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Holiness by Grace: Delighting in the Joy That Is Our Strength Paperback – February 10, 2003

4.9 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although his purpose is "to explain the role of grace in sanctification," Chapell, president of Covenant Theological Seminary, not only explains fundamental theological concepts, but gives them passion and life through colorful, often poignant illustrations. Chapell argues very carefully that God's grace is the necessary foundation and source for all spiritual growth in the Christian life. He thoughtfully explores the deeply rooted human tendency to turn away from grace, seeking favor and blessing through our own efforts. But he also deals with tougher issues asking, for example, "Can the preaching of grace become an excuse for lawlessness?" He honestly confronts how church leaders are tempted to de-emphasize God's grace in order to prevent chaos. Chapell gives new meaning to the idea of repentance, offers practical and helpful teaching on temptation, shows the often-overlooked role of grace in spiritual warfare, explains the positive role of suffering and paints an inspiring picture of God's love and mercy. Questions at the end of the book will be helpful for group study. Grace is currently a "hot" topic for Christian books and presentations, but Chapell's treatment brings a new depth to the subject, not only in his careful, thorough reasoning but also in his comprehensive use of biblical texts. This depth may prove daunting to some readers, but mature Christians will likely consider Chapell's book a key component of their spiritual journey.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“The historic Protestant doctrine is that we are not only justified by faith rather than our works, but we are also sanctified by faith rather than our works. Yet, though we give this teaching lip service, very few ministers and Christians know how grace-based sanctification really works. Bryan Chapell has produced a popular, practical, yet theologically sensitive book on this very issue—how God’s gracious acceptance is the dynamic and guide for growth into holy character. This is a great book—an extremely timely book.”
Timothy J. Keller, Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City; best-selling author, The Reason for God

“With the skill of a surgeon and the joy of a child, Bryan Chapell invites us to walk in a garden of grace. Thanks to publisher and author for this fine work.”
Max Lucado, author, You Are Special; Minister of Preaching, Oak Hills Church, San Antonio, Texas

“Grace. We have an entire vocabulary of adjectives to describe it when we sing about it. And yet—if the truth be told—we Christians either have a stubborn tendency to refuse really to believe it, or we stumble over its implications. In Holiness by Grace Bryan Chapell comes to help us.”
Sinclair B. Ferguson, Professor of Systematic Theology, Redeemer Seminary, Dallas, Texas

“In this study book, a wise man shows how the grace of God in Christ, and the holy joy of Christian living, go beyond what many think. Would you appreciate a fully biblical and Reformed demonstration of how the love-words and love-works of our triune God transform life? Then you should read and digest Holiness by Grace.”
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

“What a great book! What a necessary book! What a life-changing book! A lack of God’s clear desire for holiness in His people doesn’t come from making the gospel too good . . . it comes from not making it good enough. This is the book for which I have long prayed, and I enthusiastically commend it to you. If you miss it, you’ll be sorry.”
Steve Brown, Host, Key Life Radio Program; author, Three Free Sins: God Isn't Mad At You 

“It should not be thought of as extraordinary that a book on the subject of holiness puts its focus on the word 'delight.' The very crowning of God’s creation was the placing of his holy creatures, Adam and Eve, in the garden named Eden, which simply means 'delight.' Dr. Chapell makes it clear that the soul’s delight will be realized only by godliness in the Christian life—and that, of course, is what the gift of grace is all about. A scholarly and practical study of 'the beauty of holiness.”
The Late D. James Kennedy, Former Senior Minister, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

Holiness by Grace addresses the tension between human responsibility and divine provision in the process of our sanctification. Dr. Bryan Chapell guides us through these tensions by assuring us again and again of God’s mercy and grace that not only secures our ways to him, but also provides our daily motivation and enablement to serve him. The questions at the end are designed to delve more deeply into these truths leading us in our service to God with the acknowledgment that God must provide what we need to please him. We can never hear enough about God’s grace. This book is a fresh reminder.”
Rose Marie Miller, missionary; author, From Fear to Freedom

“This is a delightful book, full of sane, practical theology and application. It is not the sort of book that will satisfy armchair theologians pondering exactly how the Mosaic covenant relates to the new covenant; rather, it is the sort of book that teaches Christians how to live—aiming for holiness and delighting in it, responding to grace and being thankful for it, avoiding the countless pitfalls, and learning to please God.”
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Cofounder, The Gospel Coalition

“The classic Puritan pastor Richard Sibbes was called 'the heavenly Doctor Sibbes' due in part to his God-given ability to make sovereign grace clear to the spiritually sick and weak and wounded. In that same way, Dr. Chapell is a 'heavenly physical therapist' for in these pages he carefully instructs a church wounded and weak by theological error of the restorative and healing truth of Reformed sanctification. This volume helps the weary walk more holy.”
Joseph V. NovensonPastor, Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

Holiness by Grace is a biblical and doctrinal introduction to grace-based godliness—a guide for recovering Pharisees. Bryan Chapell has a special ability to teach the Bible in a way that refreshes the heart. This book will help you see yourself the way God sees you, so that you can serve him the way he wants to be served.”
Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College

Holiness by Grace is a wonderfully clear, biblically nuanced presentation of what it means to truly grow in the grace of God. Chapell is Christ-centered without allowing modern grace movements to become reactions to older legalism. The church needs this book both to correct errors and to guide people more faithfully into the proven paths of the past.”
John H. Armstrong, Director of Act 3; author, The Compromised Church

“Dr. Bryan Chapell has done a masterful job of demonstrating that a rigorous proclamation of the gospel of God’s grace is not only consistent with a call to holy living, it is the only effective way to enable Christian believers to live out that call. I was personally enriched by his careful use of Scripture as the foundation for the teaching of each chapter. I pray that his influence will give us a generation of preachers who know how to preach grace.”
Stephen E. Smallman, Assistant Pastor, New Life Presbyterian Church, Glenside, Pennsylvania; Instructor, CityNet Ministries of Philadelphia; author, Spiritual Birthline, Forty Days on the Mountain, and The Walk

“The role of God’s grace in Christian sanctification is so little understood among believers today. Bryan Chapell deftly brings the light of Scripture to bear on this troublesome question through careful exposition and compelling illustrations. I highly recommend this book.”
Jerry Bridges, author, The Pursuit of Holiness

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (February 10, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581344651
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581344653
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David T. Wayne on July 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book has a similar theme to books by Jerry Bridges and Steve Brown on the grace of God, but is much bigger and more thorough than the others. If you want a quick and to the point rundown on grace try "Transforming Grace," by Bridges, or "Born Free" by Steve Brown.
But, if you have the time and desire to soak in the depths of the Bible's teachings on God's grace, I heartily recommend this book. It is best taken slowly. I think I read it too fast and will need to go back and re-read some portions of it.
Chapell has a great writing style. He mixes teaching with illustration very effectively. His illustrations range from the mundane things of everyday life to quotes from famous theologians in the Reformed and Puritan tradition.
The title of the book shows the theme clearly - holiness comes by the grace of God. Too often Christians treat grace as the thing that gets them into the Christian life, and holiness as the thing that gets them through the Christian life. The fact is that grace gets us into the Christian life and grace produces the holiness that characterizes us throughout the Christian life.
The author does a wonderful job of displaying the grace and mercy of God without making it a license to sin. One of my favorite chapters was the one on mercy. We Christians often forget God's mercy after awhile, and our daily need of it.
He shows that, rather than being an excuse for sin, grace helps us live above sin. The grace that saves us from the penalty of sin saves us from the power of sin.
Thanks to the Sonship ministry of World Harvest Mission and the writings of Bridges, Brown, Max Lucado and others grace is now high on the radar of many Christians. But Chapell reminds us that grace is not just a new fad for the church, nor is it a mere reaction to more oppressive types of fundamentalism. Grace is the path we walk throughout the Christian life.
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Format: Paperback
Yes, that title is correct: Holiness by Grace! Have you ever heard of such a thing? Like me, you may have grown up listening to sermons and Sunday School lessons that seemed to press home some point, "step on your toes," and challenge you to live a better life each and every week. If you really focused on making the specific changes that you were recommended, you may sooner drive yourself to the insane asylum or give up completely.

What then is this notion of holiness coming by grace? In the book, Dr. Bryan Chapell, president of Covenant Theological Seminary, seeks to answer that very question. In the book of Galatians, Paul talks about how we received salvation by no merit of our own and that it was completely a free gift from God by way of Christ's work for us on the cross. Paul goes on to say that by this same way we also receive our righteousness and holiness.

As R.C. Sproul discusses in his book The Holiness of God, holy does not only mean "pure" but "set apart." Obviously, those who are called to salvation are "set apart" from those who are lost. That calling to salvation is by the Holy Spirit and just as the Spirit convicts us of our sin and draws us to Christ, He also gives us the means and ability to serve God and glorify Him through our lives.

Holiness is not only a doing, but a manner of living in light of the presence of God. It means that we put our faith and confidence in God, trusting that He knows what is best for us in every circumstance, in spite of how the events may appear.

Of the 34 books I have read so far in 2011, this has been by far the most personally challenging. I read this book while sitting with my now 3-month-old son as he recovered from surgery in the Pediatric ICU.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was my first encounter with Chapell. His clarity and exposition are excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed this work on the wonderful doctrine of grace. Chapell systematically demolishes the fallacy of human merit. He displays the beauty of liberation through justification based on Christ's imputed righteousness to the undeserving sinner. The entire book is one of liberation and spiritual growth. Highly reccomended!
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What a fantastic read. I couldn't breeze through it like I can most other books. There was just too much meat. I could only handle a half dozen pages at a time just because I had to sit back and ponder what I had just read.

This book excels where other books on Sanctification fails. Some authors focus so much on our doing that they neglect the Cross and the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Chappell puts the Cross back into focus and grace as the only means of Sanctification, but at the same time does not neglect our obedience in walking it out.

This book destroys any concept, realized or unrealized, that you might hold concerning a Law of Merit or Attainment. Instead, Chappell goes into detail on the unmerited favor of our Lord toward us and the Law of Love that compels us.

You ever just want to throw up your arms and give up when other believers tell you that in order to conquer sin in your life you just need to do the right things....read your Bible more, pray more, etc? This book totally dispells that notion. Instead, Chappell shows how we have been delivered of these things already through the Cross of Christ and that the doings we do now are merely the outward reaction to that. It is freeing to come to the realization that we don't have to live defeated lives...that Christ took care of it all and created in me a brand New Creation who is thoroughly empowered through His ressurrection life to live out this life....pursuing that Holiness that is had by Grace.
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