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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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Bridges main focus in this book is to dispel the myths surrounding our relationship with God as believers. He wants Christians to understand that they really are justified by faith alone. He quotes Richard Lovelace:
Many Christians below the surface of their lives are guilt-ridden and insecure and draw the assurance of their acceptance with God from their sincerity, their past experience of conversion, their recent religious performance or the relative infrequency of their conscious, willful disobedience.
There are some great quotes addressing how God views us. These are things which are widely misunderstood in the church today. If we truly understand God's hatred of sin (and sinners) then it actually enhances the Gospel message and makes it more incredible that God chose to save us "whilst we were yet sinners."
When Paul described us as God's enemies, he was not at that point describing our sinful hatred of God but rather His righteous hatred of us because of our sin. Because of the sinful connotations we associate with human hatred, it is difficult for us to conceive of God's holy hatred towards people. But God's hatred is simply His just and holy revulsion and His holy antagonism toward those who rebel against Him. More important than His use of the word wrath, however, are His frequent references to hell as the ultimate, eternal expression of God's wrath. (Matthew 5 vs 22, 18 vs 9, Mark 9 vs 47, Luke 12 vs 5)
It is for this reason that:
We should never cease to be amazed that the One who established the Law and determined its curse should Himself ransom us from that curse by bearing it in our place.
I recommend this book which also has a study guide at the back. However, if you are new to Bridges then start with Trusting God or Respectable Sins. I'm about to also re-read The Pursuit of Holiness so that I can do a comprehensive review...
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.