Book Review: By Grace Alone by Sinclair B. Ferguson

Title: By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me
Author: Sinclair Ferguson
Publisher: Reformation Trust (2010)

Does the grace of God amaze you?

Does the salvation that comes through faith in Christ overwhelm you with excitement and joy?

It did Emmanuel T. Sibomana, inspiring him to write they hymn, “Umbuntu Bg Imana,” translated into English as, “O How the Grace of God Amazes Me.” Sibomana’s hymn is a beautiful and powerful exposition of the story of salvation and the grace of God.

It’s also the inspiration for Sinclair Ferguson’s latest book, By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me. Following the structure of Sibomana’s hymn, Ferguson reflects on God’s grace from seven angles and shows us why the grace of God should amaze us.

A question that may come to mind when considering this book is, “Why do we need (another) book on grace?”

“Being amazed by God’s grace is a sign of spiritual vitality. . .  Yet we frequently take the grace of God for granted. . . . We have lost the joy and energy that are experienced when grace seems truly amazing,” writes Ferguson (Introduction, p. xiv).

In other words, if our amazement at God’s grace is a sign of our spiritual wellbeing, to take it for granted is an indicator that, spiritually speaking, we’re desperately sick. To regain our health, we must regain a sense of wonder when considering His grace.

So what does grace do, exactly?

Ferguson breaks it down quite effectively. Grace…

1. Breaks the chains of sin. Grace shows us the depth of our sin and depravity and our need for a Savior.

 

2. Shows us the unconditional love of the Father through the sending of His Son to suffer and die in our place, for our sins. “He took my place. I take His grace. He becomes my Savior,” writes Ferguson (p. 45).

3. Exchanges our sin for Christ’s righteousness. For those who place their faith in Christ, God no longer sees a sinner deserving His wrath, but a beloved son or daughter.

4. Secures our standing before God, even in the face of the accusations of Satan. If God is for us, who, then can be against us—and who can bring charges against God’s people? The answer is, no one.

Your salvation rests not on what you have done but on what Christ has done. You, therefore, can be sure of it, no matter how weak the faith by which you hold on to Christ, no matter how strong the attacks and accusations of Satan may be. (p. 75)

5. Delivers us from evil. God’s grace shows us the character of God and the help of God—the two things we question most whenever trials come. And grace shows us the answer: Jesus.

If you are in the dark, whether inside the kingdom of Christ or outside the kingdom of Christ, this is where you need to go first: to Jesus the Savior, who died for us on the cross. (p. 99)

6. Offers us true freedom. Free from the bondage of sin, believers “are now in a position to refuse to let sin reign in your mortal body and make you obey its evil desires. You are able to resist the pressure you still feel from indwelling sin.” (p. 117)

In By Grace Alone, Ferguson does a masterful job of inspiring readers to appreciate the grace of God. Without God’s grace, we are utterly hopeless, lost in our sins and under the wrath of God.

“But God, being rich in mercy…” Those words carry so much power. They’re some of the greatest words we can ever hear. Because of God’s grace, we—who are so ill deserving—are loved, we are justified and we are free.

That is amazing!

Does the grace of God amaze you?

Read By Grace Alone and rediscover the wonder of God’s amazing grace.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes by the publisher.

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