Grace is Greater | Book Review Mar 8, 2017

Grace is Greater Book Review - Book Cover
Grace is Greater; Kyle Idleman; 2017; Baker Books; 192

Justice is all about getting the bad you deserve. Mercy is not getting the bad you deserve. Grace is getting the good you dont deserve. The world can comprehend the first two. But grace is sometimes difficult to comprehend. On one hand we are quick to receive any good we do not deserve. We are easy to accept grace. But we struggle with the difficult idea of giving that same good to those that do not deserve it. Especially when it is those that cause deep hurt and pain in our own lives. Kyle Idleman attempts to explain not only the concept of grace, but the greatness of it. Grace is Greater is Idleman's fifth book released on February 28, 2017.

The title was inspired by Romans 5:15 which states, But there is a great difference between Adams sin and Gods gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is Gods wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. Our past and our pain does not hold a candle to the life Jesus offers us. A beautiful aspect of grace is the cancellation of debts; And when it comes to sin, we are all in debt.

The cover has a predominate blue colour. with a yellow painted mathematical greater than sign. This chevron symbol is raised on the cover giving the allusion of yellow paint. As for the contents, Grace is Greater consists of 3 parts and 10 chapters. These chapters speak on grace being greater than our mistakes, hurts, and circumstances. Whatever pain, failure, anger, or remorse we face, Idleman proposes that grace is far more powerful than those areas that try to cripple us.

The stories Idleman shares of his own life are his most vulnerable. From rediscovering a difficult part of his past that put him to tears, to the confrontation of an angry stranger. From forgiving a large unpaid loan by a relative, to even the near death of his baby daughter. Idleman reveals a raw side of himself that we have not seen before.

There are many stories in the Bible that revolve around grace. Idleman mentions a few of them such as Jesus offering the woman at the well a new life rather than her current life of prostitution. There was also Peter who despite denying Jesus three times, Jesus instead erases those regrets that imprisoned Peter.

Outside of the Bible, there are some unbelievable jaw dropping stories Idleman shares on grace in action. One story is of parents who chose to build a relationship with the drunk driver that killed their son. He chose to follow Jesus and those same parents baptized him. Another story is of a former missionary that worked in the Belgian Congo leading a little boy to Jesus. He thought nothing came out his work decades ago. But his work actually translated to that little boy leading his entire village to faith in Jesus. Over six hundred Africans were following the Lord from the one seed that man planted. Grace is Greater has remarkable stories that should leave readers speechless and possibly in tears.

I appreciate that Idleman is careful in not to belittle anyones pain. He understands that some readers are hurting in a way he could never imagine or relate to.

Some of you think that the worst thing that could happen to you is that your sins will be found out and your secrets will be exposed. You're afraid that someone's going to bring up something you did a long time ago. You don't want anyone to know, and since God already knows, you do your best to avoid him. You think the worst thing that could happen is that you get found out and are forced to confront the truth. But that's not the worst thing. The worst thing that could happen is that you go through your life and nobody knows. No one ever finds out. You just carry the weight of your guilt and shame around with you everywhere. The worst thing that could happen is that you spend your life trying to outrun God because you think he's chasing you to collect what you owewhen he's really chasing you to give you what you could never afford. - page 45

At times, Idlemans advice is plain. He share truths that are already obvious such as "your anger will only imprison you". Or "forgiveness is your only best option". And also "Being thankful for what you have rather than complaining about what you dont have. While all true and valuable, Idleman does not appear to innovate new ideas of his own. The best advice he provides is to shift our thinking from what has been done TO us, to what has been done FOR us. He illustrates this idea with the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor found in Matthew 18. The king erases an unpayable debt to his servant out of an act of pure grace. Yet that same servant that was forgiven of an immense debt, does not extend that same grace to his fellow servant that owed a far smaller debt to him. In fact he actually chokes his fellow servant. Instead of being thankful for the unpayable debt that was erased, he complained about the small amount of money owed to him. Once the king found out about this, he had that servant imprisoned and tortured. Too often we imprison and torture ourselves like this. We do not forgive those who transgress us when we have been forgiven of far greater transgressions.

There is what appears to be a grammatical error found on page 24 that says, "He thought it unfair". Unless I am misreading it, this is an unfortunate mistake against the proof reading.

In a sea of books that teach about grace, I am not sure how much Grace is Greater stands out. There are few innovative ideas Idleman offers on how to experience grace. What Idleman does offer are some incredible stories that readers will be able to relate to. Stories that help readers understand why grace is not only powerful, but possible.

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