Book Review: Grace
Grace continues Max Lucado’s track record of taking some of the most important—and most misunderstood—truths of the Christian faith and make them accessible, understandable, and relatable. I wouldn’t consider this book perfect, but more on that shortly.
We live in a culture, even in the church, that’s all about doing and earning. It’s how we measure self-worth, acceptability, and even our identity. In Grace, Lucado reminds us that we can’t earn grace by being bad, we can’t be too bad for grace, and that God chose us and loves us because of who He is, not because of who we are. The chapters are fairly short, 12 or so pages each on average, and each focuses on a way that grace in our lives should affect us if we truly grasped it. In one chapter he talks about forgiveness, in another, overcoming fear. He talks about serving others, resting from trying to earn grace, and generosity that comes from a place of love, not obligation.
All of these are wonderful, and provided much-needed reminders. As always, his style is conversational and personal, and he uses illustrations and examples that sometimes challenge me, sometimes encourage me, and sometimes make me wish I’d thought of it. He also has several catchy—almost tweetable—quotes throughout. It’s a quick and easy read, but reading it that way is a disservice to the book, and to yourself.
I encourage you to make use of the Study Guide in the back of the book. Use the questions to force yourself to slow down and really digest the material. Use it and the Bible to really get grace into your heart.
Another hallmark of Max Lucado’s style is “bringing alive” the Bible stories. He paints vivid pictures to set the scene and imagine what might have been happening before or around the passage…and it’s here I have some problems. Generally he does this very well, but in some of the cases, he ventured too far beyond the biblical text for my comfort. The chapter “Grace on the Fringe” was particularly excessive in its almost “once upon a time…” narrative.
The other issue I had is something he didn’t cover but I wish he had. He talked about grace and our salvation, overcoming fear, being generous, forgiving, confessing, and so on. But he never addressed one topic I would like to have seen: what does grace look like in what we do. It’s true that we can’t and don’t have to do anything to earn grace, but we still have to do things as we live. How does grace express itself in our daily work, as we seek His purpose for our lives? How does it relate to “success”? How does it relate to setting and achieving goals? This might be a book of its own, but I felt like Grace stopped just short of dealing with them, as if had there been two or three more chapters it would have flowed into this nicely. And I missed it.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book, especially as a primer on grace or a reminder for the times when you’re overworked, overwhelmed, and overburdened. It’s not for everyone—my first concern might be a deal-breaker for you—but as long as you keep his style in mind and recognize storytelling as distinct from Scripture, you’ll surely find some value in these pages.
If you’d like to pick up a copy, please click here to do so. The small affiliate commission I receive if you buy from the links in the post is most appreciated.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review, but all opinions are mine.