Here’s a book recommended by Mark Oshman, and I’m certainly glad that he did. I’m trying to get this review posted before Mark posts his. It’s the little things…
“The gospel is not really the gospel unless it is a gospel of grace; in other words, the gospel is only good news if it announces what God has done to save sinners.” James Montgomery Boice and Philip Ryken, as quoted in Proof.
The subtitle of Proof speaks more on this book than anything I can write could do: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace. This is a book about the grace of God in relation to our salvation and sanctification. This is all about grace. Grace, grace, grace.
The premise of the book is quite interesting: the authors examine the doctrines of grace, commonly called the Five Points of Calvinism through the acronym TULIP. Looking at our salvation through this lens of these “updated” points of PROOF focus more on the beauty of grace rather than focusing on loaded words and phrases.
This isn’t your father’s Calvinism.
According to Montgomery and Jones, here are the five “points” of Proof:
- Planned Grace re-envisions limited atonement and we begin here because the story of grace begins with a perfect plan in eternity past.
- Resurrecting Grace re-envisions total depravity. Everyone is born spiritually dead.
- Outrageous Grace re-envisions unconditional election. God saves us not because we’ve earned it or deserve it, but because He freely chooses us at Christ’s expense.
- Overcoming Grace re-envisions irresistible grace. God works in the lives of his chosen people to transform their rebellion into surrender so that they freely repent and recognize Christ as the risen King.
- Forever Grace re-envisions perseverance of the saints. God seals his people with his Holy Spirit so that they are preserved and persevere in faith until the final restoration of God’s kingdom on the earth. (http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2014/06/03/proof-an-interview-with-daniel-montgomery-and-timothy-paul-jones/)
“By God’s grace, we get what someone else paid for. By grace, God helps those who not only can’t help themselves, they don’t even want to. By grace, what goes around stops at the foot of the cross, never to come around again. What you need isn’t a better purpose, another prayer, or one more plan for self-improvement. What you need is what we all need — to “wake up” to God’s wonderful and undeserved love. You need to wake up to the freedom and joy of what God — on his own — has accomplished for us in Jesus” (17).
This is an excellent primer on Reformed theology, but more importantly, of God’s loving pursuit of lost sinners. It is biblical truth that we need to hear again and again and again. Too often, churches preach the gospel to “get you saved,” then never preach it again. This is the gospel message clearly given that can offer hope, encouragement, strength, and joy. At this current time in my life, I am not hearing this message as much or as clearly as I need to hear it, so reading this was such refreshment for my parched soul. I think this can be for yours as well.
I can’t recommend this enough, but I do wish I bought the physical book rather than the Kindle version. There are several charts and graphs that just don’t work on an e-reader.
“Tolle lege,” and, as the subtitle tells us, find freedom through the intoxicating joy of irresistible grace.
Proof website resources: http://proofofgrace.com/resources/