In The 5 Solas series: What the Reformers Taught… and Why It Still Matters published by Zondervan Carl R. Trueman wrote on grace alone. In Grace Alone – Salvation as a Gift of God. Trueman looks at the biblical and historical roots of the doctrine of salvation by grace alone; a salvation that is not merited by human works and efforts. He pays attention to Augustine, Thomas Aquinas (whom he characterizes from a Reformed perspective as an unexpected ally), Luther, Calvin and the Reformed Tradition.
He stresses that for those who hold the Reformation doctrine of grace alone, the proclamation of the Word of God is the principal means of grace. It is the thing that God uses to convince people of their sin and misery, to drive them to their knees in repentance and then to draw them to the resurrected Christ by faith. The Holy Spirit applies the faithful proclamation of the preaching to our hearts and unites us so to Christ and give us communion with Him.
In calling attention not only to the meaning of the Word but also of the sacraments in the context of the doctrine of grace alone Trueman goes in the footsteps of the sixteenth century Reformers. They who claim to be their spiritual heirs – and more than once actually are it to a great degree – do not always have the same doctrine of the sacraments as the Reformers.
Not only for Luther but also for Calvin the sacraments for not first of all an pledge of alliance of the believer nor did they believe that their significance was purely memorial. It were pledges of God that salvation is by grace alone. They sealed and signified what Christ did for those who believe in Him.
Very appropriately also writes about prayer as a means of grace. Prayer must not be seen first of all as something done by us, but as given to us by God as a means of realizing his purposes in our lives. We pray to the Father through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit and so we glorify Him as the God of grace and salvation. The book of Trueman informs the head and warms the heart.
Carl R. Trueman, Grace Alone – Salvation as a Gift of God, The 5 Solas series: What the Reformers Taught… and Why It Still Matters (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017), paperback 272 pp., $21,99 (ISBN 9780310515760)