Just finished reading Max Lucado’s book Grace: More than we Deserve, Greater than we Imagine (kindle version). I don’t typically read Lucado’s book as they often strike me as a little wishy washy or fluffy. There were moments of that in this book, but not nearly what I expected.
What Lucado does is give one of the greatest pictures of what God’s grace is, how far it reaches, the goal that it has and that it always accomplishes what it sets out to do.
“Grace is God’s best idea,” Lucado explained in a statement. “His decision to ravage people by love, to rescue passionately, and restore justly – what rivals it? Of all his wondrous works, grace, in my estimation, is the magnum opus.”
In GRACE, Lucado asks deeper questions about grace, avoiding fishing for easy answers. “Have you been changed by grace? Shaped by grace? Strengthened by grace? Emboldened by grace? Softened by grace? Snatched by the nape of your neck and shaken to your senses by grace?” are just some of the questions he tackles.
As I said, Lucado paints a great picture, with a little fluff thrown in. But all in all this is a great book. It is incredibly quotable and I found myself highlighting a ton of things. The main point is that God’s grace is bigger than we thought, more forgiving than we can imagine.
I appreciated how he emphasized God’s adoption of us and the security that comes with salvation. Lucado has always seemed to straddle the fence on eternal security in other things I’ve read from him, but clearly came out on the side of “If saved, always saved.” He said, “On-and-off salvation never appears in the Bible. Salvation is not a repeated phenomenon. Scripture contains no example of a person who was saved, then lost, then resaved, then lost again. Where there is no assurance of salvation, there is no peace. No peace means no joy. No joy results in fear-based lives. Is this the life God creates? No. Grace creates a confident soul who declares, “I know who I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day” (1 Timothy 1:12).
Here are some things I highlighted:
- God’s grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. A white-water, riptide, turn-you-upsidedownness about it. Grace comes after you. It rewires you. From insecure to God secure. From regret-riddled to better-because of it. From afraid-to-die to ready-to-fly. Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off. When grace happens, we receive not a nice compliment from God but a new heart. Give your heart to Christ, and he returns the favor.
- Grace is God as heart surgeon, cracking open your chest, removing your heart-poisoned as it is with pride and pain – and replacing it with his own. Rather than tell you to change, he creates the change.
- Grace is everything Jesus. Grace lives because he does, works because he works, and matters because he matters.
- Grace is God loving, God stooping, God coming to the rescue, God giving himself generously in and through Jesus Christ. -John Stott
- Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace. And he raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens. He did this for those in Christ Jesus so that for all future time he could show the very great riches of his grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus. I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it. God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing (Ephesians 2:5 – 10).
- The fruit of grace: saved by God, raised by God, seated with God. Gifted, equipped, and commissioned. Farewell, earthly condemnations: Stupid. Unproductive. Slow learner. Fast talker. Quitter. Cheapskate. No longer. You are who he says you are: Spiritually alive. Heavenly positioned. Connected to God. A billboard of mercy. An honored child.
- When God looks at you as a follower of Jesus, he sees Jesus first.
- To sin is to state, “God, I do not want you to be my king. I prefer a kingless kingdom. Or, better still, a kingdom in which I am king.”
- Sin is not a regrettable lapse or an occasional stumble. Sin stages a coup against God’s regime. Sin storms the castle, lays claim to God’s throne, and defies his authority. Sin shouts, “I want to run my own life, thank you very much!” Sin tells God to get out, get lost, and not come back. Sin is insurrection of the highest order, and you are an insurrectionist. So am I. So is every single person who has taken a breath.
- We must start where God starts. We won’t appreciate what grace does until we understand who we are. We are rebels.
- God didn’t overlook your sins, lest he endorse them. He didn’t punish you, lest he destroy you. He instead found a way to punish the sin and preserve the sinner. Jesus took your punishment, and God gave you credit for Jesus’ perfection.
- We find it easier to trust the miracle of resurrection than the miracle of grace. We so fear failure that we create the image of perfection, lest heaven be even more disappointed in us than we are. The result? The weariest people on earth. Attempts at self-salvation guarantee nothing but exhaustion. We scamper and scurry, trying to please God, collecting merit badges and brownie points, and scowling at anyone who questions our accomplishments.
- If our understanding of grace is small, our confession will be small: reluctant, hesitant, hedged with excuses and qualifications, full of fear of punishment. But great grace creates an honest confession.
- To accept God’s grace is to accept God’s offer to be adopted into his family.
- To live as God’s child is to know. at this very instant, that you are loved by your Maker not because you try to please him and succeed, or fail to please him and apologize, but because he wants to be your Father.