My first trip to Wheaton earlier this year produced this book being added to my library. I had just been introduced to John Ensor in 2007 with Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart. So, scoping out the clearance shelf - I saw this book. It was great. It has been a read that I have picked up, put down, etc. The subtitle for this book is "how we experience God's grace".
"Grace...it produces a radical joy and a strong faith, one that can endure great suffering and yet trust that, in the end, God's plan will lead to our joy and his glory." (13)
"It is that we feel alienated from God's goodness and love because of what we have done. It is not that we do not want his blessing. We would gladly receive it. It is that down deep, we fear that God is justified in withholding it. On this we should trust our feelings. For the painful truth is, we feel alienated from God because we are alienated from God." (34) Our sin separates us from God!
So many times in psychology and counseling circles - you will hear "you need to forgive yourself." This is how Ensor rightly handles this idea: "If we admit that God forgives us but we do not forgive ourselves, are we not insulting his judgment and exalting our own, as if we have a higher standard of justice then he does?" (114)
"The grace that brings salvation goes on to train us to live a godly life. A sanctified life is not optional to salvation; it is standard equipment. Other things may be called grace, but they are not saving grace." (125)
"Another place I see the goodness of God is in his sovereignty. The more I see it, the more I delight in it. The more I see it, the more I can trust him when the circumstances call his goodness into question." (147)
This book is saturated with God's character, the Word, our condition and condemnation - oh, but the Work of the Cross. Let's celebrate it!