01 September 2012

Book Review: The Transforming Power of the Gospel

A few months ago, this book was a free offering on Kindle.  I told many of you about it and I hope you got it for yourself.  Jerry Bridges is one of my favorite authors and this book of his is no exception. In The Transforming Power of the Gospel (2011), bridges discusses how growth in holiness is deeply rooted in the Gospel and he seems to be close to the right balance between God's grace and personal responsibility, in my opinion.  Many authors that I like (e.g., John MacArthur, Francis Chan) are strong proponents of personal holiness as a mark of faith.  Although they talk about the importance of grace, what comes across is a strong call to holiness.  On the other end of the spectrum are writers, who I also deeply respect, like Rod Rosenblatt and Tullian Tchvidjian, who focus deeply on grace and seem to address personal holiness to a lesser degree. Recently, I have been talking with a good friend of mine that neither end of this spectrum seems to get it quite right.  Bridges, as he does in many of his books, discusses the importance of holiness and spiritual transformation, but clearly grounds it in the gospel of grace and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.  I think all of the authors mentioned above also believe this, but the message comes through more clearly in Bridges' work. 

I want to concluded with two of the closing paragraphs from his book.  Bridges writes, "If you commit yourself to the pursuit of Christlikeness, you will discover an increasing tension between your desire to know and do the will of God and your perceived progress in doing it. This increased tension can become discouraging and demotivating. The solution to this dilemma is to keep in mind that, in our standing before God, He sees us clothed in the perfect obedience of Christ. This standing never changes, regardless of whether we are having a good day or a bad day. In Him, we are always holy and blameless. In Him, we are always perfectly righteous as He was in His sinless Humanity.

"This is the way we should resolve the tension between what we desire to be and what we see of ourselves in our daily experience. We should look more at our standing before God in Christ than we do at our actual experience, and that continual looking to who we are in Him will motivate us to become more like Him in our experience. To do this, of course, means we must daily embrace the gospel."

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