Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Extravagant Grace: God's Glory Displayed in Our Weakness by Barbara Duguid - REVIEWED

About the Book:  (from the publisher)
Why do Christians—even mature Christians—still sin so often? Why doesn’t God set us free? We seem to notice more sin in our lives all the time, and we wonder if our progress is a constant disappointment to God. Where is the joy and peace we read about in the Bible? Speaking from her own struggles, Barbara Duguid turns to the writings of John Newton to teach us a theology with a purpose for our failure and guilt—one that adjusts our expectations of ourselves. Her empathetic, honest approach lifts our focus from our own performance back to the God who is bigger than our failures—and who uses them. Rediscover how God’s extravagant grace makes the gospel once again feel like the good news it truly is!

My Thoughts:
“…Newton became an expert on “the anatomy soul” and took particular interest and jay in studying the progressive work of spiritual growth in believers, what theologians call “sanctification.”  Newton was captivated by what God teaches his children through the complex of sinners maturing in grace from the time of salvation onward.” 

Barbara Duguid explores the process of maturing in grace – or sanctification – in her book Extravagant Grace, and I know that believers will leave the pages of this book challenged, convicted and changed.  Using many passages from John Newton’s work, exploring Bible passages and examples from the lives those recorded in the Bible, Duguid makes a rather radical supposition:  “What is growing in grace is more about humility, dependence, and exalting Christ that it is about defeating sin?”  This is not a radical nor heretical thought.  It is an honest look at the fact that God is sovereign over every area of the Christians life, and despite the sinful choices made while living in this fallen world, God can use the consequences to draw us closer to Him and to bless and encourage others.

Many times believers and church leaders are afraid to admit that we are not sinless from the moment we are saved.  In fact, this sanctification is an ongoing work that is never complete until we reach heaven.  I love this thought: “If the job of the Holy Spirit is to make you more humble and dependent on Christ, more grateful for his sacrifice and more adoring of Him as a wonderful Savior, then he might be doing a very, very good job even though you still sin every day.”  And it is so true!  Sin is ever present in our thoughts, our actions, our motives our words…to some degree.  More and more, as we mature in our faith we are quicker to run to Christ and seek forgiveness in genuine repentance when temptation comes our way.  We are more able and willing to recognize our weaknesses and bring them to Christ and rest in His finished work on the cross and His strength.

Extravagant Grace is a beautiful book!  The study questions at the end of every chapter give you reason to pause and digest what you have read and to grow in God’s abundant grace poured out for you!!  I will close with another thought from the book: “Jesus invited us to live lives of joy and rest at the same time as we pursue the hard work of striving to obey God and grow in holiness (Matt 11: 28-30).  I know many Christians who are trying hard to be holy, but few who are able to balance that hard work with joyful resting at the same time.”  Amen?  Amen!! 

This would make a wonderful, deep and meaningful Bible study for any believer!! I have been richly blessed by this book!!

About the Author:
Barbara Duguid is a counselor and ministry assistant at Christ Presbyterian Church (ARP) in Grove City, Pennsylvania, where she crafts the weekly liturgy. She is a pastor’s wife and the mother of six children, and she holds an advanced certificate in biblical counseling from the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

1 comment:

Bill Peck 1958 said...

This is a fantastic book, a real eye opener for me. I don't hear much of this type of assessment in my church or in general from pastors.