EP Books, 128 pages, £6.99
Star rating : 3
The author has written simply, clearly and warmly, explaining well the basics of what is a key, perhaps the key, principle of NT theology: grace — God’s unmerited favour in Christ towards undeserving sinners.
He divides his subject into three clear sections: Grace Remembered, Grace Received and Grace Reapplied. In a brief 127 pages, he shows the biblical basis and works out for us some of the practical implications of living by grace, using illustrations as well as the biblical text.
He shows us that Christian living by grace involves avoiding both legalism (thinking we can somehow earn God’s favour by what we do) and lawlessness (the idea that since we are saved by grace, we can safely ignore God’s moral teaching and live pretty much as we like). There is a helpful chart (p.111) comparing and contrasting the two dangers.
Josh Hooker does what many others do not. He tells us near the beginning for whom primarily he has written this book: ‘for those who have been Christians for a number of years, but still only vaguely understand the Bible’s teaching on grace’ (p.13).
He may think there are many in that position and he is probably right. But, while the book may well be a cure for those in that condition, it might also be good preventive medicine for newer believers.
One omission is in the books and music he recommends. There is nothing recommended that has been written before the late 20th century. Not wishing to dismiss what is good in more recent material, there are treasures from the past that have stood the test of time and have much to offer us in our contemporary quest to understand and experience the grace of God in its fulness.
Having said that, this is a helpful and winsome book and may serve as either cure or preventive medicine in our day, where we all find ourselves in such need of ‘grace to help in time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16).