Grace Abounding To The Chief Of Sinners (book review)

One of my favorite books is Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. I just finished reading Bunyan’s autobiography called Grace Abounding To The Chief Of Sinners, so now I cannot wait to read Pilgrim’s Progress again!

John Bunyan’s autobiography is almost solely focused around how he became a Christian, and then how he defended himself against the Church of England after he became a follower of Jesus Christ.

At times Bunyan’s account of his struggle with his self-doubts about whether God would ever receive a sinner such as himself are absolutely heart-wrenching. He clung so desperately to the Scriptures that said God wanted to forgive him, and yet beat himself up with other Scriptures that talked about the vileness of sin. He felt that his sin had so wounded God, that he was unsure if he could ever be forgiven.

In a way, I found this quite refreshing. It reminded me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s warning against “cheap grace,” where far too many people trivialize the high price Christ paid on the Cross. But John Bunyan acutely felt his sin.

So once he finally received God’s forgiveness, he was a changed man who wanted to tell the world about his Savior. Unfortunately for the time in which he lived, his message of salvation wasn’t “sanctioned” by the Church of England, which landed him in jail for over a decade. The second-half of his autobiography is a play-by-play account of his interaction with the judges who tried and sentenced him. In this account, we read the words of a man who thoroughly knew Scripture, and knew how to use it!

It’s a fascinating biography, which I think any reader will enjoy.

One Response to “Grace Abounding To The Chief Of Sinners (book review)”

  1. Craig T. Owens Says:

    Here’s a sample from this book that shows the passionate spiritual battle that shaped John Bunyan.

    “But oh! ’twas hard for me now, to have the face to pray to this Christ for mercy, against Whom I had thus most vilely sinned: ’twas hard work, I say, to offer to look Him in the face, against Whom I had so vilely sinned; and indeed, I have found it as difficult to come to God by prayer, after backsliding from Him, as to do any other thing. Oh! the shame that did now attend me! especially when I thought, I am now a-going to pray to Him for mercy, that I had so lightly esteemed but a while before! I was ashamed; yea, even confounded, because this villany had been committed by me: but I saw that there was but one way with me; I must go to Him, and humble myself unto Him, and beg that He, of His wonderful mercy, would show pity to me, and have mercy upon my wretched sinful soul. Which, when the tempter perceived, he strongly suggested to me, That I ought not to pray to God, for prayer was not for any in my case; neither could it do me good, because I had rejected the Mediator, by Whom all prayers came with acceptance to God the Father; and without Whom, no prayer could come into His presence: wherefore now to pray, is but to add sin to sin; yea, now to pray, seeing God has cast you off, is the next way to anger and offend Him more than you ever did before. For God (saith he) hath been weary of you for these several years already, because you are none of His; your bawlings in His ears, hath been no pleasant voice to Him; and therefore He let you sin this sin, that you might be quite cut off; and will you pray still?”


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