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In The Pursuit of Holiness, author Jerry Bridges urges us to live a life of obedience to God, striving for increasing victory over sin The first few chapters define and argue the need for holiness The rest of the book includes exhortation and practical tips for attaining greater holiness.I listened to the audiobook version Narration is as important as writing style when you re listening to a book and while narration was competent I found it somewhat bland I think this somewhat diminished my enjoyment of the book At roughly 4 hours, however, that wasn t such an issue.What I liked most about the book was that the call to holiness is emphatic, well argued and of greater urgency than when Bridges first wrote it I agree with the overall message Bridges reminds us that the pursuit of holiness require discipline, and as far as this goes, it is a good exhortation Exhortation and practical application are the book s strengths.The problem is, Bridges answer pretty much boils down to, Memorise the Bible and try really hard That s a caricature, of course, but not an unfair one Bridges argues that holiness is neither an automatic process that happens when we become a Christian, nor is it a matter of legalistic works He says that we need the Holy Spirit s help and to walk in obedience to the word, both truths with which I agree, but he never really defines what relying on the Holy Spirit means beyond the conviction of the Spirit We must exercise our minds and our reason to overcome our physical desires and emotions Essentially, we read the Bible and the Spirit will convict us of sin, but it s up to us to do it.It s not so much that what he says is wrong, it s that it is incomplete There is very little discussion on prayer, especially on praying in the Spirit, which the Apostle Paul says builds us up And while there is certainly a need to overcome our sinful appetites, there is no discussion about fixing our affections on God There is no joy or power in the pursuit of holiness as Bridges frames it in this book.And perhaps this is the issue I had with this book It convicted me of the need for holiness but sucked all the fun out of it.
[[ FREE E-PUB ]] ⇭ The Pursuit of Holiness ↙ Be Holy, For I Am Holy Commands God To His People But Holiness Is Something That Is Often Missed In The Christian S Daily Life According To Author Jerry Bridges, That S Because We Re Not Exactly Sure What Our Part In Holiness Is In The Pursuit Of Holiness, He Helps Us See Clearly Just What We Should Rely On God To Do And What We Should Accept Responsibility For Ourselves Jerry Bridges paints a fairly familiar picture in this book new Christian enthusiastically expects his faith to carry him above sin, and quickly realizes the surprising truth that the Christian life doesn t actually work that way He falls into despair because if he was really a Christian, he should be walking in victory, right And then there are all those well meaning people ready to assure that struggling Christian that there is no need to be concerned because Christ has already done everything Don t be trying be trusting And does anyone ever explain to him what some of those kind of statements are even supposed to mean in everyday life Because, experientially, everyone who tries it knows one thing about living in holiness it s hard, back breaking work It takes effort And while it s not a list of do s and don t s, it does mean adherence to principles that a lot of other people are going to think are crazy For some of us, this is confusing because we thought holiness was supposed to be the natural fruit of our justification in Christ that somehow God was going to do it for us, and that effort on our part would be going back to the law The Pursuit of Holiness is aimed at Christians in exactly that kind of position Yes, holiness is required, Bridges emphatically argues, not primarily so that we can live in victory which is self focused , but because all sin offends the holiness of God so holiness is God focused This locates personal holiness against the holiness of God, and allows us to see it in proper perspective As we grow in holiness, we grow in hatred of sin and God, being infinitely holy, has an infinite hatred of sin Bridges also distinguishes true holiness from various types of legalism, while offering some practical suggestions for daily living Yes, it requires effort, and yes it requires taking responsibility for the need to pursue holiness It s a tough message, and I found it both challenging and convicting However, one Goodreads reviewer has criticized the book, not unjustly, saying, Bridges answer pretty much boils down to, Memorise the Bible and try really hard He says that we need the Holy Spirit s help and to walk in obedience to the wordbut he never really defines what relying on the Holy Spirit means beyond the conviction of the Spirit This weakness is symptomatic of a larger weakness in most types of Evangelical theology, and as a Catholic I would say the gap ought to have been filled with teaching on the sacraments as a means of grace These make real to us that holiness requires our continual participation in the Divine will, but that grace for the endeavor is always given to us, to be simply received, not earned All in all, though, in spite of some weaknesses mostly weaknesses of omission , The Pursuit of Holiness was a good, Scripturally grounded work and I would recommend it to anyone looking for guidance on what it really looks like to avoid both antinomianism and legalism, and truly pursue holiness. Wow is about all I can say I have read this book before, but this time I was so slow going through it My stage of life is so different and I find it hard to read theologically deep books with the little ones running around and feeling exhausted at the end of the day I could only seem to read it when I was at a coffee shop away and I could actually think through what I was reading This is the type of book I could probably read a hundred times and continue to get something from It isn t a hard read per se, there is just so much truth to unpack Jerry Bridges is an inspiration and a real life hero who I have actually met He is wise, kind and humble and I rejoice that he has achieved perfect holiness as he passed away this year and is now with Jesus Chapters are short which makes it very readable I m encouraged, convicted, and refreshed in my personal pursuit of holiness I perfer JC Ryles Holiness but this is a great book 5 stars This book really pushed me and forced me to evaluate my relationship with God For that reason alone, this book is worth all the stars Review to come. This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob s Caf.I recently received a complimentary copy of Jerry Bridges audiobook version of The Pursuit of Holiness in order to review it without any expectation of a positive review, as will be obvious here I had several theological problems with this book that bleed over to the larger issues of some of holiness movements Let s go through these by way of some of Bridges central points Factual certainty is central to faith This, I think, is one of the most damaging elements of this book At the same time, it was one of the most helpful to me, as it elucidated why so many people are obsessed with sin and the purging of sin It helps certainty of salvation on this later.Bridges states, Faith must always be based in fact I m not sure where he gets this idea, as it s not biblical or humanly defined Hebrews 10 1 defines faith as being certain, but based on what we hope for and cannot see As emphasized by the positivist and empiricist movements, fact is really based on what can be observed by humans That does not meant there is no fact of God It means that there does not have to be proof in order to have faith In fact, faith is powerful without fact.Secular definitions also define faith as not being based in fact Wikipedia s first sentence in the article on faith states, Faith is the confident belief or trust in a person, idea, or thing that is not based on proof Other definitions of faith have to do with the general idea of belief or trust, not necessarily rooted in fact.This blog is devoted to people s struggles with faith, usually based on their reliance on facts that end up being unsupportable or not as they originally thought Just because the facts disappear does not mean God or our faith have to disappear.Reason must contain and control desire Bridges rightly explains that our desires can be impure and lead us down some terrible roads Therefore, he argues that we must always use our reason to contain our sinful desires Reason is a very good thing, but it can also lead us astray As a psychologist, I frequently see the reason based defense of rationalization used to dissociate someone from their emotions and therefore move them away from truth.Ransomed Heart Ministries is based on the premise that once we give our lives to Christ, he gives us a new, good heart Heck, even the conservative and sinlessness driven John Piper s ministry is called Desiring God We must listen to our desires Yes, they may mislead us, but if we pay good attention to them, we will hear God speaking to us Frankly, God speaks to us through our emotions than through our intellect.Holy is defined by sinlessness Bridges states that holiness is separation from impurity and moral evil This is one of the biggest and most dangerous bad definitions in Christianity A few months ago, I talked about how holy and sinlessness are not one in the same Holiness can include sinlessness, but it is not defined by it Rather, a better definition of holy is sacred, meaning set apart Avoiding sin is one way to be set apart, but holiness is a lot than that.Granted, Bridges later says that holiness is in a broader sense obedience to the will of God in whatever God directs, but by the content of his book, he clearly focuses on God s will being that we lead sinless lives.One of the reasons this perspective can be dangerous is that it can lead us to assume that God dislikes us Jonathan Brinks recently posted an article related to a video by Skye Jethani, exploring how God views us in the midst of sin The answer God loves us When we forget that, our relationship with God becomes strained because we no longer trust him But usually that s not our fault, but rather the fault of the Church Sinlessness is the evidence of salvation Bridges states partway through his book, The only evidence of salvation we have is a holy life Based on his definition of holy, this would mean sinless Besides the fact that no person will ever be sinless on earth Bridges notes this , this idea is simply not biblical He argues that the Holy Spirit helps us become sinless.Yet in Galatians 5 22 23, Paul states the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control Do these correlate with sinlessness Some do But these indicate something much than the absence of sin They emphasize the presence of love Frankly, most of these emphasize desire and emotion and not reason, contrary to Bridges earlier point about reason trumping emotion.Finally, this brings us back to the idea of the role and motivation of factual certainty It seems this whole book and I would argue much of people s obsessions with sin is focused on the need to be confident in their own salvation This is definitely an understandable concern We don t want to wonder if we ll be in Heaven We want proof So we look for it in various ways.One of the ways is emphasizing a pure, sinless life Like the Pharisees, we can become self righteous if we lead sinless lives, being certain of our salvation But just like the Pharisees, it is at this time that we are the farthest from God, missing the true hope of salvation in a relationship with Christ. I recently had the opportunity to review The Pursuit of Holiness by Dr Jerry Bridges If you ve read my reviews of several of his other books, you know that I really appreciate his writing Dr Bridges is able to communicate and practically apply biblical truth very effectively, with a humility and grace rarely seen The Pursuit of Holiness is no exception The book is definitely deserving of it s reputation as a modern classic While his book Transforming Grace emphasized God s grace in our Christian walk, The Pursuit of Holiness emphasizes our personal responsibility When it comes to living a holy life, what is our responsibility, and for what do we rely on God He explains The title for this book comes from the biblical command, Pursue holiness, for without holiness no one will see the Lord Hebrews 12 14, author s paraphrase The word pursue suggests two thoughts first, that diligence and effort are required and second that it is a lifelong task These two thoughts form a dual theme throughout this book While seeking to set forth clearly and accurately God s provision for our holiness, I have deliberately stressed our responsibility, feeling that this is an emphasis sorely needed among Christians today At the same time I have sought to emphasize that holiness is a process, something we never completely attain in this life Rather, as we begin to conform to the will of God in one area of life, He reveals to us our need in another area That is why we will always be pursuing as opposed to attaining holiness in this life A holy life is defined as a life lived in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible and in contrast to the sinful ways of the world Why is it that holiness is such a struggle for most Christians Dr Bridges identifies three basic problems 1 Our attitude toward sin is self centered than God centered We re concerned about the personal effects of sin and being successful over it than we are about the fact that sin is offensive to Godthat it grieves him.2 We have misunderstood living by faith to mean that no effort at holiness is required on our part Instead, we need to recognize that we do have a personal responsibility for our walk of holiness.3 We do not take some sin seriously We mentally categorize sins into those that are unacceptable and those which we can tolerate, rather than calling sin sin These three problems are expanded on and discussed in detail throughout the book Dr Bridges is clear that while holiness and obedience to God s commands is not a condition of salvation, it is a necessary part of salvation that is received by faith in Christ and is required for fellowship with God, our own well being, effective service to God, and assurance of salvation He also explains how joy in Christ both produces and results from this obedience.The Pursuit of Holiness clearly lays out our responsibility to live a holy life without falling into the trap of legalism and an unbiblical performance driven salvation An excellent read for the newest convert and the seasoned believer alike Thanks so much to Navpress for providing a review copy to me All opinions expressed are my own.Read Under Creative Commons License Attribution SO THIS WAS GREAT Not nearly as eye opening as Respectable Sins, but still a fantastic read I honestly just love Jerry Bridge s style so much He writes in a way that s smooth and easy to read understand He doesn t try and use flowery language or big words to try and impress readers he s straightforward, honest, and down to earth I also really like how he can walk fine lines and deal with issues in sensitive, heartfelt ways He uses examples from his own life, which is something I LOOOVE in nonfiction books It makes me feel like I can really trust the author As far as theology goes, I m pretty sure Jerry Bridge s is Reformed Maybe DON T QUOTE ME ON THAT THOUGH also correct me if I m wrong haha XD So I m not sure I would read all of his books, just because I think our theology is pretty different However, since Reformed theology wasn t a huge element in this, I barely noticed This book was encouraging and convicting and I d recommend it to young and old Christians alike D I can t believe I ve never read this before What kind of Navigator am I Of course I loved it It s practical, it s convicting, it s uplifting, and it s something to read again and again I loved his point about it takes just as much faith to be obedient as it does to claim promises Sometimes I want to skip straight to the victory over something, sin, etc, and I forget that it s about the daily steps of obedience I ve read several books by Jerry Bridges, and I ve heard him speak in person and sat at the same lunch table as him, just putting that out there and it s because of him o switched to the ESV Bible translation although I still love the 1984 NIV, why did they have to change it so I m sure my 5 star rating was inevitable But besides my obvious bias toward him, I still genuinely think this is a terrific book Thank you to Elsa and Pat for sending it to me