IVP, 128 pages, £7.99
One of the encouraging trends in recent years has been the number of books on the greatness of God’s grace in the gospel. I am personally grateful for this, as, in spite of my acceptance of it, in practice I easily lose sight of and always need to be reminded of this grace.
Grace transforming is another addition to these books. The author is Philip Ryken, who is now president of Wheaton College and was, prior to that, senior minister at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. The book’s chapters began as a series of addresses at Wheaton College chapel, given during his first year as president.
He explains that he wanted to emphasise grace in these early messages because ‘Wheaton is a performance-orientated place’ and, for this reason, he told his surprised student audience, he ‘didn’t know of a college anywhere in the world that needs the gospel more than Wheaton does’!
The result is a heart-warming reminder of the riches of God’s grace lavished on us in Christ Jesus. The author begins by reminding us of our desperate need for God’s grace. This need is not something we leave behind after we have become Christians.
Paul urged his newly converted hearers to ‘continue in the grace of God’. As Ryken puts it, ‘the gospel is not just the way into the Christian life; it is the way on in the Christian life’, and ‘the gospel is for Christians every bit as much as it is for non-Christians’.
In other chapters, the author considers: the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in impoverishing himself to enrich us; the amazing truth of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone; the transforming power of grace, so that all true holiness is our response to grace; the perspective grace gives us on our view of ourselves —a deep humility and deep confidence; the sufficiency of God’s grace in the trials of life; the passion we should have to share this wonderful message with others; the hope we have that God will show us more of his grace until we reach our eternal home. ‘And then, after that, he will show us more and more of his grace forever’.
Grace transforming is a strengthening and encouraging book.