Eric Mason. Beat God to the Punch: Because Jesus Demands Your Life. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2014. 108 pp. $12.99.
Eric Mason’s Beat God to the Punch is “about the punch of [God’s] wrath, justice, and judgement” (7). In other words, “Those who willing bow at the appointed time of salvation will be missed by God’s wrathful punch because God hit Jesus on their behalf” (2). Now you may be thinking that’s a man-centered approach to theology (xiv). But front and center in Beating God to the Punch is the person and work of Jesus Christ (20, 23). He comes as God-man and showers his grace on us. Mason calls this “the incarnation of hope” (40).
Through out there’s a tension from the urging to beat God to the punch and the constant realization that God’s grace initiates our beating God to the punch (60). “[T]he whole of our walk is a work of grace” (35). That’s a healthy tension and one Christians must be settled in. We settle in confidence as we preach the gospel to believers and unbelievers alike. We are confident “the Lord will pursue us with His goodness and mercy no matter the season. My performance doesn’t merit the ability to experience God is this way; that’s not how you seize a grace-filled life” (65).
Ultimately Beat God to the Punch is a book about the work of Jesus Christ and the grace-dependent life. “Jesus Christ came to empower us to beat God to the punch. Beating God to the punch was God’s idea” (91). So as Mason pushes us to pursue “all of the benefits that grace affords us” (98), he’s driving us toward Jesus Christ and towards the sovereign hope we have in God. I appreciate that Mason so clearly and emphatically demonstrates that God’s gift of grace is a grace that not only justifies, but empowers us to act. Mason ends with a straight-forward presentation of the gospel (97-98).
My only quibble lies in chapter four “Grace Recovered.” In this chapter, Mason traces the movement of God’s grace through out the history of the church. I love this. Many Christians don’t know where they come from and so don’t know where they are going. They neglect the cloud of witness that God in his providence has given the Church. In a brief section, Mason commends Charles Finney “as one of the chief evangelists of this [Second Great Awakening] era” (75). He quotes Douglas Sweeney on Finney’s position: grace “enables anxious sinners to pick themselves up by their own moral bootstraps” (ibid). Finney’s moralism seems out of place next to Mason’s robust vision of God’s grace as “look[ing] into the name of Jesus and discover[ing] what we lack” (47 cf. xiv, 68, 91).
Beating God to the Punch will strengthen men as they pursue Jesus Christ—whether for their own maturation or the multiplying of disciples in their spheres of influence, home or ministry. Paul Tripp mentions Mason’s experience in making disciples of men by teaching the content he presents in this book (xiii). That love for God and for raising up the next generation of men who love God bleeds through the pages of Beating God to the Punch. Men need books written in a way that grabs their affections and Eric Mason does this with language and images contextualized for men.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Assistant Editor, Manual
Mathew is the author of A Household Gospel: Fulfilling the Great Commission in Our Homes and contributor in Make, Mature, Multiply. He is the Managing Editor at Gospel-Centered Discipleship. He’s married to LeAnn and they have three daughters. They enjoy traveling, relaxing at the beach, and wandering in the woods. Mathew regularly blogs at Grace for Sinners and contributes to a number of other publications. The Sims are members at Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC.
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