Book Review: “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” by Philip Yancey (1997)

Grace has been a hot topic for me lately, because a few years ago I finally began to understand it. For the longest time I had been using the excuse that a term like “grace” was vague and impossible to understand, much like other Christian words such as “fellowship,” “relationship,” and “love.” I don’t really recall exactly when the term “grace” hit home for me, but it did not come from reading a textbook or listening to a song. It came from reading passages of Scripture like Romans 3:23-26 or Romans 5:12-19, because God’s Holy Spirit alone has the power to illumine my mind, not men. What is wonderful, however, is that when God does illumine me through His Word, He then uses the writings of men to help me understand even more. And that is sort of what I found from reading Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing about Grace?

Yancey approaches the idea of “grace” first by experimenting with a whole host of relative words through a root-word study. But even after touching on many of the nuances of grace, he still concludes that grace is something better displayed that explained or defined. Thus, with the help of a myriad of anecdotes and segments from literature, Yancey embarks on a illustrative journey through the idea of grace. And what a great journey it ends up being.

While Yancey does touch often on how grace can and should be displayed amongst individuals, his main focus is the grace that is displayed from God to men through the sacrifice of Jesus. The main problem for most believers with regards to grace is thinking that along with grace comes a freedom to sin. Answering such idiocy was Paul’s focus throughout Romans 6 and 7, and this is one fallacy that, when one simply sits down and considers the implications of it, would drive any level-headed believer to echo Paul and say: “God forbid!” Yancey compares this ridiculous mindset of grace-equals-freedom-to-sin to that of a husband, freshly married, who asks his new bride on their wedding night: “All right, now that we’re married, I’d like to play around with some other women. How much can I get away with?” The assumption of grace than many ignorant Christians hold would really make one sick.

I would recommend this book to any new or long-time believer who needs a re-fresher in the meaning of grace. This book is sure to light a fire under you.

©2012 E.T.

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2 Responses to Book Review: “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” by Philip Yancey (1997)

  1. Philip Yancey says:

    Thanks, Eliot. I wrote that book more than 10 years ago, but Grace is timeless, right?
    Philip Yancey

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