Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Book Review: Favor by Greg Gilbert

Ever heard someone claiming they have received favor from the Lord or someone preaching you can get the Lord's favor by doing certain things? I am sure we have heard something similar to those scenarios at some point in our walk with Jesus. Many times they are from TV preachers claiming they know how to get favor from the Lord yet they do it to where they deceive their listeners by asking them for money. Is that what it means to have the favor of the Lord or does it mean something else?

Greg Gilbert, pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, addresses what it means to have the favor of the Lord in his latest book called, Favor: Finding Life at the Center of God's Affection. Gilbert beings with the false scenario of what most Christians have when it comes to the favor of the Lord. Many think the favor of God is on them when the balance in your checking account is excellent, when you get a close parking spot, or your kids bring home straight A's on their report card. Those are all good things but even unbelievers can have those. The favor of God is not some prosperity gospel teaching, it is a Biblical teaching.

What the favor of the Lord is pleasure to those to whom He is pleased with. Who gets the favor of the Lord? This is where Gilbert shares the gospel and says that those Christ has redeemed have the favor of the Lord. God the Father favored the Son and since we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we have the favor of God because He is pleased with His Son and as a result is pleased with us.

How do we get this favor of the Lord? Gilbert assures his readers that this is something we do not have to work for. God has provided that for us in the finished work of Christ. The favor of the Lord is given to us by grace through faith and not by works. Since we come to faith in Christ, we are united with Him and God will never be displeased with us because He cannot be displeased with His Son. True believers will never lose the favor of God.

The rest of the book deals with some practical application as to day to day living with the favor of the Lord. God's favor means that we can be content in this world no matter what happens because God is pleased with us. This is a favor that will never be lost because we have peace with God through the finished work of Christ. Since we are His children, we are highly favored as sons and daughters of the King.

There is one point in the book that I am wrestling with and that is Jesus earning God's favor. Jesus never sinned and did not have earn salvation because He is the Son of God. He won God's favor by living for us and dying for us. This is something I wrestle with because it seems that Jesus had to earn something that was already His. However, we see in Luke 2:52 that "Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man." Not saying I fully agree or disagree with what Gilbert wrote on this matter, but it is something that I am wrestling with.

The favor of God is a teaching that has been misunderstood for sometime. I was delighted this book came out for such a time as this when the church really needs to look at what the Bible says versus what is being taught by men and women who preach false doctrine. If you are one who has no idea what the favor of the Lord is, this book is for you. For those who have heard a false teaching on the favor of the Lord, I recommend that you read this book.

Thanks Baker Books for letting me review this book.

Additional Resource:

Glimpse a Bigger View of God’s Favor with Collin Hansen and Greg Gilbert

Other Books by Greg Gilbert:

What is the Gospel?

Why Trust The Bible?

Who is Jesus?

What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission with Kevin DeYoung

Preach: Theology Meets Practice with Mark Dever

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