On the second to last page of his book “Saving the Saved,” Bryan Loritts writes, “”You don’t ever have to perform for me to get me to love and accept you.” End of story. Of course, God wants us to confess and trust him to wash and change us; these are not things we do to gain his love, but these are things we do in response to his amazing, performance-free love for us.” With this quote, he has summed up the premise of his book: we are not saved by what we do but what has been done for us.
Over and over again within the pages of this book, Loritts reminds his reader of the performance-free and unshakeable love of our savior, Jesus Christ. He reminds us that all of our white-knuckle efforts will not get us any closer to earning our salvation. In fact, many of the strong words that Jesus used during his time on earth were reserved for those who thought that they had a handle on that white-knuckle mentality, who thought that they had it all together.
Loritts tells his reader that, “God didn’t wait for me to get cleaned up before he loved me. Instead, he saw me as is, loved me as is, and saved me as is. Performance-free, unshakeable love.” Too often, evangelical Christianity can make it seem that we are to clean ourselves up in order to be worthy of coming to Christ. But the message of the gospel is a come-as-you-are message, not one that warrants a meritocracy where we earn everything that we get, but one that is based on the grace that is given to us through and from Jesus Christ.
Bryan Loritts breaks his book into three parts: What Goodness Isn’t, Authentic Goodness, and Living In and Reflecting God’s Performance-Free Love. He breaks it down for his reader to talk about what the gospel isn’t, what it is, and how we go about living into it. While he promotes the performance-free life, he is quick to point out that salvation does not mean sitting back and doing nothing. What we do, we do not to gain the love of God but in response to the love of God. As the Apostle John so eloquently put it, we love him because he first loved us.
Our lives are a response to what we have received, but we continue to struggle with the outward manifestation of that. As Loritts writes, “External righteousness is, at best, plated gold or a wood veneer, where the outside looks good but will never pass the authenticity test. This was the righteousness of the Pharisees. And maybe it’s yours as well.” If our righteousness is based on what we do, it’s a sham, a fake, but if we take on the righteousness that is ours through Christ, than we have come to the place of understanding.
This book was a refreshing read. Loritts has a way of challenging his reader all the while making them laugh as he shares his insights. There are so many tweetable quotes within “Saving the Saved” that I couldn’t help myself but tweeting them out as I read. It was a fast read that never felt laborious or condemning, but it challenged in a way that was a helpful reminder of just why I strive to perform in my life.
If you have found yourself struggling with this white-knuckle, Pharisaical life that commands you to perform in order to get in the good graces of your Heavenly Father, “Saving the Saved” is a book for you. If you need a reminder that God’s performance-free, unshakeable love is available for you, then go and pick up a copy of this book. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
(This review is based upon a copy of this book which was provided free of charge from Booklook Bloggers. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.)