A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
By Benjamin Montoya
About the Author
Jerry Bridges was a longtime staff member of the Navigators and served with their collegiate ministry. In addition to his international speaking ministry, he has authored ten books and three devotionals; among them The Pursuit of Holiness, which has sold well over a million copies, and the award-winning The Discipline of Grace and I Will Follow You, O God.
We begin the Christian life by trusting in Christ by faith and repenting of our sins. But, how do we continue? That is, what steps should we take? The answer is simple: we continue where we began. That is, we continue by focusing on Christ in the gospel by faith and repentance. Continue reading this book and summary to learn more.
In This Book, You Will Learn:
- The on-going importance of the gospel
- Proper motivation in the Christian life
- The meaning of dependent responsibility
- That we live in the already-but-not-yet
The Larger Contribution of This Book:
There are so many books that explain the “means of grace.” Although this book highlights some of them, this book reminds us that the grace of God in Christ that helped us begin the Christian life is also the sustaining grace of God in Christ that will transform us to become more like Christ. We need to continue to focus on the gospel; it is not just the ABCs of the Christian life—it is the A-to-Z of the Christian life.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart
Chapter 2 The Holiness of God
Chapter 3 The Sinfulness of Our Sin
Chapter 4 The Great Exchange
Chapter 5 A Daily Embracing of the Gospel
Chapter 6 The Motivation of the Gospel
Chapter 7 Understanding God’s Grace
Chapter 8 The Transforming Work of the Holy Spirit
Chapter 9 Dependent Responsibility
Chapter 10 Instruments of Grace
Chapter 11 The Word of God and Prayer
Chapter 12 The Grace of Adversity
Chapter 13 Transformed into His Image
Chapter 14 Already, Not Yet!
Chapter 1: Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart
When God saves somebody, He does so to conform them to the image of his Son (Rom 8:28). This process happens by sanctification, or, to put it another way, growth in grace. It begins at our new birth and continues until we die and enter into the presence of the Lord. But, this process takes time.
The Bible tells us in texts like 1 Peter 1:14–16, “you shall be holy for I am holy.” But the transformation of becoming more holy, more like the Son of God, takes a long time. And it takes the desire to grow in holiness. What is it that will inspire us to want to grow in holiness? What is it that will engage our affections to pursue transformation of the likeness of Christ?
People have different stories of how they came to Christ and how they grow in Christ. For example, Jerry Bridges became a Christian at age 18. But, like all of us, he had to learn lessons in his growth towards holiness. There’s an old proverb that says, “too soon old, too late smart.” Jerry Bridges writes, “I think I’ve made most of the theological mistakes in the realm of spiritual transformation, due to my own ignorance and lack of solid Bible teaching in those early days.” What is he talking about? For example, he assumed that he could live out the Christian life by his own moral will-power. He took a “just do it” approach to the Christian life. The problem with this sort of approach is that it will lead nowhere. We desperately need the Holy Spirit to work in and through us for our sanctification. Trying to do everything on our own is a recipe for disaster. Nevertheless, God in his mercy continue to work in Bridges’ life.
He learned three valuable lessons. First, the internal warfare between the flesh and the spirit that Paul describing Galatians 5:17 is the normal Christian life. Second, the more we grow in Christ likeness, the more sin we will see in our lives. The more we become like Christ, the more we notice what about us is not like Him, that is, our sin. Third, spiritual transformation requires dependent responsibility, a term unpacked in more detail in subsequent chapters. We all have things that we need to do to work-out our salvation with fear and trembling; nevertheless, the Holy Spirit must work in us. “We do need challenge and instruction in discipleship, but we also need the gospel every day in our lives because we still send every day of our lives.”
The overall goal of this book is to serve God so that our lives that we would become more conformed to the image of Christ. To that end, this book will look at the work of the Holy Spirit in our transformation and how we are to relate to him in our dependent responsibility. This book will also consider the role of the gospel in our lives.
Chapter 2: The Holiness of God
The Bible presents a picture of God that is majestic. For example, if you consider the picture of God that is presented in Isaiah 6:1–31, we can only come away with a picture of a God who is holy and majestic. In that text Isaiah gives us a glimpse of what heaven looks like to allow us to behold the holiness of God. Holiness is the attribute of God that in that text and others is repeated three times—“holy, holy, holy.” “Holiness, when used of God, is a comprehensive term to the note all that God is in His transcendent majesty and infinite moral purity.” Let’s consider this term further.
First, God’s holiness refers to transcended majesty. Isaiah 6 tells us that God is sitting up on the throne, that He is high and lifted up, and that the train of His robe fills the temple. Second, God’s holiness refers to infinite moral purity. God’s holiness represents the highest possible degree of holiness, and moral purity that comes along with it. All of us have. . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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The Transforming Power of the Gospel