Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God’s Unfailing Love. By Jerry Bridges. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1991. 207 pp. Cloth, $14.95.
Very few things catch the attention of modern man more than the offer of something free. When we hear the phrase “free, no strings attached,” our first reaction is usually healthy skepticism. Most of us believe that “there’s no free lunch.”
In his latest book, Transforming Grace, Jerry Bridges offers his readers a truly appealing look at this matter of Free Grace. Most readers of JOTGES should have no trouble accepting Bridges’s views concerning salvation by grace through faith alone. He devotes the greater part of the first eight of this thirteen-chapter book to an in-depth examination of this controversial concept of grace.
Although Bridges skillfully discusses at length the aspects of salvation by grace, the book is directed primarily at the practical implications of such a salvation. Once the sinner is transformed into a saint by God’s grace, how then should the new life be lived? Bridges rightly contends that once a person has crossed over the line and becomes one of God’s children, he or she is often placed by other Christians (subtly, of course) under the burden of living up to an unwritten code of conduct and performance reminiscent of the spirit of the Pharisees.
Bridges’s previous books (The Pursuit of Holiness, The Practice of Godliness, and Trusting God) should dispel any fears that he advocates a libertine lifestyle. The author makes it clear that we are called to live a holy life. Bridges’s main problem with what many Christians today call holy living is that it is nothing more than a refined version of legalism that places people on a never-ending treadmill of performance. One of the most significant points he makes is the reiteration of Jesus’ statement: “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). By His grace we are saved and by His grace we live, minister, and, according to our faithful service, will someday receive our final rewards.
There are three groups who should read this book: unbelievers, new believers, and veteran believers. Within its pages, the reader will find an attractive portrait of the God who makes the only bona fide offer of real freedom to anyone who will take it-with no strings attached. This is must reading for all those truly seeking to know the Lord as He wants to be known.
Barry V. Goodgion