A debut guide meditates on the role of grace in modern Christian life.
Jesus calls his followers to a special life, giving them a distinctive part in fulfilling God’s purpose, explains Astudillo in his clear, accessible book. That road can often be one of hardship and sacrifice, requiring raw perseverance in the face of trials. According to the author, this is where the concept of grace comes in. Carefully and knowledgeably drawing on Scripture, Astudillo paints a picture of the function grace can play in Christian life, noting its restorative capacities. It’s through grace, writes the author, that Christians experience happiness even in the midst of difficulties: “This special grace not only frees us and fills our lives with joy but it also empowers us.” This compact manual is a call for Astudillo’s fellow Christians to reflect on the nature of God’s grace and the role that it plays in their lives. Throughout, he peppers his readers with questions designed to challenge their complacency about the tremendous reward grace can be. (Each of the book’s chapters ends with a “Pause and Reflect” section comprised of such questions.) “What more can I do to experience God’s grace in all its forms?” readers are asked. “Is there anything I can do to be ready to receive God’s grace?” The author deftly explores dozens of Gospel stories in order to underscore the fact that God’s grace is not automatic or predictable. It can often come when least expected and in surprising forms. Astudillo notes one of the most dramatic instances in the Bible: In the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, prays for release from his mission, he isn’t freed—but he is comforted. In plainspoken, often passionate prose, the author warns his readers that grace is not a passive gift: It’s intended to be used for God’s glory, to further the cause of going forth and making disciples of all nations. Astudillo’s fellow Christians should find this fluid guide illuminating on an aspect of their faith they may have been overlooking.
An elegant and sincere examination of the promise and power of grace.