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The Gospel for Real Life: Turn to the Liberating Power of the Cross.Every Day (Now Includes Study Guide) Paperback – October 13, 2003
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Then I read Bridges book. While he does give a working definition of what "The Gospel" message is his book goes well beyond that. He delves into our walk with Christ and how the Gospel effects so many areas of our Christian life. The text starts with why the cross was necessary, why Christ was the perfect sacrifice, why obedience was important and how what Christ did for us on the cross was the perfect sacrifice to satisfy the judgement that God required.
I think the best part of this book was the explanation that Bridges gave about what the difference is between Propitiation and Expiation. He gave a very readable definition for both and why they are complimentary and why we need to be sure an understand the difference between the two and realize why we need them both.
From here Bridges goes on to subjects such as why we need to be ransomed, what reconciliation is, what sanctification is, what it means to have confidence in the sacrificial work of Christ and how we as children of God should be grateful for the gift that Yahweh gave us in the presence of his Son taking on human form and becoming the perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins.
Of all the books I have read I would say that Bridges is the easiest read and thus probably would be a favorite of lay people who want a good communicator to explain to them the many different subjects he touches on. Scholar's, pastors and seminary students might feel the book is a bit to simplistic for their taste, but frankly I would remind them to not be snooty, but realize the great gift that Bridges gives to the church through his readable books that touch the hearts and lives of Christians everywhere.
If you purchase this book you will enjoy the read, learn the importance of the Gospel for your life and find many practical applications of this material for how you live, or at least how you should live.
-1- What is the gospel we should preach to ourselves?
-2- Why do we, who are already believers, need to preach it to ourselves?
-3- How do we do it?
Bridges does a terrific job addressing each of these questions throughout the book. In the sixteen chapters Bridges moves at a nice clip through the intricacies of the gospel. A book like this is so helpful in its consistent reiteration of critical elements of the gospel, such as substitution, mercy, grace, faith, repentance, and so on.
Some may say that they already know all of this stuff and another book on the gospel is probably not going to do much for them. To this person I would say, this is exactly the book you need to read next. I think it was Tim Keller who said before that if you think you fully understand the gospel then you don't, and if you think you don't fully understand then you probably are beginning to get it. The fact is our hearts are so inclined towards our own self-righteousness and the preservation of our autonomy that we forget the realities of the gospel. Therefore we must regularly revisit, and truly, as Bridges contends, preach the gospel to ourselves on a daily basis.
I appreciate Bridges emphasis upon Christ' righteous life (chapter 3 & 4) as the basis for our righteousness. In addition, his clarity with respect to the substitution of Christ in the atonement is refreshing (ch. 5, 6, 9, 10).
As a pastor I am always searching for good books to recommend for both small group and personal settings. The Gospel for Real Life is such a book. If you are familiar with C.J. Maheney's book Living the Cross Centered Life, this is similar, only it is more detailed and intricate theologically. But this theological depth does not diminish its readability and practicality, and this is really what makes this book such a gem.
This is a great time here in the early days of the new year to resolve to be more gospel centered every day, by preaching the sermon of Christ's sacrifice to your own heart each day. This book is a great tool to equip, refresh and sustain you to this end.