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Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love Paperback – April 22, 2008
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From the Back Cover
The product of more than ten years of Bible study, Transforming Grace is a fountainhead of inspiration and renewal that will show you just how inexhaustible and generous God’s grace really is. You’ll never be able to ask for too much, need too much, hope for too much, or even sin too much. Like a never-ending stream of ocean waves crashing on the shore, His grace “superabounds” toward you without measure.
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Something that Bridges is challenging believer's to think about is that salvation(Justification and Glorification)is all by God's grace(but Bridges contends that many,perhaps not fully realizing it,believe that Sanctification is performance or works based.The author is fully convinced that-"...the entire Christian life from start to completion is lived on the basis of God's grace to us through Christ."(the apostle Paul corrected theChurch at Galatia for this type of mindset-'having begun in the Spirit are we perfected in the flesh').How important is it to have a proper understanding of 'God's Grace'? -"....if a person does have a false notion of grace,it probably means he or she does not really understand the Gospel."
Mr.Bridges gives this caveat about 'Living By Grace 'it assumes that the reader understands and has experienced 'saving grace';and therefore the one who is saved by grace also needs to daily live 'By The Grace Of God'.
In the chapter 'Grace-Who needs it?' he brings out something that some may balk at-while most would acknowledge that we all need grace(it is the amount of grace that one needs,in Bridges judgement,that may raise a few eyebrows)the godly author contends that the zealous missionary needs as much grace as 'The Hard Living Sinner'.Some who question this may ask,How can this be? Bridges reasoning has the support of 'The Scriptures(I believe)-"...the currency of our good works is debased and worthless before God." In other words 'The godly Christian Missionary' needs to rely on God's grace(hourly,daily)to live in a manner that pleases God,'The Hard Living Sinner' needs 'The Grace Of God' to 'Turn And Live',apart from God's grace neither can live in a manner that is pleasing 'To Their Almighty Maker'.Jerry Bridges quotes C.Samuel Storms from his book 'The Grandeur Of God' to help solidify his his point-"Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to bestow it in the presence of human merit." If God is obligated to bestow grace because of human merit,or most withhold it because of the unworthiness of the recipient,then human merit would trump 'The Grace Of God',and this can never be.
How can our sins continue to be forgiven,when we continue to sin until God calls us home?Some may think that they've sinned so often that they have exhausted their credit with God.In the atonement of Christ,how much forgiveness is available,for a person who is 'In Christ'-An Infinite amount.It cannot be exhausted.If one thinks it can be,they have an understanding of God's grace and forgiveness that is based on their performance or their good works.This assumes that they continue to fight against that which is opposed to God and themselves(the world,the flesh and the devil).
I am convinced that at least three of Jerry Bridges books are destined to be considered modern classics,if they are not already-The Pursuit Of Holiness,The Joy Of Fearing God and Transforming Grace.
I love how Jerry Bridges explains the Gospel and explain it in a way that is clear to understand, devotional and practical. I enjoyed especially Bridges’ illustrations. Two analogies stood out: The Bankruptcy analogy in chapter one and the analogy of the Grand Canyon in chapter two. With the bankruptcy analogy Bridges made the observation that there are two kinds of bankruptcy. One chapter means one is totally without any asset at all; Bridges point here is that when it comes to our standing with God we are totally bankrupt, with no credit of righteousness that can redeem us from God’s wrath against our sins. With the analogy of the Grand Canyon in chapter two Bridges makes the point that our self-righteousness in reaching God is like jumping from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other side. The problem for most people is that they unfortunately shorten the distance in their own mind. I thought these analogies are useful for evangelism and even with explaining and teaching the Gospel to Christians.
Every chapter was precious in what it teaches. For instance I appreciated chapter nine on sufficient grace. Here Bridges looks at 2 Corinthians 12:9 and noted how the grace of God here has the meaning of God’s divine assistance to us through the Holy Spirit (165). As a Reformed Christian I can easily think of God’s grace as God’s favor to deal with our sinfulness, guilt and us being ill-deserving but this chapter shows us that God’s grace is also to help us with our inability and weaknesses (170). How multi-facted is God’s amazing grace! I also enjoyed the second to the last chapter in the book for Bridges discussion of the four means of appropriating God’s grace. These are prayers, the Word of God, submission and ministry to others. It was useful to see the Christian responsibility to use God’s means of grace.
Again this is a great book to read for Christian spiritual growth. Whether one reads it individually or as a resource for discipleship with others or even small group, it would prove to be a blessing for those who read it.