How does one grow in their Christian faith? Is it by our efforts, God’s work, or a myriad of influences that impact our lives? Bryan Chapell presents a compelling case to see our Christian growth both founded in God’s grace and empowered by God’s grace. In other words, even in our sanctification, we do not use our good works as a means of earning God’s favor. God, through the sending of his Son, has given us the acceptance that we need through the Son’s finished work.
Chapell returns again and again to the Gospel message for the motivation for obedience. Throughout the entirety of the work, he calls believers to pursue obedience out of love for the Lord. Only grace can make a heart of stone love that which it previously hated. Chapell calls this “heart chemistry,” citing John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
While I am incredibly thankful for the resurgence of “Gospel-centered” material, pastors and authors are sometimes afraid to call people to true, biblical obedience. In this regard, Chapell does not follow suite, rather, he blazes a “gracious path” (ch. 15) whereby the believer is commanded to believe in the identity of the Gospel. Rather than seeing grace as the replacement of law, Bryan beautifully gives a holistic picture of Christian discipleship, one that includes rest and work. Honestly, this emphasis was refreshing as the Bible often does command us to pursue good works and love the law of our Lord.
Chapell does many wonderful things in this work as he challenges readers to grow in the Gospel biblically, contextually, Spiritually, and dependently. He has particularly helpful chapters on finding grace within each page of Scripture (ch. 13), legalism (ch. 14), the reality of hell (ch. 20), and our experience and status as believers when we sin (ch. 21). In many ways, this book has grounded in my hope in the Gospel, pulling me again to the foot of the Cross.
Practically, this book is readable and easily digestible. The chapters are short and concise, the language is biblically saturated, and the tone is gracious and inviting. This book could be of help to both a new believer and a seasoned saint since Chapell leads us back to the finished work of Christ time and time again. In a lot of ways, there is nothing “new” or “special” about this work, because the message of the Gospel and how we change has not changed. At the same time, Chapell’s work is insightful into the problems that we face today, grounding his words in the wisdom of Scripture.
I received this copy free from Crossway in partnership with their Blog Review program. I was not required to write a positive review.