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The Pursuit of Holiness Paperback – January 31, 2006
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Jerry Bridges explores holiness from a beginner's perspective and builds upon that premise. He explores the holiness of God, the holiness of Jesus and exclaims that holiness is for all of us. It is not just for the super Christian or the pastor and leaders of the church, but for all Christians. To live a holy life is to "live in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible in contrast to the sinful ways of the world." This is characterized by a life of putting off the old sinful life and putting on the new Christ-like life. Throughout this book the author stresses that the process of living a holy life is a cooperative effort between us and the Holy Spirit. We have a responsibility to obey what God tells us and the Holy Spirit enables us to do just that when things seem impossible.
Each chapter of "The Pursuit of Holiness" focuses on a single scripture. It then uses this scripture as a foundation for discussing one aspect of holiness. Chapter seven for instance, focuses on Romans 6:11 "So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." The title of this chapter is "Help in the Daily Battle." The author helps us to understand that when Satan comes to us and says "give up! You can never overcome sin." We can honestly say that's true if we are talking about doing it in our own power. But we are strengthened by God in our union with Him through Jesus Christ. We need to count on this fact as being true. Then we will experience the strength we need to fight temptation. In order to do this we must form the habit of continually realizing that we are dead to sin and alive to God.
Throughout this book the author stresses our need to learn to hate sin as God hates sin. We tend to make friends with certain sins such as gossip or a judgmental attitude. Somewhere we have a list of things that are OK in our book and a list of things that we would never do. We justify our own sin by looking at people who have committed a sin much worse than ours. We need to hate all sin just as God does. He doesn't make excuses for some sin. All sin has the sin consequence, death. We must see all sin in this way if we ever hope to overcome anything. The Bible often uses the concept of yeast in bread as an example of how sin affects us. If only a very small amount of sin is in us it affects everything. We often don't even see how far our sin really goes.
One of the tools that the Holy Spirit uses to help us overcome sin is the use of scripture. A daily Bible reading habit changes the way we think and see things. It changes our outlook and our focus. What we spend our time focusing on becomes what we think about and eventually do. "If we truly want to live in the realm of the Spirit we must continually feed our minds with His truth." We must come to the Word in a spirit of humility. We must recognize that we are sinful and often are blinded to the sinfulness of our own heart. We need the work of the Holy Spirit through God's Word to open our eyes to the truth.
Jerry Bridges offers concrete examples of how God uses all the tools that He has to help us to walk in this life of holiness. He focuses on the areas of our lives that we need to work on with the Holy Spirit's help. He helps us to see the habits we need to develop to truly become holy. God would not ask us to do something that He would not help us to do. He also helps us to see that the world will do everything in its power to prevent us from walking in holiness. At times it almost seems impossible to live this life he talks about. Just when I started to get discouraged Mr. Bridges would offer a gem of wisdom from God's word to bring me hope. He helps us to see that one day soon we will be with the Lord in all His glory forever worshipping Him. The joy that we experience here today pales in comparison to the joy we will experience forever.
I would recommend this book to any serious student of the Bible. It brings together many aspects of the Bible into an easily digestible format. It focuses on one aspect of Christian living, but without it there would be no life. This book could be used for a small group Bible study. Each chapter would be about right for an hour's study time. There is a workbook that can also be used for this purpose. There are 17 chapters which may be a little long for some Bible studies, but is well worth the time and effort.
At the beginning of this review I asked why people don't like to hear about sin and holiness. After reading this book I think I have an answer. When we are forced to take a good look at ourselves and honestly evaluate the condition of our hearts we find that we are not really all that nice and clean as we might thing we are. It is much easier to go through life pretending that everything is alright. When we find that we see ourselves more honestly we don't like what we see. The Bible says in the end times we will seek out teachers who tickle our ears. We want to hear that we are good and worthy. We want to think that we are a wonderful gift to humanity. Talking about sin and holiness forces us to see ourselves as we really are; a sinner and unclean.
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I was looking for a resource on righteous living when I came across this book in my college library.Read more