’s Grace Every Single Day
This is the 2017 edition of Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges, which has an 8-lesson discussion guide included in the back for personal or group study. Being completely unfamiliar with Jerry’s work prior to picking up this book, I found it to be a very thorough and in-depth study of the principles behind living in grace, rather than simply being saved by grace but continuing to live in our own strength.
For anyone who has already read several (and I do mean several) books on the art of living everyday in God’s grace, there probably won’t be a lot of “new” information here – that’s in part because of the original copyright date of 1991 in the front of the book. But don’t let that deter you from reading it. If I had to recommend just one book on living in grace, this would be it.
Starting by discussing our own spiritual bankruptcy and why we need God’s saving grace, Jerry uses personal and scriptural stories to elaborate on how God’s saving grace is so overwhelming and why it needs to be at the core of our relationship with Him. However, as Jerry is quick to point out, this is not a book on God’s saving grace. That form of God’s grace is eagerly shared and seldom overlooked by Christians. Instead, the majority of Transforming Grace focuses on what it means to us, as Christians, to live everyday by God’s grace. How we should behave, treat others, and allow God’s wonderfully amazing grace to reflect in every aspect of what we do on a daily basis.
Focusing on the parables of the generous landowner and the unmerciful servant, Jerry lays out a blueprint for Christians to truly embrace God’s love and grace, while sharing it with their neighbors. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a book of checklists and legalism; in fact, it’s the exact opposite. It’s a book of finding and embracing God’s grace through your own personal walk with Him, rather than focusing on how the rest of the world perceives your relationship.
As stated before, I would recommend this book to any Christian who is seeking to understand more about God’s grace and how to live by grace on a daily basis. Unlike a lot of books on this subject, Transforming Grace is written for both men and women, and would be just as valuable to a new believer as a longtime follower.