Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book Review: The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

In The Discipline of Grace, Jerry Bridges again addresses the idea of Christian sanctification, or as he has popularly called it, "the pursuit of holiness". In the spirit and vein of Puritan author John Owen, Bridges presents both a defense for and practical approach toward Christian sanctification that is both motivated and tempered by the grace of God. While not a new book (it was first published in 1994), the subject matter is anything but old and outdated.

This book is one of balances, which is fitting. After all, writing about sanctification can teeter between legalism on the one hand and unbiblical liberality on the other. But by remaining close to the council of Scrpiture, Bridges seems to have found the middleground. A balance between God's role and our role in the pursuit of holiness (as the subtitle suggests). A balance between the grace of God and the effort of the believer. The balance between the work of the Holy Spirit and the work of the Christian in sanctification.

One of the central ideas that Bridges constantly returns to is that we must preach the Gospel to ourselves every day (in fact, it is the title of one of his earlier chapters). This, in fact, is the only way that a Christian avoids both liscence and legalism in the pursuit of holiness. The Gospel properly understood and preached every day kills liscence with the loving sacrifice of Christ and legalism with the grace of the cross.

As the title suggests, The Discipline of Grace draws together ideas that may seem at odds, but under the Gospel find a balance. This balance is greatly needed in Christianity today, and this book makes a needed contribution.

This book was a free review copy provided by NavPress.

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