Friday, August 23, 2019

What's So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey

What’s so Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey. I read this book years ago, and again recently. I wanted to share some of the ideas here.

Is grace the aroma our church gives out to the world? Is that what they think of when they think of Christians?

Remember how much Jesus loves you. Like a shepherd who would leave ninety-nine sheep alone to look for the one who was lost. He is the doctor come for the sick, not the well; for sinners, not the righteous.

There is nothing I can do to make God love me more. There is nothing I can do to make him love me less. He already loves me as much as an infinite God can.

What is so amazing about grace? It’s unfair, unnatural, scandalous. Yet it heals. And the wounds that grow in us when we do not offer forgiveness to others who have hurt us sour and crush us.

In the Lord’s prayer, Matthew 6, Jesus says we must forgive as God has forgiven us. That’s not as scary as it sounds. Because truly, we can only forgive with his help, and he will help us if we ask.

God requires us to forgive, not just to benefit the person who wronged us, but because when I forgive another, I let myself out of the prison of bitterness I’ve kept myself locked up in. God wants that peace for us.

On the cross, Jesus forgave people who had not asked for forgiveness, who had not repented. That is a beautiful example for us.

Philip Yancey told many stories of unbelievable, scandalous forgiveness.

He gives an excellent chapter about how Christians who Scripturally disagree with homosexuality still show love to the people they disagree with. He talks about repentance and forgiveness for racism and other deadly sins against whole peoples.

In this world, we may not see large amounts of forgiveness happen in our lifetime. But we can let it happen one person at a time with those we’ve wronged and with those who have wronged us.

Forgiveness for personal one to one sin may take years, but God is patient and gentle in how he deals with us.

Grace abuse. Romans chapters 6 and 7.

Should we sin more to make grace abound? No, we died to sin. So we should no longer give it life.

Romans 7:24-25: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Legalism. He talked about how through the years, believers have added extra rules to God’s laws and rules. Jesus spoke much against this hypocrisy. The alternatives to hypocrisy are only perfection and honesty. Since we cannot be perfect, our only hope is honesty, being honest with God about our sin, repenting, and finding his grace.

Matthew 23:23: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Legalism has always been a struggle for me, using rules to pressure myself and also others.

Over the years, I have caused myself so much pain from trying to be perfect with the rules I set for myself to be right with God. Reading this book reminded me that I also laid that kind of legalism on others, including my children. I pray now that they will learn more of how much God loves them, and that they will find that love and grace as the way to direct their lives.

The highest duty of Christians is to give grace. Because we have received, and still receive daily, so much grace.

As the church, Jesus’s body on earth, people in need should gather to us, just as people in need, sinners, hurting people, gathered around Jesus when he lived on earth.

Jesus, who never sinned, never treated sinners with disgust. Instead he welcomed them and offered them grace. Like the woman at the well in John 4, instead of turning from her or treating her with disgust, he treated her as a person who was really thirsty.

Yancey suggests we might do the same with those we have trouble with or disagree with. I pray this will become a natural part of my life.


  1. Such a wonderful reminder! Thank you!

  2. Philip Yancey, eh?
    Many years ago I read this.
    His description meant much to me then, so I read every word of you reminder.
    Grace is still marvelous.
    Thank you!

    1. Yes, marvelous grace, which touches me every day.

  3. Great reminder about this awesome attribute of God, bestowed on and injected into all believers -- Grace. The gift we've been given that unlocks our heart toward others, and frees us and them. Thanks, Kathy! <3

  4. I read this book years ago also. Grace was taught at Grace Encounter in K.C. We also need to give ourselves grace & not listen to old tapes of what we’ve done.

  5. Excellent post. It opened my eyes and warmed my heart.