Sovereign Grace Blog

Affirming God's Grace in One Another


This sounds like a book that I am in desperate need of. I need God to work deeply in my heart and mouth to affirm his grace working in the lives of others.

Here is John Piper’s foreword to Sam Crabtree’s new book, Practicing Affirmation:

Sam’s book is a healing balm for cranks, misfits, and malcontents who are so full of self they scarcely see, let alone celebrate, the simple beauties of imperfect virtue in others.

Or to say it differently: I need this book.

The absence of affirmation for God’s handiwork in his people is also a kind of sacrilege—for at least three reasons.

First, it is disobedience to God’s command: “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov. 31:30). And I can’t think of any reason why this does not apply in principle to God-fearing men.

Second, it demeans Jesus as though he were stooping to do something unworthy when he says, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21, 23). If he says it, should we consider it beneath us to say it?

Third, all the works of God are worthy of praise. And there is no good in anyone but by the work of God (1 Cor. 4:7; 1 Cor. 15:10).

It gets deeper. Sam says, “The best affirmation is rooted not only in the character of God, but in the gospel.” Which means that every glimmer of good in the life of God’s children is bloodbought. Jesus died to make it possible. What does it say about us if he died to bring it about, and we don’t consider it worth praising? That is, to say it again, I need this book.

Of course there are pitfalls and problems.

What’s the difference between good praise and bad flattery?

What about the fact that in the Bible God’s people never say “Thank you” to each other, but only to God for each other?

What about the danger of encouraging someone’s craving for human praise, which Jesus so clearly condemns?

Is it okay to want to be on the receiving end of good affirmation?

What about unbelievers who are not “being renewed after the image of their Creator”? When should we praise them? Or should we not?

Sam tackles every one of these issues head on.

It is not a superficial book. But it is practical. Incredibly practical—with dozens of illustrations and applications to the workplace and marriage and parenting and friendships and ministry.




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