Where Leaders Come to Think

Pure Grace – Clark Whitten


Besides the Bible itself there are few books that have recently inspired me towards a movement of the heart.  One such book was Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge and now I can say Pure Grace by Pastor Clark Whitten must be added to the list.

While Beautiful Outlaw offers a glimpse at the personality of Jesus thereby drawing one closer to God. Pure Grace is a glimpse at the Gospels in a way that defies my understanding. Full Grace – Revealed Grace – a glimpse at the heart and work of God made flesh, finishing His creation narrative.

What arrested my attention was the authors no holes barred calling out of the protestant church and our version of the Gospel leavened with the law.  I relate and for the longest time I grew into faith with the idea that I was saved through grace and then had to work out my salvation over time. We called this sanctification.  “I am justified, I am being sanctified, and I will be glorified” – Right terms wrongly used.

My idea of sanctification was that as I grow in faith and sin less or ask for forgiveness more I become more Holy in the eyes of God.  This idea carried over into a belief that what I do actually has an effect on how God sees me.  Over many years of following Christ I figured out how wrong I was.  Mostly because I am less than perfect – all the time.  How discouraging.

My faith life was a roller coaster ride of highs and lows depending on my strength to perfect my flesh.

Imagine the shock of discovering what the full work of Christ has accomplished for me.  Imagine, if you will, discovering that Christ has fulfilled all of the law.  That when Jesus declared it is finished – he meant it. That means that the day I accepted Christ into my heart and fully committed my life to Him I became justified, sanctified and glorified. (in God’s eyes anyway.) It has to be that way because God can not live in a dirty house.

If, through faith, Christ dwells in me what does that say about me? (and about you?)

Clark’s full revelation of grace forces me, in a good way, to live my life differently.  Not out of obligation rather inspired by love.

Understanding God’s grace gives me the chance to live in freedom and perhaps taste the abundant life Jesus offers.  No I will not run out and sin because it doesn’t matter.  It does – there are worldly consequences to sin.  As the saying goes, garbage in garage out.  However, armed with the full revelation of Christ’s work I can sense my “wanter” as Clark says, changing.  I don’t want to sin.  so much has been given me on the cross.

What I want is to walk stronger with God and love my neighbors more deeply.  Like my Heavenly Father has done for me.

Pure Grace is not easily summarized in a 600 word book review.  However, I will say this.  That this book was a joy to read and worth every minute I spent engaging with it.  I am sure that the ideas Clark presented will take years for me to digest.  My recommendation, a must read.

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  1. Scott Sholar
    Scott Sholar05-09-2012

    Hi Mark, Clark Whitten was my pastor for five years at Calvary Assembly in Winter Park, FL. Thank you for sharing, and God bless you. Here is one of my recent posts: http://scottsholar.com/2012/04/29/power/

    • Mark Mathia
      Mark Mathia05-09-2012

      Small world Scott it was an awesome book and I have enjoyed meeting Clark when he visits here in Omaha. Thanks for the visit my friend. (and your latest post!!)

  2. pastorjeffcma

    Mark–I enjoyed the review, but it did prompt a question in my mind. How does the author (or you) differentiate between the process of “practical sanctification” and a change in your “wanter?”

    • Mark Mathia
      Mark Mathia04-28-2012

      Great question Pastor Jeff! The author had a lot to say on this very subject. I’m still processing it. However, I will give you my thoughts. It comes down to my perspective.

      I would have to say, I don’t know if I realized the size and scope of the miracle of my spiritual rebirth. Somehow I thought there was more for me to do. I lumped this under practical sanctification. Now I can still sin but because my spiritual rebirth – God sees me as a Saint. If God sees it that way it must be true.

      My old perspective would be (healthy or not) – I am a piece of dung covered with snow. I’m always a sinner and when I get to heaven, through faith, I will be sanctified, glorified etc. I thought that when God looks at me He is looking at Jesus and not me because I’m dirty. If I’m dirty to the core there is no hope to overcome.

      My changing perspective – That God does look at me. I am washed by the blood of Christ. Fully redeemed, fully sanctified by faith. (being born anew was a really big deal) I can still sin, yes, but my sin nature has been over come for me. I no longer have to sin because in God’s eyes I’m not dirty. I can choose not to because if given the choice – I don’t want to. (Before I had no choice I was wicked all the time to the standards of God.)

      Because of what Jesus did for me I want to be more and more like him. However, I don’t have to because he already did it for me. That thought makes me want it all the more. It also helps me see past silly man-made regulations like, “no rock music” or whatever.

      Even as I write this I am struck by the graciousness and power of God. I think that I really believe “Christ in Me is the Hope of Glory.” … as apposed to me in me is the hope of anything.

      I would love to hear your take.

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