This month’s recommended reading is “Transforming Grace” by Jerry Bridges.
“Transforming Grace” is exactly that: it is transforming as it unfolds the message of God’s grace. If you struggle believing that God loves you or that God accepts you in Christ, then this is the number one book I would recommend.
The fear of rejection is a common fear for many of us. The bible identifies this anxiety as the “fear of man”. It is, of course, not a completely bad thing to desire for people to like us or accept us. It certainly would not please God if we gave no thought as to what others think. In the end, however, we simply are not able to please everyone, nor should all people always be pleased! Sometimes what they want is simply opposed to what God wants and what we should want. The bible frees us from this futile pursuit and to live to please God instead.
Ironically, Transforming Grace is not really about the fear of man. In it Jerry Bridges goes much deeper to establish the right foundations for relating to God, ourselves and to others. In doing so, he sets us up for success in confronting these very powerful fears.
This book is transforming in the sense that the truth Bridges relates is truly empowering. If you read it and take it to heart, you will never be the same. You will, probably for the first time in your life, enjoy liberty and strength as God sets you free from the exhausting life of living on the performance treadmill. So, read, take it to heart and be transformed!
Read an excerpt here:
What is Grace?
What, then, is the grace by which we are saved and under which we live? Grace is God’s free and unmerited favor shown to guilty sinners who deserve only judgment. It is the love of God shown to the unlovely. It is God reaching downward to people who are in rebellion against Him. Grace stands in direct opposition to any supposed worthiness on our part. To say it another way: Grace and works are mutually exclusive. As Paul said in Romans 11:6, “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” Our relationship with God is based on either works or grace. There is never a works-plus-grace relationship with Him. Furthermore, grace does not first rescue us from the penalty of our sins, furnish us with some new spiritual abilities, and then leave us on our own to grow in spiritual maturity. Rather, as Paul said, “He who began a good work in you [by His grace] will [also by His grace] carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). John Newton captured this idea of the continuing work of grace in our lives when he wrote in the hymn “Amazing Grace,” “Tis grace hath brought me safe
thus far, and grace will lead me home.” The apostle Paul asks us today, as he asked the Galatian believers, “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to obtain your goal by human effort?” (Galatians 3:3). Although the issue of circumcision was the specific problem Paul was addressing, notice that he did not say, “Are you trying to attain
your goal by circumcision?” He generalized his question and dealt, not with the specific issue of circumcision, but with the broader problem of trying to please God by human effort, any effort — even good Christian activities and disciplines performed
in a spirit of legalism.
A sample chapter can be downloaded by clicking here.
This book and many other helpful and encouraging resources can be purchased at the RCF Book Store.