Book Review: Give Them Grace


“The one thing that our children really need is the gospel of grace.  They need to be absolutely dazzled by the kind of love that would suffer the way Chris suffered, forgive the way he forgives, and bless the way he blesses.” Elyse Fitzpatrick, Give Them Grace

What parent doesn’t need more grace?  This book is a chance to drink deeply of the grace and mercy of God in the area of parenting.  Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson is the last book I’ll read in 2013 and one that leaves me excited and encouraged for what the Lord has planned for my relationship with my daughter in 2014 and beyond.  I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book…particularly in connection with One Way Love by Tullian Tchividjian.  If you are ready to get off the merry-go-round of performance and instead soak in the grace of Jesus Christ as a person and as a parent, these two books go hand in hand in pointing the reader to Jesus as the source of all that is good and worthy of glory.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted them below…

  • This book simply, but profoundly, restates the fact that we are justified by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone, and that God sanctifies us by constantly bringing us back to the reality of our justification.  This glorious truth should radically impact the way we parent.
  • When we change the story of the Bible from the gospel of grace to a book of moralistic teachings like Aesop’s fables, all sorts of things go wrong.
  • Grace, or the free favor that has been lavished on us through Christ, ought to make our parenting radically different from what unbelievers do.
  • Even though our children cannot and will not obey God’s law, we need to teach it to them again and again.  And when they tell us that they can’t love God or others in this way, we are not to argue with them.  We are to agree with them and tell them of their need for a Savior.
  • Faith is the complete fulfilling of the law, and will fill those who believe with such righteousness that they will need nothing else for justification.—Martin Luther
  • Our encouragement should always stimulate praise for God’s grace rather than for our goodness.
  • Christian righteousness is that level of goodness that can withstand the scrutiny of a perfectly holy God and earn the benediction, “You are good!”
  • Christian righteousness is different from human obedience because it is granted to us by God’s grace, not because of our works or our children’s merit.
  • Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8
  • The law says, “do this,” and it is never done.  Grace says, “believe in this,” and everything is already done.—Martin Luther
  • Seeking to be faithfully obedient parents is our responsibility; granting faith to our children is his.  Freedom to love and enjoy our children flows out of the knowledge that God saves them in spite of our best efforts, not because of them. Salvation is of the Lord.
  • Both pride and despair grow in the self-reliant heart.
  • He delights in being worshiped as the One who “richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:17
  • We have far too high a view of our ability to shape our children and far too low a view of God’s love and trustworthiness.
  • Sure, giving them grace (instead of law) is scary.  The law seems so reassuring, but it is a false assurance.  It is only his grace that is sufficient to sustain and transform us.  Grace is stronger than all our work and all our weakness and it is made perfect when we humble ourselves before God’s desire to glorify his Son and not our great parenting (2 Corinthians 12:9).  Salvation is of the Lord—he is the Savior.  Climb aboard and have a seat.  No buckles here, just faith.  Your loving Father has things well in hand.  Believe.
  • Give grace to your children today by speaking of sin and mercy.  Dazzle them with his love.
  • For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14
  • Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:4
  • Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.  Colossians 3:21
  • Because we have only the first fruits of the Spirit, and the remnants of sin still remain in us, we do not obey the law perfectly.  But this imperfection is not imputed to us who are in Christ (who) has blessed us…We are nourished and tenderly cherished for Christ’s sake, in the lap of God’s long-suffering.—Martin Luther
  • Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.  Proverbs 13:20
  • Children are called children because they are still thinking and reasoning in childish ways.
  • Modesty is primarily a matter of the heart and secondarily a matter of dress.
  • How can we use everyday situations to remind our children of the one good story?
  • What you need as a praying parent is a deep drink of the great love of God, your Father, not more commands to pray.
  • We can freely pour out our heart to our Father knowing that our dear Savior will purify and transform our words into petitions that please him.  When your prayer is freely spoken, joyful, and honest, your children will learn to pray that way too.  Teach them that he is the high King of heaven, yes, a person not to be trifled with.  But also teach them that he is their dear Father, one who delights to hear their requests, even when they say them all wrong and don’t have much faith and mumble them as a last resort.
  • Is there room in your parenting paradigm for weakness and failure if weakness and failure glorify God?
  • The one thing that our children really need is the gospel of grace.  They need to be absolutely dazzled by the kind of love that would suffer the way Chris suffered, forgive the way he forgives, and bless the way he blesses.


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