I’m not sure how many books fit into my Top Five list. I think I know what the answer should be, but sometimes that’s impossible.
At any rate here’s one of them. Bryan Chapell’s Holiness by Grace was another right-book-at-the-right-time for me. I had read his Christ-Centered Preaching for a class during my first year of seminary and was particularly helped by his instruction on a redemptive focus in preaching. So when I saw Holiness by Grace at Barnes and Noble, I picked it up. I’m glad I did.
Chapell begins the book by talking about two opposite errors Christians commit when thinking about holiness. On the one hand, we are tempted to believe that our good works earn us more favor with God. Thus the danger of legalism. On the other hand, we are tempted to believe that, since salvation is all of grace, obedience is nice but not necessary. Thus the danger of licentiousness.
Chapell wisely avoids saying that the answer is to be found in some sort of “balance” between the two errors. Instead, he reminds us that the answer, as always, is the gospel. He then proceeds to unfold the Scripture’s teaching on sanctification in a way that is accessible, well-illustrated, and helpfully applied. It isn’t the easiest book to read; I’d call it mid-level for the average believer. Then again, holiness isn’t the easiest thing in the world either. And isn’t it worth the time and effort to understand the Scriptures so that our lives might more and more be conformed to the image of our Savior?
Amazon is offering Holiness by Grace for just $3.03. That’s a steal. I’ve mentioned before that you don’t have to have a Kindle or iPad to take advantage of this book. If you’ve got a computer, you can benefit from this deal. (OK, if you just have to have a hard copy, buy it here for a discounted price of $11.69.)
Buy it. Read it. Meditate on it. And let the grace of the gospel inspire you to live and die for the glory of your Savior.
By the way, Chapell’s book on worship is also very helpful.