This week I finished “The Discipline of Grace” by Jerry Bridges. It is an excellent companion to one of my absolute favorite Christian books “The Pursuit of Holiness” (second only to “When People are big, and God is Small) and his very practical “Respectable Sins.”
Basically anything Jerry Bridges writes I love!
My love for Jerry Bridges is the humility that he writes with. He approaches readers not as someone who has everything figured out, but someone who is need of grace just like us.
In his book “The Pursuit of Holiness” he challenges Believers to pursue a life of disciplined Holiness for the glory of God. Bridges later wrote “The Discipline of Grace” as a companion to that book, showing that discipline and grace don’t contradict each other.
This may seem strange to some people so let me explain……
Holiness is a Godly thing that all Christians are called to. What’s incredibly important however is what motivates us too walk in holiness. For far too many Christians holiness is something “we do to make God happy” and is based on working harder. The problem of course is we cannot live up to God’s standard of Holiness in our own strenth, and He already accepts us through Christ!
Jerry Bridges encourages believers to instead be motivated by Grace…or do God’s work through Christ’s Strength
Grace refers to our standing as children of God who have been justified and redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. So through Christ, we are now set free from the dominion of our sins (Romans 6:14) which means through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can conquer sinful habits.
So Holiness isn’t about me trying harder……
It’s about allowing Christ to work through me in the Spirit’s Strength.
The application of this is to walk in Grace (God’s Strength) instead of the law (a relationship based on works, and my own strength). So as I give God complete control of my life, He will continue to develop habits of Holiness.
I’m grateful for men like Jerry Bridges who show Holiness doesn’t have to be legalistic (following a bunch of rules). It can be drawing closer to my Savior, and letting Him do the work.