What’s So Amazing About Grace (book review)

Philip Yancey calls grace “the last best word,” and I quite agree. What’s So Amazing About Grace is a challenging read because it is so painful. The truth of our almost daily practice of ungrace is confronting and convicting.

Throughout this book I wanted to say, “I’m glad I don’t behave that way.” And then I’d get a quick glance of myself in the mirror and realize how easily I slip into the same ungraceful behavior I despise. I so desperately want to be a grace-filled man.

Here are just a few of the passages that I’m meditating on, and trying to apply to my life:

  • “I yearn for the church to become a nourishing culture of grace.”
  • “Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: you become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are. How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible’s astounding words about God’s love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?”
  • “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” (Dorothy Day)
  • “In a brilliant stroke Jesus replaces the two assumed categories, righteous and guilty, with two different categories: sinners who admit and sinners who deny.”
  • “Grace substitutes a full, childlike and delighted acceptance of our Need, a joy in total dependence. We become ‘jolly beggars.’” (C.S. Lewis)
  • “Having spent time around ‘sinners’ and also around purported ‘saints,’ I have a hunch why Jesus spent so much time with the former group: I think He preferred their company. Because the sinners were honest about themselves and had not pretense, Jesus could deal with them. In contrast, the saints put on airs, judged Him, and sought to catch Him in a moral trap. In the end it was the saints, not the sinners, who arrested Jesus.”

If you are challenged about living grace-filled in an increasingly grace-less society, you will find ample help in reading this book.

8 Responses to “What’s So Amazing About Grace (book review)”

  1. Craig T. Owens Says:

    One of the stories Philip Yancey tells that simply infuriates me is that of an encounter a social worker had with a prostitute in Chicago. When the social worker asked her if she ever thought about going to church, she blurted out, “Church! Why would I ever go there? I already feel terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse.”

    The part that infuriates me is that for many people, this is their perception of church and Christians. We have become more known for what we’re against than what we’re for… more known for keeping the rules than for healing broken people… more for being a social club than a hospital.

    WE CAN DO BETTER. let me restate that: We MUST do better. Will you join me in this endeavor?



  2. Steve Says:

    Count me in !!! btw… Craig, you are more than welcome at New Hope Assembly anytime…


  3. Amber Says:



  4. Karen Says:

    count me in!!!


  5. stephanie vazquez Says:

    I LOVE this book—It put a whole new perspective on how I treat people–I used to be much more judgemental of people–thinking it was my ‘spiritual’ job–that if I continued to forgive someone I was just accepting their sin. But WOW–when I looked at my own life and saw how Christ forgave me over and over and over…we are to be like HIM right? It’s not for me to judge but to LOVE and be a help, a burden sharer, an encourager and to Pray, Pray, Pray for a fallen or struggling Christian. I read this book about 5 years ago and it really was a turning point in my christian walk.


  6. Ron Krumpos Says:

    GRACE. Divine grace is spiritual assistance not specifically earned by its recipient. Most mystics believe that divine grace is offered at all times, in all places and to all beings, but the sentiments, thoughts and actions of the ego self, and individual isolation, block its entry. Everyone has received divine grace during selfless periods of their life. Mystics who gave up their ego and individuality were in a state of grace and may share it. Most mystics say that grace is essential to realize oneness; some
    seem to equate divine grace, love and spirit.

    “…essential foundations of Orthodox spirituality. The aim of man’s life is union with God (henosis) and deification (theosis). The Greek Fathers have used the term “deification” to a greater extent than the Latins. What is meant is not, of course, a pantheistic identity, but a sharing, through grace, in the divine life. Union with God is the perfect fulfillment of the “kingdom” announced by the Gospel, and of that charity or love which sums up all the Law and Prophets. ‘We are made sons of God’ says St. Athanasius.” C

    “God’s grace is the beginning, middle and the end. When you pray for God’s grace, you are like someone standing neck deep in water and yet crying for water.” Ramana Maharishi H

    “God continually showers the fullness of his grace on every being in the universe, but we consent to receive it to a greater or lesser extent.” Simone Weil J/C

    “The deified person, while remaining completely human in nature…becomes wholly in God in both body and soul, through grace and the divine brightness of the beatifying glory that permeates the whole person.” Maximus the Confessor C

    “May I be far removed from contending creeds and dogmas. Ever since my Lord’s grace entered my mind, My mind has never strayed to seek such distractions.” Milarepa B

    “One cannot see God without His grace. …to receive the grace of God one must renounce egotism; one cannot see God as long as one feels “I am the doer.” Ramakrishna H

    (Quoted from my e-book at http://www.suprarational.org )


    • Craig T. Owens Says:

      I believe the best definition of grace is the acrostic: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. You stated, “Everyone has received divine grace during selfless periods of their life,” which I do not believe is grace. Grace is the unmerited, unearned favor of God. I cannot earn my way into God’s favor. I can only be a recipient of God’s favor because of the work Jesus Christ did on the Cross. At Christ’s expense the blessings of God can be mine. I cannot earn grace; I can only recieve it.


  7. Ron Krumpos Says:

    Please read that sentence again in the context of my entire post. “Received” does not mean earned, just to be the recipient. “Selfless” does not refer to unselfish acts, rather it is to be without self.

    Our selfish ego, separate individuality and concentration on self may block Christ’s grace, God’s love and the Holy Spirit. Grace is mentioned on 15 pages of my e-book and cannot be summarized in a blog post. I am not disagreeing, just using other words.


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