'Funny how the exceeding riches of God's grace seem to run out the moment we're saved. From then on we tend to base our relationship with him on our performance rather than on his grace.'
This quote from the back cover caught my attention. I thought I had the concept of grace sewn up with the simple mnemonic: GRACE = God's Riches At Christ's Expense. You may be surprised, as I was, to find a whole book devoted to the biblical theme of God's grace.
However, Bridges probes the biblical text with a great depth of insight, using rhetorical questions to challenge our preconceptions. He tackles difficult passages, 'But where sin increased, grace increased all the more' (Rom 5:20), which raises the question: 'Shall we go on sinning, so that grace may increase?' (Rom 6:1). Concepts unfamiliar to me were also addressed, such as the appropriation of God's grace, and being used as ministers of his grace to each other.
As Christian medics we are under pressure to study hard to pass exams, and it is easy to lapse 'into the world's way of thinking that somehow we must earn God's blessings through our suffering or sacrifice or hard work'. Jerry Bridges writes with an overwhelming sense of joy at the freedom we have through Christ from the 'performance treadmill'.
This volume is both deeply grounded in Scripture and accessible. So, if you're looking for some excellent teaching on grace and a life-changing read, this is the book to devour this summer!
University College London