The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Grace, grace, God's grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, God's grace
Grace that is greater than all my sin
One of my favorite hymns/worship songs growing up.
For a long time, it truly moved my soul, but I couldn't explain why.
As I grow as a Christian, I can explain it more and more.
Ragamuffin is defined as "a ragged, disreputable person"
The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I've been wanting to read for a long time, and this year, I finally did...I wish I would have read it sooner. I never read books twice, but this might be an exception.
From the first pages, I was captivated and moved. Written by someone who has definitely been crushed and strengthened by the grace of God, Brennan Manning.
A line that grabbed me immediately was "Grace has to be drunk straight." Truly learning of God's love for us brings us to a saving knowledge of His amazing grace....and that is the thrust of this great book. He says, "To live by grace, means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark side." That's a huge part of becoming a disciple of Christ. In order to give grace to others, we must accept the grace of God. When someone has an unforgiving spirit, it probably means that they haven't forgiven themselves for something, and ultimately, they haven't accepted God's forgiveness. This really holds people back.
He goes on to say, "The inclusion of sinners in the community of salvation, symbolized in table fellowship, is the most dramatic expressions of the ragamuffin gospel and merciful love of the redeeming God." When see ourselves, truly, and then see God's love for us, we should never get over that amazing love.
Manning also challenges the reader to fully trust God. To fully trust God, means to trust ourselves/man less and less. He says, "The more we know about meteorology, the less inclined we are to pray during a thunderstorm." This is a very convicting thought. We, as believers, need to believe. To believe is to have faith fully. We tend to go half way on this. We have back-up plans and say things like, "I trust in God, but I'm also realistic." Faith in God is not earthly logic. It's very spiritual, supernatural and sometimes mysterious. If we take away the mystery, then it's not faith and we'll never see miracles.
Manning goes on to challenge us to accept God's grace to the point of relinquishing guilt of past sins. He says, "When we wallow in guilt, remorse, and shame over real or imagined sins of the past, we are disdaining God's gift of grace."
This is just an awesome read for anyone. I think the only people that will struggle with this book are those who live with a legalistic, dogmatic spirit. They've never really truly accepted God's grace and it's evidenced by their condemnation of others and their probable judgment of the ideas posed by this author, who really seems to have been broken and strengthened by God's hand. Loved it.
Click here to get it on Amazon.