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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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From the Inside Flap
Why do so many believers live in quiet desperation?
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most explosive news of freedom the world has ever heard. Yet, why do so many of His followers experience so little of the gospels liberating power? Regrets over our past haunt us, fear and anxiety clutch at us, subtle legalism oppresses us, outright sin entangles us, and we spend much of the day without even thinking of God.
Jerry Bridges maintains that the poverty of actual Christian experience is the result of an impoverished understanding of the depths of the gospel itself. The key is not to try a little harder, but to know more fully the incredible work of Christ on the crossand to live in a more vital awareness of that grace day by day.
Jerry does not flinch from the hard facts of human sin and Gods wrathnot exactly popular concepts today. But understanding them is absolutely crucial. For without a knowledge of the depth of our sin, we cannot experience "the unsearchable riches of Christ" that are available to us in the gospel. And when we know those riches, we are empowered to live every day "glorying in a sense of acceptance and the experience of grace."
This gospel is not just for the afterlife, but for todayit is the gospel for real life. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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.
Bridges' burden in the book is to help the Christian reader fully understand the gospel so that they can preach the gospel to themselves, everyday. Why? Because he is convinced that there are many sincere Christians in the church today who have a deep, troubling, yet private anxiety about their relationship with God.
He tells of a ministry colleague of his who "recently confessed that he felt overwhelmed and anxious even in the midst of fruitful ministry." He quotes Richard Lovelace to articulate the problem: "below the surface of their lives [they] are guilt ridden and insecure...[and] draw the assurance of their acceptance from God from their sincerity, their past experience of conversion, their recent religious performance or the relative infrequency of their conscious, willful disobedience." Where does this come from? Bridges contends that it flows from an inadequate view of the gospel.
Therefore, Bridges seeks to unfold the riches of the gospel of Christ in 15 chapters, discussing gospel essentials such as the depth of our sin, justification, atonement, Christ's sacrifice, reconciliation and the imputation of Christ's righteousness, just to name a few. He finishes the book with a final chapter (chapter 16) focusing on our responsibility to take this glorious gospel to the world. This responsibility, however, is not a duty to be done out of slavish fear or mere obligation, but an act of loving obedience in response to the glorious grace revealed in the gospel-the gospel that he labored to help the reader understand in the previous 15 chapters.
Personally, I have already read this book twice and I plan to read it again. It is very refreshing and strengthening. It keeps me away from the tyranny of trying to earn my righteousness and from the soul killing power of legalism. It is a simple book, and, as Bridges explains, not a theological treatise. But God help us if we think we are "beyond" such things. This is a book for baby Christians and seasoned theologians alike because it brings us back to where we are to constantly remain: relying fully on Christ and His gospel.
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I will be teaching in the fall.