The Divine Progression of Grace by Bob Santos
We hear it repeated throughout the halls of church that men and women are saved by God’s grace, not by the efforts of their own hands, and yet there is more to grace than this. Founder of Search for Me Ministries Bob Santos has written The Divine Progression to seek to draw out how grace is not only for salvation for all of the Christian life. His book is winsome, full of wisdom, and careful in understanding a key biblical truth, namely that God’s grace is evident in God saving us and also in God sustaining us in this world as we work for good and His glory.
In seeking to understand grace for all of the Christian life, Bob focuses his efforts on grace as God’s unmerited favor, transformation grace, and empowering grace. Each stage is part of the plan of God for believers to grow up in Christ. Whereas God’s unmerited favor or grace is God drawing us to Himself in salvation, transformational grace is the life-blood of God that produces the fruit of the Spirit while giving us victory over sin. Further, empowering grace is that grace that God gives us supernaturally to advance God’s kingdom (51). Bob uses these last two kinds of graces differently, namely that transformational grace is formative, those avenues that we practice and develop that bring us along to maturity (prayer, fellowship, Bible reading, etc.). But, empowering grace is those activities and actions that we could in no way come up with, for they are imbued with the supernatural work of God.
Bob is careful to note that success in the Christian life cannot be divorced from fruitfulness. What does he mean by fruitfulness? Namely, that fruit that exhibits humility. Further, true fruitfulness is a life given over to self-control, love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, and truth. By abiding in Christ are able to nourish and produce the fruit that God is calling forth from our lives. Yet, as Bob hints at, we cannot grow in grace without realizing that our motives stink without Christ’s divine influence upon our hearts. I would add that it is the Spirit’s work of opening our eyes to sin and to repentance that helps us along the way to Christian maturity.
Lastly, Bob is right to call us to believe, stand on, and live out the gospel not just in our initial moment of salvation but every day. Yielding to the Savior in salvation, realizing that our efforts only bring about ruin, and then living daily by the freedom that God provides in Christ is the remedy for our souls.
I think many will benefit from reading this book, including those who need a reminder that God’s grace is for every day.
Thanks to SfMe Media and Book Crash for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.