Favor by Southern Baptist pastor Greg Gilbert is written to try to show the true purpose and meaning of the term “favor of (with) God.”  Gilbert makes a strong case in this book that the biblical term has sadly been co-opted by the “health and wealth” preachers and authors to mean some kind of special rewards or blessings that God bestows on those Christians who demonstrate exemplary “faith” and “works” to earn God’s special attention and delight.  But Gilbert strongly argues in the first section of the book called “Favor With God and How to Get It,” that the description provided by the “health and wealth” preachers is directly counter to what the Bible says God’s favor truly is.  In short, God’s favor is already demonstrated for every believer, because God’s favor with Christians in based on His favor toward His Son, Jesus.  So, the really good news of the Gospel is that we have nothing to earn or do to get special attention or affection from God, because Jesus has already earned all of that for us through His earthly ministry of living a perfect human life, and His sacrifice on the Cross and subsequent Resurrection.  This truth was strongly taught by the Reformers and all conservative biblical scholars since.  Gilbert makes this point understandable to laymen by using Jesus’ own description of the “vine and branches.”  As taught by Jesus in the Gospel of John, and as expanded on by the Apostles Paul and John especially; a branch has no life on its own apart from the parent vine.  But when the lifeless branch is grafted in to the healthy vine, those branches take on the same life and fruit-bearing abilities of the Vine — Jesus.

Then in Part Two, Gilbert describes the main benefits that Christians will find by really recognizing and living out the truths of the Bible in regards to being united to Christ.  Chapters in this section cover benefits like contentment, peace with God, new Life, and the power to fight for our own souls and those of others as favored sons and daughters of the One True King.

Favor is a short book of less than 100 pages, but packs heaps of truths and encouragement on every page.  While written specifically for both young and mature believers, pastors and ministry leaders will also find much here to use to strengthen their own faith and better feed the people God has assigned to them.  Highly recommended.

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