Author: Max Lucado
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (2012)
I finished Grace at the beginning of Advent, and the timing was providential. The Christmas season serves as an annual reminder of the bountiful gifts I have been given in Christ, and Max Lucado trumpets that message in his latest book.
Much like Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace?, Lucado’s new work proclaims the beauty and uniqueness of God’s grace. In a world of stress, judgment, and busyness, grace is what Lucado calls a “rumbling reservoir” that constantly and aggressively comes upon us, wave upon wave.
Grace encourages the reader that God’s kindness and love come simply because He loves to be our Father, not because of any merit, works, or righteousness within us. Grace is God’s personal gift to us. In Lucado’s words, “Precious as it is to proclaim, ‘Christ died for the world,’ even sweeter it is to whisper, ‘Christ died for me.’ ”
Readers familiar with Lucado will recognize his colloquial style in Grace. The book is full of anecdotes and stories, each chapter begun with a few quotes and an illustration. Lucado’s goal in these pages is not to educate you in a theology of grace or to catalog for you the Bible’s words on the subject; instead, he hopes to capture your imagination and encourage your heart.
My main qualm with Lucado’s theology was in Chapter 1, in which Lucado writes that Jesus “will sweep into heaven anyone who so much as gives him the nod.” That claim seems to belie Scriptural statements like, “Depart from me, for I never knew you” and “Some preach Christ from envy and rivalry.”
I found two particularly good sections of the book, both of which will stick in my mind when I think of Grace. I was struck, first, by Lucado’s revealing honesty in detailing his struggle with alcohol. I was stunned to read about a pastor openly admitting before the elder board, then later the entire congregation, a private battle with drinking. As he writes, “[I]f our understanding of grace is small, our confession will be small: reluctant, hesitant, hedged with excuses and qualifications.” Lucado has lived that truth and shown how big God’s grace can be.
I will also remember a powerful story of grace to a young woman whose father had a dying wish to see his daughter dressed in the white gown of a bride. Like Yancey’s book I mentioned earlier, Grace is full of powerful stories that won’t soon be forgotten.
This is a good book, encouraging readers that God’s grace is unconditional, unceasing, and overpowering.