BY GRACE ALONE: HOW THE GRACE OF GOD AMAZES ME, by Sinclair B. Ferguson

Published on February 14, 2019 by Joshua R Monroe

Reformation Trust, 2010 | 132 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance

By Benjamin Montoya

 

About the Author

Dr. Sinclair B. Ferguson in senior minister of the historical First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C. He also serves as a professor in systematic theology at Redeemer Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas, as a visiting professor in the doctor of ministry program at Ligonier Academy of Biblical and Theological Studies, and as a teaching fellow of Ligonier Ministries. A graduate of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, he serves on the council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and is a trustee of the Banner of Truth Trust. Dr. Ferguson is the author of some two dozen books, including In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel-Centered Life, The Holy Spirit, Grow in Grace, and Let’s Study Philippians. His writing interests have ranged from works of scholarship to books for children. He has served as minister of two congregations in Scotland, one on Unst, the most northerly inhabited island in the United Kingdom, and the other at the center of Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. Dr. Ferguson and his wife, Dorothy, have three sons and a daughter.

 

Introduction  

God’s grace is truly amazing. God’s grace is also something that should continue to amaze us throughout our lives. We experience an initial change by God’s grace and continue to depend on it for the rest of our lives. We need God’s grace, in fact. When we face the devil’s attempt to defeat us and brainwash us with poor theology, we need God’s grace to help us fight. Consider Sinclair Ferguson’s book to learn more.

 

In This Book, You Will Learn:

  • Why God’s grace is amazing
  • How God’s grace relates to spiritual warfare
  • How God’s grace provides a much needed guaranteed security

 

The Larger Contribution of This Book:

Christians affirm that we are saved by God’s grace alone. God’s grace that saved us is also the grace that is saving us and will save us. We need it always. Ferguson’s book rightly reminds us of the reality of the battle and struggles we face so that we can continue to live by God’s grace alone as we trust in him all-the-more.

 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1  My Chains Fell off
Chapter 2  Unconditional Love
Chapter 3  At God’s Expense
Chapter 4  A Great Exchange
Chapter 5  Guaranteed Security
Chapter 6  Delivered from Evil
Chapter 7  True Freedom

 

Chapter 1: My Chains Fell off

When we think of the grace and how amazing it really is, the words of Charles Wesley, now popularized in Chris Tomlin’s version of “Amazing Grace,” come to mind: “My chains fell off, my heart was free,/ I rose, went forth and followed thee.” The grace of God is amazing because it helps us understand the situation we were in and what we experience now.

We were in bondage to sin. Recall the words of Christ to the Pharisees and all who heard him speak to them, “’Most assuredly, I say to you,’ Jesus said, ‘whoever commits sins is a slave of sin’” (John 8:34). Sinning is a form of slavery because sinners can do nothing other than sin; they are bound to it by their very desires. “We do not become sinners by committing specific acts” of sin; rather, we sin because we are sinners. We are in bondage to our sin. Sin puts changes on our minds, desires, and wills. Recall how King David described it, “I was sinful… from the time my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51: 5, NIV). When many people hear of their bondage to sin, they say to themselves, “I will try to do better.” The problem is that when we are in bondage to sin, we can never do better. We can only sin and nothing else. As a result, we deserve nothing but judgment and wrath from God. This creates a rather negative image of us. But, there is good news!

The gospel teaches us that if we embrace Christ by faith and repent of our sins then we can experience freedom from our bondage. “Jesus Christ is able to set us free because He has dealt with the sin that enslaves us.” Christ died on the cross to bear God’s wrath for our sin. Christ defeated the power of sin on the cross. Those who are united to him by faith receive this freedom from their sin. For the first time, they can say, “No!” to their sin. Whatever the sin may be and however long someone has struggled with it, in Christ, they can finally obey God by faith. It is as the hymn says:

O how the grace of God
Amazes me!
It loosed me from my bonds
And set me free!
What made it happen so?
His own will, this much I know,
Set me, as now I show,
At liberty.

God’s amazing grace in Christ provides this freedom. But, what is this grace based on? Chapter 2 will consider this point further.

 

Chapter 2: Unconditional Love

God’s unconditional love is at the root of God’s grace shown to sinners. As we look to the Scriptures, this point comes forth repeatedly. For example, the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15 provides a good example. This parable teaches both positive and negative lessons.

Positively, this parable showcases the grace of God that should be celebrated. When the younger brother returns after realizing the foolishness of his ways and his father runs and embraces him, there is much to be celebrated. Although his son no longer thought himself worthy to be called and treated as a son, his father showered grace upon him by treating him with royalty.

Negatively, it can show who is not really a Christian. If someone claims to be a Christian yet does not celebrate when the needy and sinful people come to Christ, then they will have a hard time living in a way that matches their profession of faith. Jesus told. . .

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By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me

Reformation Trust, 2010 | 132 pages

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