Great Quotes of “From Good to Grace”

From good to graceI reviewed From Good to Grace: Letting Go of the Goodness Gospel by Christine Hoover in a previous post.  Here are some of the great quotes from the book:

In Christian culture, [we] feel great confusion and even pressure about what we should be doing and why we should be doing it. This confusion touches decisions about education, family, eating, drinking, work, hobbies, community involvement, and even whether one should volunteer when the sign-up sheet is passed around again at church. The pressure grows when choices are wrapped in spiritual or more-spiritual terms. We see it everywhere: Be missional and in community! For the gospel-confused, that too often translates into: I’m not doing enough, what I’m doing isn’t making a difference, and I’ve got to create my own and my neighbor’s own and my children’s own and everyone’s own life transformation…

I know what want for me: I want to be good. No, I’m obsessed with being good. I’m obsessed with external, circumstantial results that prove once and for all that I’m a good wife, mom, friend, and Christian. I’m creating a certain image of myself and doing things that consider noteworthy. My concerns are self-focused concerns, not God-focused concerns. I am not living according to the very gospel that I claim. (pp 19-20)

My attempts to order my life and squeeze spiritual growth from pure effort – to be good in honor of God but apart from God – reveal only pride and self-sufficiency and do nothing to lead me to the joy and abundant life Jesus promises. (p 31)

What if I lived as if the gospel were true every hour of every day? How would that change things? (p 44)

[The] goodness gospel makes us afraid of giving others too much grace. When we’re living in that paradigm and others fall, we have nothing to give them except judgment because we are so afraid of appearing to cheapen grace. When we live according to the goodness gospel, we don’t trust God to do the work of sanctification in our hearts and we don’t trust him to do the work of sanctification in the hearts of other people. We are just as frustrated by the weaknesses and failures of other believers as we are with our own. We have not grace to give because we ourselves are not living in grace. (p 59)

When we listen for the Spirit’s leading through the practice of spiritual disciples and when we choose to submit ourselves to him through obedience, our lives are transformed by God and we are freed to love and serve others by the power of the Spirit…The reason we obey is to please the God who loves us. The results are up to him; they’re his concern, not ours. (p 106)

The gospel ransoms me from the prison of performance. In Christ, I am not my performance…Grace frees me from a focus on self and all the sins and burdens that come along with it: selfishness, insecurity, pride, trying to prove myself worthy, seeking love and approval, fear of not being enough. (p 117)

Perhaps true hope, then, is actually realized through difficulty and pain and suffering. Perhaps it is in brokenness, when all our false hopes fall away under the weight of grief, that we discover God is strong enough to handle it all. He is able to hold our grief, to accept our questions, and to reach deep into places that no one else can touch to bind up wounds. he is not scared by brokenness; he is revealed in it…

If you’ve walked through suffering or disappointment and come through the other side with your faith intact, you know hope. But there are many, including some I know personally, who are currently experiencing deep pain, and hope is nowhere in sight.  Perhaps you are one of these people and you are questioning how God could ever be revealed in the hell you’re facing. I don’t know your specific situation, but I’ve seen countless situations and this I know: we keep coming back to God with our hands open. That’s what the gospel directs us to do: receive. We go to him to receive. We ask for hope, we ask for our hearts to change from bitter to hopeful, we ask to receive what will sustain us. So much of suffering is darkness, silence, confusion, and heaviness. We can’t find our way through; we’re walking blind. But if we keep going to him in the darkness – not to our false hopes – and asking, eventually we’ll discover we can see. Our asking – our faith – will have brought us through to hope. Our hearts will have switched and our wounds will have healed when we didn’t even realize anything was happening, because we’ve gone to receive and he’s supernaturally given. The gospel is powerful, and in suffering we must give it space to do its full work in us. And the gospel’s full work is to show us true hope. (pp 182-183)

In the end, we cannot know all the purposes God has for allowing suffering to exist. We cannot see every way that God will use it to bring himself glory. We can confidently trust, however, that any purpose he has is good. (p 195)

[Putting] off the goodness gospel so that you can know and believe the true gospel is a process much like re-wallpapering a room. You must tear down the old wallpaper – the lies you’ve believed about God and what he expects from you – and put up new wallpaper of biblical truth. As anyone who has chipped away at old, stubborn wallpaper and wrangled glue and sheets of unruly new paper knows, it’s often a messy and time-consuming process. But it’s worth it in the end to bask in the beauty and glory of the new, just as it is to rest in the peace and joy that are born from the gospel. There really is an abundant life to be had in Christ. (p 200)

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