The Imperfect Disciple

discJared C. Wilson, The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2017, 233 pp.  $13.21

I have a large section of books in my library devoted to the topic of discipleship and Christian living. I also have a much smaller section of books devoted to discipleship and Christian living – books that are actually worth reading and re-reading and focus on the life-transforming message of the gospel. These books emphasize the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. These books glory in the gospel. The books in the small section are written by men like Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, C.H. Spurgeon, John Calvin, John Piper, and — Jared C. Wilson.

The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together is Jared Wilson’s latest offering and it does not disappoint. The subtitle is enough to drive away Pharisee-types and self-righteous do-gooders. The rest of us who stand among the sinful and spiritually marginalized will benefit from this outstanding book.

Wilson articulates the gospel in clear and concise terms. His explanations are not only practical; they are deeply personal. What emerges in The Imperfect Disciple is soul-food for starved Christians. The book is a gold mine for weary travelers. The author has a way of reminding readers that apart from grace they lose; apart from grace they abandon hope; apart from grace, life is only humdrum.

After speaking in plain terms about the sinfulness of sin and addressing people who struggle to get their act together, Wilson pours the grace – and he pours it liberally: “And there is the key to following Jesus not as a defeated person of confidence, of hope, of glory: you are free to own up to your true sinful self because you are set free from your true sinful self.”

For readers who are under the impression that they have their act together, I have a simple plea: Do not read this book. It will only frustrate you, anger you, and cause your self-righteousness to swell. Sinners in need of grace should drink deeply, however, from The Imperfect Disciple. They should see the glory of Christ and recognize that nothing else truly satisfies. And they should turn away from petty idols, what Lewis referred to as “mud pies.” Wilson adds, “Truly I think one reason we aren’t captivated by Christ’s glory is because we have a diminished capacity to be captivated by anything big. We are preoccupied with small things.”

The Imperfect Disciple is one of those landmark books that makes a gigantic splash in the publishing world by challenging minds and transforming hearts. My prayer is that many will dive into this wonderful book and be changed for the better as they become reacquainted with the Savior and taste of his matchless grace.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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