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The Great Work of the Gospel

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On one of John Ensor’s web sites, “Heartbeat of Miami,” is a most sobering map. Showing the locations of each Miami’s abortion facilities in red and ultrasound-equipped pregnancy help centers in blue, the red dots outnumber of the blue by a margin of fifteen to one. As leader of “Heartbeat of Miami,” Ensor hopes within the next two years to increase the number of adequately equipped pregnancy help centers to at least 4. From his work directing this organization that constantly sees people at their most broken comes Ensor’s third book, The Great Work of the Gospel.

The Great Work of the Gospel is a book about the human experience of God’s outworking grace–“the sin-forgiving gift of it, the guilt-removing power of it, the soul-satisfying joy of it, the cross-suffering mystery of it, the conscience-cleansing experience of it, the life-transforming quality of it, the muscular faith-building impact of it, the eternally reconciling splendor of it.” The book seeks to understand how God works out His grace and how we, as recipients of that grace, experience it. This is His Great Work.

Through ten chapters, John Ensor provides ten reflections on this Great Work. He writes about many of Scripture’s grand themes: the Great Work considered, desired, needed, promised, revealed, justified, experienced, enjoyed, shared and unsheathed. Each chapter revolves around a particular passage of Scripture and ends with several group study questions. Most chapters involve men or women Ensor has encountered in his vocation–many of whom are women who have been subjected to cruel and terrible treatment at the hands of others.

Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give this book is simply in pointing to the amount of fodder it provided for thinking and writing. I spent many hours pondering what Ensor wrote and dedicated several articles to exploring his themes. With tenderness and passion, Ensor explores the grace of God and how it manifests itself in us. It explores the great work of God; the great work of the gospel. A deeply moving book, it is also powerful in pointing always to the cross of Jesus Christ. I recommend it unreservedly. It is undoubtedly one of the finest books I have read this year.


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