It’s been said that justice is when we get what we deserve. Mercy is when we don’t get what we deserve. And grace is when we get what we don’t deserve. Best-selling author and pastor Max Lucado explains in his new book how Grace is “more than we deserve and greater than we imagine”. In what is being hailed as his best book yet, Max does an incredible job at beautifully portraying God’s gift of Grace through Christ and the radical transformation that believers can have by living in the presence of this awe inspiring and mysterious gift. In a line that captures the book’s tone, Max writes, “Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance. Grace threw him a party” (p. 72).
Each chapter opens with a big idea epigraph that is fleshed out through that topic’s writing. In addition, numerous Scriptures and encouraging quotes from theologians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth, St. Augustine, John Stott, C.S. Lewis and A.W. Tozer offer a thought provoking and reflective introduction to each section.
Some of my favorite chapters include chapter four “You Can Rest Now”, a discussion on God’s provision and the Israelites exodus from Egypt; chapter five “Wet Feet” which gives an account of Christ taking on the posture of a servant and washing the disciples feet; and chapter seven “Coming Clean with God” where confession is addressed using the example of King David and his infamous bad decisions.
Other insightful and stirring topics include Max’s beer cravings and the hypocrisy he felt, the difference between sustaining grace and saving grace, and the astonishing response of an Amish community that experienced a school shooting massacre in 2006.
Through numerous Bible passages, Max shows how grace is found in God’s generosity, and not his grading system of human merits. It is “by grace we have been saved through faith not of our own doing” (see Ephesians 2:8).
Familiar stories highlighted include Paul’s thorn in his side, Ruth and Boaz, the woman caught in adultery, Zacchaeus and the sycamore tree, Jacob’s late night wrestling match, and Joseph imprisonment resulting from the advancements of Potifar’s wife.
Throughout the book run themes of forgiveness, new identity, generosity, Christ’s service, Kingdom adoption, and eternal security.
Max concludes with a powerful paragraph summarized here in a few of his closing sentences on grace: “More verb than noun, more present tense than past tense, grace didn’t just happen; it happens. Grace happens here. The same work God did through Christ long ago on the cross is the work God does through Christ right now in you” (p. 150-151).
In addition there is a “Readers Guide” at the end, equipped with questions to consider and Bible passages to follow along with and mediate on. The Readers Guide is perfect for personal study or to use in a small group setting and is a great tool for grasping the gift of grace from God and learning to live in His transforming grace every day.
I received a copy of Grace free from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.