The Grace of God [NOOK Book]

Overview

“Grace. It’s what we crave most when our guilt is exposed. It’s the very thing we are hesitant to extend when we are confronted with the guilt of others—especially when their guilt has robbed us of something we consider valuable.

Therein is the struggle, the struggle for grace. It’s this struggle that makes grace more story than doctrine. It’s the struggle that reminds us that grace is bigger than compassion or forgiveness. That struggle is the context for both. When we are on ...

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The Grace of God

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Overview

“Grace. It’s what we crave most when our guilt is exposed. It’s the very thing we are hesitant to extend when we are confronted with the guilt of others—especially when their guilt has robbed us of something we consider valuable.

Therein is the struggle, the struggle for grace. It’s this struggle that makes grace more story than doctrine. It’s the struggle that reminds us that grace is bigger than compassion or forgiveness. That struggle is the context for both. When we are on the receiving end, grace is refreshing. When it is required of us, it is often disturbing. But when correctly applied, it seems to solve just about everything.  This struggle is not new; it has been going on since the beginning.”

—Andy Stanley

We find in the pages of Scripture that the stories found there often mirror our own stories, and that we too need the very thing we do not deserve: the grace of God.

From the beginning, the church has had an uneasy relationship with grace. The gravitational pull is always toward graceless religion. The odd thing is that when you read the New
Testament, the only thing Jesus stood against consistently was graceless religion. The only group he attacked relentlessly was graceless religious leaders.

Even now as you think about grace, there might be a little voice in your head whispering, “It can’t be that easy!”

“What about obedience?”

“What about disobedience?”

“What about repeated misbehavior?”

“What about bad habits?”

“What about justice?”

“What about repentance?”

It’s this tension that makes grace so slippery. But that’s the beauty and the truth of grace. We don’t deserve it. We can’t earn it. It can’t be qualified. But God gives it to us anyway because he loves us unconditionally.

The story of grace is your story. And as you are about to discover grace plays a larger role than you imagine.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849949128
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/19/2010
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 110,099
  • File size: 476 KB

Meet the Author

Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. (NPM). Each Sunday, more than 30,000 people attend worship services at one of NPM’s five Atlanta-area campuses: Buckhead Church, Browns Bridge Community Church, Gwinnett Church, North Point Community Church, and Watermarke Church. Andy’s books include When Work and Family Collide and The Grace of God. Andy and his wife, Sandra have three teenagers.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments....................xi
The Story of Grace....................xiii
1. In the Beginning, Grace....................1
2. Chosen by Grace....................19
3. Surprised by Grace....................33
4. Redeemed by Grace....................51
5. Ruled by Grace....................67
6. Rescued by Grace....................77
7. Sustained by Grace....................91
8. Puzzled by Grace....................107
Intermission: Selah....................119
9. Accepted by Grace....................125
10. Reborn by Grace....................145
11. Filled by Grace....................165
12. Saved by Grace....................179
13. Commissioned for Grace....................193
How Sweet the Sound....................211
Notes....................219
About the Author....................221
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First Chapter

The Grace of God


By Andy Stanley

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2010 Andy Stanley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-4814-5


Chapter One

In the Beginning, Grace

Grace has been the basis of our relationship with our Creator from the very beginning.

First-time Bible readers are often struck by the apparent contrast between the God we discover in the Old Testament and God as explained by Jesus in the New. To be candid, even people very familiar with the Bible often struggle with this contrast. Several years ago, my wife, Sandra, studied the Old Testament as part of a course that required students to read straight through the historical books, Joshua through 2 Chronicles. Like many longtime Christians, she grew up with a devotional approach to Bible reading, so most of the better-known stories were familiar. But she had never read straight through the narrative portions of the Old Testament.

Early one morning I walked in on her while she was reading, and she looked up at me and said, "I'll be glad when I'm finished with this."

"Really?" I said. "Why?"

She shook her head and said, "This isn't how I view God. Basically, he condones genocide."

Genocide. That term had recently taken on new meaning for us. Three months earlier we had visited Rwanda. We talked to survivors. We visited the genocide museum in Kigali. Horrific photographs and video footage of the carnage revealed the evil that had plunged this African country into darkness for one hundred days, during which at least five hundred thousand men, women, and children were slaughtered. Piles of bodies, mass graves, heaps of skulls. Children who survived were left orphaned and homeless. We also saw the instruments of destruction. The drunken civilian death squads known as Interahamwe preferred the machete, a weapon that created carnage of Old Testament proportions.

After experiencing that somber, haunting place, we cannot speak the word genocide without feeling sick. Sandra was right. The parallels were too obvious to ignore.

In his book The God Delusion, noted atheist Dr. Richard Dawkins declared,

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

But he isn't the first to draw such conclusions. In the second century, Bishop Marcion was so struck by the contrast between descriptions of God in the Old and New Testaments that he concluded they must refer to different beings altogether. He believed the God of the Old Testament created the physical world and introduced the Law, which was based on retribution, through Judaism. Whereas Marcion characterized the Old Testament God as a cruel and jealous Lawgiver, he saw the New Testament God as a compassionate and loving Father who was concerned about all mankind. He believed this New Testament God revealed himself through Jesus Christ.

While the church in Marcion's day considered his teaching heretical and eventually excommunicated him, one can't help but appreciate his attempt to reconcile the apparent contradictions between God as presented in the Old and New Testaments; the God of war versus the kinder, gentler God who sent his Son to redeem the world from sin.

With all that in mind, it would seem that a study of grace should begin with the gospel of Matthew. On the surface, it appears that the birth of Jesus signaled the beginning of an age of grace. However, a careful reading of the Old Testament reveals grace to be God's preeminent characteristic from the very beginning. So that's where our journey will begin. In the beginning.

* * *

The Old Testament opens with an explanation of how the world came to be. While modern readers immediately dive into the details surrounding the process of creation, the author had far more in mind. Shortly after the Israelites escaped the bonds of slavery in Egypt, Moses wrote this remarkable book as a means of introducing them to God. After more than four hundred years of exposure to Egyptian mythology and a polytheistic worldview, the Israelites' collective memory of God had become distorted. So the first three chapters of Genesis represent far more than just the story of creation. This was Israel's introduction-or reintroduction-to the God of their fathers. This was their glimpse into the nature and even the personality of the God, who had singled them out as his people. After what they had just witnessed-their miraculous departure from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, astounding displays of God's power over people and nature-not a soul among them doubted his ability to create something out of nothing.

They were not looking for an explanation for how things came to be as much as they wanted to know who had delivered them and who they were being asked to follow.

* * *

According to the creation accounts of other ancient religions, the gods took up residence in a preexisting universe. They didn't create the world; they merely ran it. But Moses claimed that the Hebrew God existed before anything. He brought all matter and time into existence out of nothing-not because he had to but, apparently, because he wanted to. And that's where we encounter the very first expression of God's grace.

Philosophers and scientists have been wrestling with a fundamental question for generations: Why does anything exist at all? Or, another way of asking it: Why is there something rather than nothing? Not to worry, we aren't going to spend too much time here. But this question deserves to be explored before we examine the familiar story of creation. It is impossible for us to imagine nothing. But apparently there was nothing before there was something. In the past, some scientists suggested that matter might be eternal. But more recent investigation suggests that matter, space, and time each had a beginning. Something came from nothing. But why? Why something? Why not nothing?

Assuming you believe in God, let me ask this question a different way. Why did God create anything? Some argue that he was lonely, but I don't think so. Even if that were the case, an argument could be made that the act of creation was an extraordinary act of grace. God created life, which created the potential for you and me. Creation gave you an opportunity to be. And God was under no obligation to give you or me that opportunity. Why is there something rather than nothing? Because God decided there should be something. And part of that something is you! In the beginning God created, and this was a marvelous act of grace. But that was just the beginning.

Moses wrote that after creating time, space, and matter, the universe was "formless and empty." Into this void God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. Then God commented on his creation: "God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness" (Gen. 1:2-4).

The Creator isn't the only one who views light as something good. You do as well. And so do I. But God was under no obligation to create light. The world could have been left in utter darkness and we would never have known the difference. Have you ever thanked God for light? Me neither. We take it for granted. The only time I stop to express gratitude for light is when our electricity is restored after an ice storm. But within minutes I slide right back into my take-it-for-granted frame of mind. We don't generally consider the creation of light as an extension of God's grace. But if you have visually impaired friends, you know that the miraculous restoration of their sight would certainly be a cause of thanksgiving and that no one would consider it far-fetched to credit God for his grace on their lives. The difference? Light is a constant for the average person. Light is not a constant for those who are visually impaired. God's 24/7 extensions of grace generally go unnoticed, until they are taken away. And even then, our appreciation and recognition last only a short time.

The remainder of the creation story describes how God systematically brought order to a "formless and empty" universe. He divided the sky from the earth, the dry land from the waters, the day from the night. He dotted the heavens with the sun, moon, planets, and stars to measure the passing of time. He filled the earth with life-endless in variety, boundless in scope, relentless in resilience, marvelous in complexity. None of this was necessary. God was under no obligation to go to these seemingly great lengths. But he did. And at every juncture, at the end of each creation cycle, we find a phrase that gets little attention yet declares the grace of God in a subtle but powerful way: "And God saw that it was good" (vv. 10, 12, 18, 21, 25).

I think most people take that to mean that God looked at his handiwork and thought to himself, Nice job! You know, the kind of thing you would say to yourself after painting a room in your house or washing your car. That's good. Sounds a bit silly when you stop and think about it. "God saw that the light was good" (Gen. 1:4). Like he didn't know it was good until he paused to look at it? Like it was an experiment? Or perhaps instead of patting himself on the back, he said it in a comparative sense. Perhaps he had tried this before and it wasn't so good, but this time he got it right.

I don't think so. Neither does anybody else I've read.

Another option suggests that creation was good in a moral sense. But that doesn't really work either. Dry land isn't morally good or bad. It's just dry land. But God declared it good. Strange, isn't it? Good for what? Good for whom? Good for God? Did God benefit from the division of the land from the sea or from the creation of birds and fish?

By the time God finished, more than three hundred species of beetle populated the earth. Was all of that for his sole benefit and enjoyment? Did it really matter that the seed-bearing plants would reproduce after their own kind? Was it for God that certain plants were created for food and others just for their beauty? Would God, who is spirit, benefit from either? In other parts of the Scripture, we discover that all of creation declares God's glory (Ps. 19:1). But who hears this declaration?

You; that's who. And me.

God declared each phase of creation good because it was good for us.

Not sure you buy that? Sound a little self-serving? Hang on, because what happens next sheds some light on all that had come before.

"Then ..." (Gen. 1:26)-as in, after everything was ready. "Then"-as in, after the stage was set. "Then"-as in, after God got everything the way he knew we would need it to be. "Then God said, 'Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.' ... So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them" (Gen. 1:26-27 NLT).

And what did God do with them? He told them to enjoy themselves. Everything he had painstakingly fashioned, he created for them. Here's how Moses described it. Take special note of the words I've emphasized:

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it-I give every green plant for food." And it was so. (Gen. 1:29-30; emphasis added)

God created the world, filled it with goodness, and then gave it away. He handed us the keys. He created a world perfectly suited to sustain the human race. What did we do to deserve this incredible, pristine abundance? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

That's grace. From the standpoint of human experience, the creation of the universe and God's giving it to humanity was the beginning of grace. Majestic sunsets-those are for you. The seasons that enable us to plant and harvest-those are for you. The variety of fruits and vegetables you have enjoyed throughout your life-those are for you. Your choice of salmon, sea bass, trout, or snapper-that's for you. The beach, the mountains, the lakes, the streams, the rainforest, the jungles, the plains-all for you. There is more beauty in this world than any one person can fully comprehend, greater abundance than any one person can consume. Why? That's the nature of grace. Grace is never just enough. Grace is always far more than enough. From the very outset, God established his pattern of lavishing grace upon those he loves. But the best was still still to come.

* * *

In the midst of all that God declared good, one thing did not please him: "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone'" (Gen. 2:18).

Once again we are confronted with God's unending commitment to, and love for, humankind. Why create a woman? Because it was not good for man to be alone. We see from the very beginning of creation that God desires what is good for us. That's grace. Undeserved favor. God wanted, and continues to want, only what is good for us. For you. When he saw that humanity was incomplete, he acted. "I will make a helper suitable for him" (Gen. 2:18). Why? Because he had to? No, the text is clear. Because he wanted to.

"So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27 NLT; emphasis added).

It would be a mistake to rush by this too quickly. Why male and female? Why not just create a big electronics store full of males? Why not create a big outlet mall and fill it with females? We would have never known the difference. But apparently God would have known. So he created man and woman. In doing so, he created a capacity for love and intimacy that Adam, on his own, would never have experienced. He created the experience of sexual fulfillment. He created the potential for children and the unique love that only a parent can comprehend. With the creation of man and woman came the ability to enjoy life in its fullest expression. And why did God push his creative capacity to such an extreme? Because he wanted to. Maybe here, more than anywhere else in the Old Testament, God reveals his feelings toward humankind. He wants what is good for us, so he filled creation with endless extras.

God blessed Adam and Eve with an abundance of everything they needed to thrive, and he encouraged them to enjoy life to the fullest. He filled the garden with lavish varieties of food, not merely to sustain but to delight. He gave the couple each other and the gift of sexual relations, not merely to procreate but to savor the joys of unblemished intimacy. And then he gave them one more thing: something to do.

Adam and Eve were guided to a particularly lush part of God's newly formed world, and there he did two remarkable things, things he didn't do for any other created being. He blessed the couple and gave them responsibility. God said, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground" (Gen. 1:28; emphasis added).

God gave Adam and Eve a purpose for living. Purpose. That's just one more aspect of God's grace. He granted them second-in-command status as his vice-regents over all of creation. And along with that authority, he gave them the responsibility to subdue the earth. Put simply, they were to extend and maintain the order he had given the world. But he didn't give them any real guidelines. In fact, there was really only one rule. "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die" (Gen. 2:16-17 NASB). Lots of "yes" trees; just one "no" tree.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Grace of God by Andy Stanley Copyright © 2010 by Andy Stanley. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 60 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 29, 2012

    Brace yourself. Andy Stanley’s The Grace of God will chall

    Brace yourself. Andy Stanley’s The Grace of God will challenge all you’ve been taught about God’s grace.

    Concerned that, “Grace is often an early casualty in the world of organized religion,” and that we are “predisposed to the “thou-shalt-nots” of the Bible, Stanley deftly argues that “God’s expressions of grace” are by far “more innumerable than his requirements.”

    Stanley’s book clears the debris of theological misconceptions on the grace of God and humbly reminds us that “The church has been assigned the task of exposing our neighborhoods, communities, cities, states and world to the grace of God. This is our mission. This is our responsibility. There is no Plan B. We are it.”

    I loved this book. Written to theologians and laymen alike, The Grace of God, reads like a compelling novel and taps into the craving of every heart, calling God’s grace “bigger than compassion or forgiveness.”

    A pastor and son of nationally known, Dr. Charles Stanley, Andy skillfully blends his theological expertise with a humble candor that made this book easy to digest and embrace.

    From Eden to Eternity, Stanley builds an irrefutable biblical argument that grace is a universal gift to mankind. While at all times gracious, Stanley boldly exhorts the Body of Christ, saying that “churches talk about grace, singing about how “amazing” it is. But they create graceless cultures where only those who play by the rules feel welcomed.”

    Stanley skillfully loosens the grip on the doctrine of grace held jealously by organized religion: “If the church is God’s primary vehicle for dispensing the message of grace, then the local church is clearly not for church people. It’s for everybody.”

    Using a palatable blend of key biblical texts and a candid look into his personal discovery of God’s grace, Stanley sets a table of delicious truths I’ve never seen served together in a sermon series or in my personal scripture studies on this topic.

    But this book isn’t just all grace and no truth; nor does it rant and rave against the foundational doctrines of the church. Instead it resolves the “artificial” conflict between grace and truth “that throws so much of Christianity into disarray,” through spotlighting the incredible life of Jesus Christ who was “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).

    To the woman caught in adultery, writes Stanley, “Jesus didn’t try to balance grace and truth. He gave her a full dose of both.”

    Stanley warns, “Once we start shaving things off of grace or adding to it, it’s no longer grace.”

    I highly recommend reading The Grace of God by Andy Stanley. If you do, expect refreshment as your thirsty soul drinks in these clear truths, undiluted and delicious!
    ______
    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Highly Recommend

    Books reveals God's Grace down through the ages. Verifies grace is a gift not something you earn. We should follow God's example of giving grace to others. Enjoyed the book. Giving grace is something I need to practice.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    Book Review: Grace of God

    The grace of God is a precious commodity that we all long for yet struggle to understand. What is grace? How do we earn it? How do we give it to others? Even for long-time church attenders, the grace of God is often difficult to explain. The Grace of God by Andy Stanley is a great first step towards understanding.

    Beginning well in the beginning, Stanley walks through the pages of Scripture in understanding the grace of God. In so doing, he reminds readers that God's grace is not simply a New Testament concept but a Biblical truth. In his own effective writing style, he uses humor and personal illustration to drive these foundational principles home to the reader.

    The purpose of this book is to bring clarity from a biblical perspective regarding God's grace. To this end, Andy Stanley accomplishes his purpose.

    The Grace of God was an excellent read. Andy Stanley is one of the most effective communicators of our time. The use of Scripture was consistent throughout the entire book. I was engaged throughout the entire read.

    I give The Grace of God five out of five stars and I highly recommend this book for those who are new to faith in Christ or those who have been following Him for many years.

    ___
    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Thomas Nelson Publishers BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    The Grace Narrative

    I have heard it said that while you can learn a lot from the stories of the people in the Bible, since it is God's Word, it is God's story we should be paying attention to in its pages. This concept never came as alive to me, however, as it did while reading Andy Stanley's book, The Grace of God. Stanley's book takes the reader into God's story of grace in His book, The Bible, highlighting the narrative of grace that runs throughout the Old and New Testament. Almost a personal, heartfelt, accessibly-written Bible commentary, Stanley describes the God of grace who from Day 1 has been doling out grace unfairly and indiscriminately to people who don't deserve it. The Grace of God paints this picture through the retelling of Biblical stories from God's perspective. Stanley starts from the very beginning of creation, highlighting the grace that has been "God's pre-eminent characteristic from the very beginning" (p. 3). He then moves through story after story in the Old and New Testament that highlight God's promises to His people and the people's inability to negate His promises through sins/acts that deserve punishment. Even more challenging, though, is Stanley's grace-filled views of the stumbling blocks some have regarding the Ten Commandments (the law) and the death and destruction so evident in the Old Testament.

    Throughout the book, Stanley highlights key insightful phrases in bold, and these were so powerful/important that I plan to write them down so I can revisit them regularly. Each chapter provides the big picture of God's grace narrative, but also brings home the challenges we face seeing, understanding, applying, and living out grace today. Ultimately, it is a call to see the true nature of God, to accept the grace we cannot earn, and to extend that grace to ALL we come in contact with.

    NOTE: I received this book for free from BOOKSneeze, but the words of the review are my own.

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  • Posted September 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Okay Book, Not Deep, 2/3rds is Re-telling Old Testament stories

    This is a book that re-tells Old Testament bible stories and then interprets God's grace into the way God interacted with the humans in the stories. Each chapter takes a different bible story or multiple stories and then says "God dealt gracefully with humans" because they didn't deserve such merciful treatment.

    This book is a fast light read because we've heard the story of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Jospeh etc many times and 2-3rds of this book is the re-telling/paraphrasing these stories.

    Although the book paints a nice picture of a graceful God, I didn't find this book very deep. Example: Stanley takes the creation story and explains that God didn't have to make the world so beautiful - that was grace.. God didn't have to give Eve to Adam - that was grace. God could have destroyed Adam and Eve for the fall, but instead He allowed them to live outside of the garden - by grace.

    By the end of the book, I felt it was nice to see that ALL good things are undeserved, unearned and all come from the grace of God. I just wish this book could have had more depth and not been 2/3rds re-telling stories we already know by heart. I feel there are much better and deeper books that would bring us to reflect on the grace of God. This book was just kind of "blah" or "okay". You could easily go without having read it, it wouldn't go in my library and I would never recommend it to others. I'd say "read it if you want but it's only so-so".

    Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from the publisher but I am giving my honest review.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    The Grace of God

    Andy tackles the topic of Grace in this book. With 13 chapters he starts from the beginning of the bible. Andy takes the reader on a journey through scripture by highlighting well-known stories and points out God's grace. Stanley delivers his typically engaging content, while maintaining his approachable style. Stanley is also a master at pulling out the pearl of a passage. He by-passes a lot of good stuff. Instead, he focuses on the best. A good principle to live by. With grace, comes faith. Such a strong statement in such a uncertain world. Believe.

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  • Posted September 18, 2011

    An excellent modern study on grace

    Andy Stanley's The Grace of God is an excellent modern study on this pivotal aspect of our faith. All Christians can benefit from pursuing further understanding of God's grace. Stanley's down-to-earth writing style makes this book an approachable read even for the newest Christian while maintaining value for us all due to its important subject matter.

    While I enjoyed and would recommend this book, I wasn't wowed by any new revelations, though there were a few points to ponder. And that's okay. There is a lot out there about grace. Fortunately, it is not a subject typically ignored by Christian leaders and teachers. However, due to this influx of information on grace, it's easy to downplay or ignore some of its most important applications in our lives. This book is excellent in addressing this through its organization and approach. Stanley leads readers through Biblical stories, retelling them in everyday language to help the readers to see new viewpoints in such familiar content and highlight the most vital truths about the gift of God's grace. This book would make a fine edition to any Christian's library.

    I recieved a copy of this book for free from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my impartial review.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Discover the true gift of God's Grace

    THE GRACE OF GOD By Andy Stanley Grace is something we all strive for but none us ever deserves it and we are reluctant to share it with others. But what is grace, specifically God's Grace? Andy Stanley takes us on a journey through the Bible and time to show us that every act of God is part of His plan for Grace. His entire act of Creation was a gift of Grace. We did not have to have a separation between day and night or land and sea. God could have stopped with Adam but in His grace he did not leave Adam without a human relationship. In His plan for redemption He did not pick the most righteous individuals to fill Jesus' family tree. He picked those who were fallen and sinful. He chose the Judahs and the Rahabs for Jesus' lineage. God brought to light what most people would try to hide. In His grace He came to the sinful and the undeserving because if we deserve grace it is not grace. The Grace of God makes one realize how many times during a day one can extend God's grace to others. We should strive to be like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, we should openly rejoice when someone comes seeking a relationship with our Heavenly Father. We should not be like Jonah, doing everything we can to keep from sharing God's grace. God is merciful and He will accept anyone at anytime if they hold out their hand to Him and His gift of grace. We must always remember Grace is God's gift to us, we can never earn it and He offers it freely to all. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Book Sneeze® dot com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2011

    Interesting Reading

    The concept of "grace" is something that I've always struggled to fully understand. I have heard it discussed time and again, read verses (such as Ephesians 2:8), and been through Bible study courses. But the topic is one that continues to both perplex and inspire.


    This week I read The Grace of God by Andy Stanley, and probably not for the last time. He works step-by-step through the Bible, examining time and again how God's grace is revealed to us. Most of the examples were stories that we know well (Jonah) but revisiting them provides a change to re-examine.


    I liked how the tone of the book; Stanley has a conversational style that makes it easy to read. I imagine that the book will be read by Sunday school and Bible study groups, but it also makes good reading for anyone looking to further understand God's grace.

    I received this book at no charge from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    God's goodness

    Andy Stanley, author of Enemies of the Heart just released a book called "The Grace of God." This book is a book we could all use in our lives. Andy Stanley give clear scripture based approach on Grace. Andy uses a number of stories and people from the Bible to explore the grace of God. In many of these stores and scriptures we find how God has given an abundance amount of Grace to those who has sinned against God.
    This book continues to reinforce the idea that God doesn't care about what we do for him, (are works), but about who he is. Many of us put an emphasis on how much we tithe, pray, read our Bible, attend church, ect.. These things are all good and important to the Christian faith, but God doesn't want legalism and works-based faith, he wants our heart and want us to know him. He is a God of grace, love and compassion.
    While I enjoyed this book, I believe it isn't for the serious Christian wanting to grow deeper. I believe it is for someone new to the faith struggling with faith and works. Also, I believe Stanley focuses too much of this book on man and not on the mystery of God. Grace isn't just about humans, it's a gift from God, but its for his Glory, not ours. I think this book could be misinterpreted by new Christians. I think is a good reminder, but it wasn't as good as I expected it to be.
    This book was provided to me through booksneeze. This is my honest review and I was not compensated for it.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Refreshing

    The Grace of God by Andy Stanley I newly received The Grace of God by Andy Stanley in the mail. The book is very insightful and uplifting. It speaks to you about how God created the Earth just for us. God knew it would be good for us, which He done out of grace. Stanley walks us through the stories of Joseph, Moses, Jonah, all the way to the New Testament of where Jesus was on Earth. Stanley points out where grace seems to be hiding in all these books in the Bible. Stanley mentions that through God's grace, which we all need. God gives us something that we do not deserve. We all need God's grace, but not everyone will receive it, and we may feel this is unfair, but sometimes we do not want what we deserve. Stanley states, "Grace is the vehicle God uses on occasion to ensure that we get precisely what we don't deserve." I would recommend this book to Bible Study groups. We could all learn about God's grace and it would be a great discussion topic. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    The Grace of God

    Excellent book on God''s grace. Andy Stanly ey uses well known stiries throughout the Bible to explain God's grace. One of the caveats in this book is the way he brings together the God of the old & new testaments as the same God of grace.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    God's Grace what a Joy

    It has taken some time but I have finally had the opportunity to read this amazing book on God's grace by Andy Stanley. It is an excellent book and very encouraging especially if you are wondering how God can freely give such unconditional grace and love to us. I strongly encourage and recommend that you pick up a copy today and jump into the Grace that Gods want to freely give us. Andy Stanley helps to explain Gods Grace and express what God intended it to be in such a way that I couldn't help but to be filled with an over whelming feeling of love and grace, I began to realize that God wanted to give me His grace even when I thought there was no way I deserve or earn it. I read several parts over and give this book a whole hearted 2 thumbs up.

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  • Posted February 20, 2011

    The Grace of God - Andy Stanley

    I chose this book, thinking it would be different that it was. Overall, it was a quick read, even though it took me about a month to finish. My strongest point against it is that it lacks any real depth. It seemed to be a book that could have (and perhaps should have) been much shorter.

    It is also too lopsided with respect to grace. I fully understand the concept and criticality of grace vis-à-vis Christianity. But, that is not the only thing one has to realize when pondering their position with respect to God. I would say that coupled with grace is mercy. Most of the stores divulged within the book from the Bible could just as easily reflected God's (or Jesus') mercy on humanity in addition to, or in lieu of, grace.

    After about 3 chapters (my "grace" period for books), I was wishing for a different book. I cannot enumerate the number of times I picked up the book, and put it back down NOT wanting to read it. I am sorry, but I would not spend your money on this book.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    HIGHLY RECOMMEND

    It has been a long time since I have read such a powerful, insightful and doctrinal sound book on grace. A flow of ease to read and best O.T. explanation of where grace is found there and moves into the N.T. This should be required reading in every seminary and for everyone who takes the label of Christian. Software works great on Nook.

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  • Posted December 17, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    I received this book as part of Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program. Many people consider God as portrayed in the old testament to be vengeful compared with the picture of love displayed by Jesus. I find that quite puzzling. You don't need to read too far to find God offering forgiveness to those who don't deserve it. Andy Stanley starts in Genesis and works his way through the bible looking at how God has been offering grace to those who least deserve it from the time of Adam and Eve onwards. He also looks at how God's discipline shows His love for us.

    The church has often failed to show the world what grace really looks like. It's hard to give others grace and often we fall into the temptation of thinking we can earn God's favour instead a realising that firstly, we are always going to fall short and secondly we don't need to earn anything. Grace is what the world needs. In Andy Stanley's words:

    "Grace. It's what we crave most when our guilt is exposed. It's the very thing we are hesitant to extend when we are confronted with the guilt of others-especially when their guilt has robbed us of something we consider valuable.

    Therein is the struggle, the struggle for grace. It's this struggle that makes grace more story than doctrine. It's the struggle that reminds us that grace is bigger than compassion or forgiveness. That struggle is the context for both. When we are on the receiving end, grace is refreshing. When it is required of us, it is often disturbing. But when correctly applied, it seems to solve just about everything. This struggle is not new; it has been going on since the beginning."

    An excellent book. I'd highly recommend this for Christians and also to those who haven't yet grasped what a gift the grace of God really is.

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  • Posted December 6, 2010

    The Grace of God

    Product Description
    "Grace. It's what we crave most when our guilt is exposed. It's the very thing we are hesitant to extend when we are confronted with the guilt of others-especially when their guilt has robbed us of something we consider valuable.

    Therein is the struggle, the struggle for grace. It's this struggle that makes grace more story than doctrine. It's the struggle that reminds us that grace is bigger than compassion or forgiveness. That struggle is the context for both. When we are on the receiving end, grace is refreshing. When it is required of us, it is often disturbing. But when correctly applied, it seems to solve just about everything. This struggle is not new; it has been going on since the beginning."

    -Andy Stanley

    We find in the pages of Scripture that the stories found there often mirror our own stories, and that we too need the very thing we do not deserve: the grace of God.

    From the beginning, the church has had an uneasy relationship with grace. The gravitational pull is always toward graceless religion. The odd thing is that when you read the New Testament, the only thing Jesus stood against consistently was graceless religion. The only group he attacked relentlessly was graceless religious leaders.



    Even now as you think about grace, there might be a little voice in your head whispering, "It can't be that easy!"

    "What about obedience?"

    "What about disobedience?"

    "What about repeated misbehavior?"

    "What about bad habits?"

    "What about justice?"

    "What about repentance?"

    It's this tension that makes grace so slippery. But that's the beauty and the truth of grace. We don't deserve it. We can't earn it. It can't be qualified. But God gives it to us anyway because he loves us unconditionally.

    The story of grace is your story. And as you are about to discover grace plays a larger role than you imagine.

    This book is written in such a way that you will find yourself relating to every story, every situation, and every subject. It is encouraging, reaffirming, reassuring, and life-changing. You will weep as the words strike a chord in your own heart and rejoice as you realize that grace is a product of God's deep and everlasting love for all His children. You will learn that as He extends his grace to you, so should you extend grace to your neighbor. You will see the very nature of God spilled out onto every page; how His grace extends so far beyond our own reach and limited depth perception. You will see that He is a graceful and merciful God; the message is abundantly clear and unmistakable.

    I highly recommend putting this book at the very top of your must-read list. Even though I haven't yet finish it, I know that I have been blessed by the reading and will continue to be blessed as I absorb each word all the way to the end. In fact, I can't wait to dive into it again today!

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  • Posted November 20, 2010

    A beautiful book - must read!!

    Andy Stanley captures the essence of God's Grace beautifully in accordance with the Bible in his book 'The Grace Of God'.He explores the Grace that transformed the destinies of Judah,Rehab,David,Jonah,Matthew,Nicodemus,Paul and several other people from the Bible.The book opens up with an account of Grace in the beginning of the world.Andy highlights the theme of Grace through out the history right from the promises to Abraham to the nation of Israel...and first century church.

    The ultimate expression of Grace unfolds when God sends down His only beloved son to redeem a sin-stained human race just because He loved too much to let go.After receiving His Grace...how about reflecting the same in our own relationships?

    Grace is mostly misunderstood because it doesn't really fit in our 'you sow what you reap' world.Neither is it something to be earned or deserved.It is something that we receive by faith.

    This book consists of some wonderful thoughts and eternal truths.The author's practical approach towards the subject makes it easier to understand a fundamental yet basic-building block of faith.

    A huge applause to Andy .....

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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    HIS GRACE IS ALWAYS SUFFICIENT!

    The Grace of God is an extraordinary book that presents the grace of God in a new light. It brings clarity and understanding on how the grace of God is granted unto us, even when we are undeserving of His grace. God never break His promise and He's gracious to always fulfill His word. Thank You for showing us how amazing grace is to everyone, more so the endless love God continues to display in our lives. His grace is what keeps us from being exposed in our sins, yet God disperse forgiveness nonetheless. I definitely enjoyed this book for two reasons: it shows the grace that God gives and the documental proof of God's grace giving Spirit. I thank God that He supplies us all with grace to endure. This book is an inspiration and offers us guidance in understanding as well as appreciating God's grace.
    This book was a gift from Thomas Nelson for it's review.

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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    There are a lot of books on the topic of God's grace out there, but I am yet to find one that would make my eyes leak as much.

    There are a lot of books on the topic of God's grace out there, but I am yet to find one that would make my eyes leak as much. In several chapters devoted to various aspects of God's grace, Andy Stanley shows us the very heart of God as seen in how He has dealt with many a colorful character in the history of mankind. Right from the beginning ,with the story of creation and "the Earth being good" for mankind to live and prosper, through pre-Law stories of Abraham and Levi, whom - as pastor Stanley shows - God graciously led to relationship with Him and understanding how grace changes everything - we see examples of Old Testament figures who learnt to lean on God's grace. And we learn to right alongside them, dispelling the myth of grace being a New Testament-only concept. There are ample examples from New Testament as well. Levi/Matthew, the Syrophenician woman at the well and the thief on the cross all point us to the underlying truth of grace of God. God has done something for us to bring us back to relationship with Him just for the sake of having us back close to Him. This is the good news that Jesus offers. Unconditional acceptance that defiles human logic. You cannot read this book and stay the same. Best book of 2010 for me. And I read a lot. I'm thankful to Thomas Nelson Publishing for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book.

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