Monday, May 16, 2016

The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges - Book Review

It took me a while to finish this book simply because of the richness of the content. This is the second book by Jerry Bridges that I have read and I have loved every single one of them. Both of his books are full of passages I have underlined, margins I have written in and beautiful quotes I have highlighted. He is truly a gifted writer and I am glad that a pastor I was listening to mentioned him in a sermon.

While reading this book, Mr. Bridges passed away to be with our Lord and it gave me a sense of pleasure reading about his hope of Heaven knowing that he is presently with God. What a beautiful thought!

The book is not hard to read, but there is just so much good stuff in it that I couldn't help but pause and think about what I had just read. I didn't want to just skim through it. This book is a rich dessert or a full bodied aged wine that is meant to be enjoyed slowly. So if you want a fast read, don't read this book. But if you want a slow dance with words that help you understand the beauty of Grace and what this MOST HOLY GOD has done for His children and how we can live a more holy life, then by all means pick up this book.

The book emphasizes that we should preach the Gospel to ourselves on a daily basis. It also does prick the heart of those who have been stagnant in working on their sanctification (haven't we all?).  The last 5 chapters were very helpful, my favorite chapter being on conviction. Not the kind where I feel bad about something, but the kind that I have a strong belief. Here is an excerpt I underlined and "starred":

A conviction is a determinative belief: something you believe so strongly that it 
affects the way you live. Someone has observed that a belief is what you hold,
but a conviction is what holds you. You may live contrary to what you believe, but you 
cannot live contrary to your convictions. (This doesn't mean you never act contrary
to your convictions, but that you do not consistently violate them).

Isn't that just beautiful!! At moments while reading, I caught myself just exclaiming, "Yes! Amen! Preach it!" And at other moments, words like "I'm a wretch, I'm a sinner, Thank you for the cross!" came out! 
Mr. Bridges also asks a lot of questions through out the book which is why there were times when I just paused and stopped reading. Here are some questions:

What does your mind turn to when it is free to turn to anything?

The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, . . . is not believe that He loves you. Does that sentence surprise  you?

To what degree does a belief that the Bible sets forth absolute truth determine the way we live?

As Christians, should we view ourselves as saints or sinners? 

There are so much more sprinkled throughout the book!  Some he answers with Godly wisdom, others are left open for us to use to search our hearts and hopefully lead us to prayer. He corroborates all he says with Scripture and often times I had to stop and read the Scripture again because it was just so refreshing. I remember several times thinking: "That's in the Bible!?!" What sweet surprises!

If you are struggling with Grace, which most Christians do at some point in their lives, this is a great book to read. If you are in a time of darkness, hating your sin and/or yourself and seeming like you just can't get out of the mire; this book will help point you to the cross and also equip you in ways to combat the sin in your life. 

Mr Bridges eloquently balances the pain of sin, the joy of grace and the work of sanctification in this book. Obviously, I highly recommend it!

Although there are many quotes I underlined and wish I could share with you, I will not and allow you to dig up these treasures on your own. But here are a few I HAD to share:

Sin . . . creeps up on us little by little. What was once unthinkable become thinkable, then doable, and finally acceptable to society at large. Sin becomes respectable, and so Christians finally embrace it. It is my perception that Christians are no more than five to ten years behind the world in embracing most sinful practices.

We should not seek holiness in order to feel good about ourselves. . . Far too often our concern with sin arises from how it makes us feel. Sinful habits . .  cause us to feel defeated and we don't like to be defeated in anything.

Our greatest source of temptation dwells within us. 

The pursuit of holiness must be anchored in the grace of God; otherwise it is doomed to failure. 

We cannot serve God or pursue holiness with any vigor at all if we are dealing with a guilty conscience. 

Oh there are so many more! I know you will really grow in your faith in reading this book, but it is meaty and it does prick at our hearts and like all good things, it does take some time to finish.

You can buy this book here.

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