In simple, clear language Bridges shows how our greatest problem, sin, has been dealt with by the life and death of Jesus. Key Biblical words such as redemption and propitiation are carefully explained and we are left marveling at God’s grace and love towards sinners. Bridges unpacks how our status as ‘not guilty’ before God is permanent, undiminished by our continued failings nor enhanced by our successes. In heartwarming tones we realize that, as we soak ourselves in the Gospel each day, it has an immensely liberating effect, motivating us to live for Jesus. We come away with a renewed sense of gratitude for the Lord Jesus.
Author Jerry Bridges does something very special in this book. He takes sometimes very complex thinking and distils it into very simple language. Illustrated by practical examples, he talks very ably about reconciliation, assurance, sanctification and mercy by way of teaching us real truths about the unsearchable riches of Christ. I found this a challenging read in the sense that it asked hard questions of the reader, but an enjoyable read in the way that truths were illustrated with examples, the Bible was expounded and the Saviour commended. This is not a book either that is detached from current times. Examples are drawn from modern times, confronting modern thinking, current standards and the church's place in the world as a beacon of hope and uprightness. I enjoyed a section that highlighted particularly God's provision, protection, encouragement, comfort and discipline. We often forget God's almighty hand and forget sincere praise and thanks in our regular petitions. This is a great book about the great challenge of the Gospel in confronting us with the realities of our lives and of the eternity to come. I would recommend the study guide published as part of this publication - it is excellent for bible study groups to look at the book and the source Scriptures in more detail. This is a book I will share with others.
This book is an investigation into the full impact of the gospel on our daily lives. Bridges looks at a series of different angles to ask what was achieved at Jesus' cross, looking at its already completed effects, the day-to-day impact of living in light of the gospel, and the eternal consequences for us and for others.
There are similar books to this out there, such as The Cross of Christ by John Stott, but I don't think that takes anything away from this book. Jerry Bridges has a good way of communicating, and he uses it to full effect in this book. The content is foundational from a Christian perspective but not presented in a childish way, so I'd certainly recommend this book to all new Christians, as well as anyone who has been a Christian for a while but doesn't feel that they have every basic nailed (i.e. all of us). It's very easy to read; Bridges doesn't shy away from the challenging long words like propitiation, but he's good at explaining exactly what he means.
The only potential problem with this book is one which I think is unavoidable - a lot of the concepts presented here aren't that practically applicable due to them being about spiritual attitude, faith, and so on. So although there is a good chapter on sanctification if you're looking for practical tips on how to pursue purity I don't think this is the place to find them.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Jerry Bridges is an author and Bible teacher; his book The Pursuit of Holiness has sold over 1 million copies. The Gospel in Real Life is one of his lesser-known works which was published in 2002.
The thesis of Bridges book is that the Gospel is the "very lifeblood of our walk with God," that it is not just the "key to our salvation," but also "the power for our daily progress in holiness" (blurb). Bridges argues in his first chapter that "between the challenges of discipleship on one hand and the utilitarian view of the gospel on the other, we fail to see the gospel as the solution to our greatest problem - our guilt, condemnation, and alienation from God" (15). This is a shrewd insight on the part of Bridges, and exposes the inherent tendency in man to substitute something else for the glorious efficacy of the gospel, whether in salvation or in service. In the same chapter, Bridges also declares that "most professing Christians actually know very little of the gospel, let alone understand its implications for their day-to-day lives" (17). This is a true statement, and strikes at the heart of the deficiency that underlies all of the problems that both individual Christians and the church as a whole face today. It is in answer to this deficiency that Bridges pens the pages of The Gospel in Real Life.
The bulk of Bridges book is an examination of what the Gospel is. Bridges approach is exclusively scriptural; in other words, he examines the doctrine of the Gospel from a purely Scriptural basis, rather than an intellectual or historical basis. As a result, the book devotes whole chapters (chapter no. in parentheses) to the following topics: propitiation (5), expiation (6), redemption (7), reconciliation (8), adoption (12) and justification (9). This is a much needed approach, and Bridges attempt to avoid a "theological treatise" (12) make his writing accessible to every reader. Bridges ends each chapter with practical application, thus bringing the gospel to bear on the `real life' of the reader.
In comparison to Timothy J. Keller's The Prodigal God, a more recent work which dealt with the same topic, Bridges is a more overtly theological work. Keller's work exegeted just one chapter, Luke 15, and emphasised the heart of the Gospel; Bridges work exegetes passage after passage from all over the Bible and emphasises the different facets of the Gospel and why the Scripture presents each one. The books have much in common, with Bridges providing the wider scriptural foundation for many of Keller's priceless assertions. Keller's work is simpler and more direct; Bridges' work requires more concentration and reflection (the included study guide will be useful here). In short, Bridges' work would make a good sequel to Keller's. Below are some great quotes from Bridges' work which indicate its quality:
* "Without some heartfelt conviction of our sin, we can have no serious feeling of personal interest in the gospel." (20) * "We will never understand the cross until we begin to understand something of the nature and depth of our sin." (23) * "If we think about it, we realize that obedience that is not delighted in is not perfect obedience." (33) * "Regarding this absolute connection between the redemption from the guilt and consequent curse of sin and the release from the dominion or reign of sin in our lives, noted New Testament scholar Leon Morris wrote, `It is wrong to separate the legal status, gained by the complete discharge of the law against us, from the resultant life. The only redemption Paul knew was one in which they lived as those who had been adopted into the family of God.'" (79) * "Any confidence in one's own religion attainments in the issue of salvation is not only useless, but downright dangerous." (107) * "I believe that human morality, rather than flagrant sin, is the greatest obstacle to the gospel today." (110) * "Indwelling sin is like a disease that we can't begin to deal with until we acknowledge its presence." (161)
While Bridges work sometimes lacks clarity and forthrightness (hence the four stars), its strong scriptural exegesis makes it highly commendable reading.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."