Sometimes, you run across books that are life-changing. Those books help the thoughts that define you evolve. They grab you and pull you in and explain things in a way that makes the muddy things of life clear. Today, I’m thankful to share one of those books with you.
The name of the book is Grace – Simply Incredible, Incredibly Simple by Dan Winkler. He is an author who’s good at doing big things with short, concise books. If you know him at all (even anecdotally), that makes a lot of sense since he’s an eloquent preacher, a good Bible class teacher, and a fine author. He does something many of us long to do, he gets to the point without getting lost and without unpacking everything it took to get there.
Grace is a simple book. It only contains four chapters (that are each roughly 20 pages). They each highlight a point about the topic that builds upon the main idea presented in the subtitle – grace is incredibly simple while being simply incredible. While I don’t want to give away everything, I’ll share a short review of each chapter here today.
In chapter 1, Winkler sets out to define grace. It’s entitled “The Face of Grace” and it contains just 2 sections. The first is entitled “Devotion – Grace is God’s Devotion to Man.” In this section, he describes the work of mercy, love, and kindness in God’s care for His children. When you add them up they equal grace, God’s devotion to us. The second section is entitled “Motion – Grace is Jesus in Motion with Man.” Expanding upon the first section in this chapter, Winkler shows how Jesus was full of grace and therefore, also full of love, mercy, and kindness. The repetition might seem childish until you realize how well it reinforces both sides of God’s grace – what it is and how it works.
Chapter 2 is entitled “The Showcase of Grace,” and it zooms in to show the readers what recipients of grace looked like in Scripture. He explores the examples of Rahab, Samson, Mary Magdalene, and Peter. He compares them to the trophies we often see at schools and universities. They are trophies that demonstrate God’s grace and their examples clearly enforce the ideas of chapter 1.
Chapter 3 is called “The Taste of Grace.” This chapter takes a different approach than many are used to but describes grace in a way everyone can understand. It describes grace as a meal and supposes what each part of the meal would look like. As it describes the appetizer (God’s Word of Life), the main course (Jesus’ Abundant Life), and the dessert (Hope’s Eternal Life), we begin to see how each of us is served at God’s “Feast of Faith.” While it seems strange at first, the ideas become clear as you read along. In the first section, Winkler explains how the Old Testament and the New Testament set the stage, ready us for the main meal and introduce us to the life of Jesus. When moving to the main course, He describes Jesus this way in an excerpt from page 62:
He is from grace (Hebrews 2:9). He brought grace (John 1:17). He offers grace (Romans 3:24,5:15). And, when He comes again, guess what’s He’s bringing with him? Grace (1 Peter 1:13).
The dessert is literally the “hope of eternal life” that comes from this feast.” It is the reward of grace, a life that lasts beyond this world. For those of us who’ve enjoyed many meals with our family and friends, this is an all-to-familiar and somewhat poetic description of God’s grace in our lives.
Chapter 4 wraps everything up with this question, “will grace overlook my behavior?” It’s entitled “The Disgrace of Grace,” and I personally found it to be the best chapter in the entire book. Winkler makes a wonderful point on page 74 that he expands later:
We disgrace God’s grace by living as if there are: (1) No rules keeping us from doing what we want to do, or (2) Nothing but rules, keeping us from doing what we could do.
This chapter, though it is short, packs a punch for anyone who’s never come to terms with what grace really looks like in their life. He finishes it with a powerful statement on page 84:
We need everything God’s grace is and everything His grace makes possible.
I’m thankful for this short book and wholeheartadly encourage you to get it today. It’s short, profound, easily understood, and quite simply, incredible. I’ve sat and listened to Dan Winkler many times before so this might make me a bit prejudiced, but I believe this is better than any other book I’ve ever read about grace before. While there’s much to respect about Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace? and Kyle Idelman’s Grace is Greater, they don’t hold a candle to this simple, short, amazing book about grace. Do yourself a favor, pick it up as soon as possible.