Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review: Holiness by Grace

Having heard Bryan Chapell at NIMA last November, this was a must-read book. Having read it, it's definitely a must-read (and must-share) book!

While in some circles, holiness has been forgotten and removed from the Christian life, Chapell brings it back to front and centre. Writing in an accessible, clear, and pastoral way, his point is simple to understand, and transforming to live.

Be holy, because God is holy. His standard seems either to ignore human frailty or to impose certain failure. We must make sense of this command for perfect righteousness lest our hearts harden into a shrugged 'get real' or break into a sobbed 'I can't do it.'...

Our holiness is not so much a matter of what we achieve as it is the grace our God provides.

Through the remaining chapters, Chapell expands on this theme of holiness by grace - through what God has given and Christ has achieved, and not at all based in our performance. He helps us to steer clear of both legalism and licence, through understanding and experiencing God's grace, not just in coming to faith, but in living for God.

The writing is powerful and there are plenty of illustrations. Each chapter is based on an extended exposition of a Bible passage as the theme is unfolded. This book is ideal for all Christians - from the newest believer to the oldest saint, because your heart will be warmed, and you'll be given strength and power for the road - not from yourself; not from Chapell's words; but direct from the Bible, helpfully explained and applied.

The challenge is to live it out - it is life-changing, but the hard work starts as you try to unlearn what you've always thought about your own goodness and effort, and as you repent of your goodness and rejoice in his grace.

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