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Astonishing Grace
Studies in Paul's Epistle to the Galatians
By Mark Allen Quay
https://www.bookdepository.com/publishers/Archdeacon-Books 131 pp. $15.48

Reviewed by David W. Virtue, DD
December 29, 2019

Most preachers, on preparing a sermon, will consult one or more commentaries. Seldom do they read the entire commentary; time rarely permits that option.

In this slim volume by the Rev. Mark Quay, preachers and laity alike will find a commentary that is at once exegetical, hortatory, concise, referential to the Greek and easily readable. You will be hard pressed not to put the book down once you have started.

Quay deals in broad themes, but his central focus is grace, a theme much needed in the cultural and theological climate of our time. He has understood that keeping the main thing the main thing is central in driving home the central thesis of his book.

Quay, who is clearly a Greek scholar, does not make the reader feel stupid or inadequate by his erudition in explaining and applying the meaning of Greek words.

He opens by giving the reader a brief outline of Paul's authorship, his audience, the Judaizers and the major themes in Galatians.

While he goes verse by verse explaining Paul's teaching, one is not bogged down in minutiae. The volume is liberal with real life illustrations. Frequent subheadings like Takeaways drive home the point that Paul is not simply addressing people of his time, but you and me today.

Quay writes; "Do we live in the belief that, despite the grace revealed in Christ, we can earn God's love by obeying just a little bit more? God's love and grace was earned for us by Christ's obedience. God cannot love us more than he already does--he loves us with the same love which he has for his son and because of what Christ has done for us, God will not love us less."

Chapter titles include the Grace of Justification, the faith of Abraham, covenant curses and covenant blessings, under the law and under grace, falling away from grace or being preserved by the Spirit. Even touchy issues like heresy are not shied away from.

His conclusion is worth the price of the book and should bring comfort and joy to fearful believers and those who persist in the faith even when they have lost all sense of God's presence in their lives.

"We should always remember it is God at work within us, doing all this according to His will, through the cross and resurrection of his son, by the power of His Spirit."

He concludes with a wonderful quote from Martin Luther; "So then, have we nothing to do to obtain this righteousness? No, nothing at all! For this righteousness comes by doing nothing, hearing nothing, knowing nothing, but rather in knowing and believing this only--that Christ has gone to the right hand of the Father, not to become our judge, but to become for us our wisdom, our righteousness, our holiness, our salvation!"

Amen! Well said, Dr. Luther.

You can purchase this volume at amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Astonishing-Grace-Studies-Epistle-Galatians-ebook/dp/B07VTRF9TF

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