Saturday, May 03, 2008

Respectable Sins - Jerry Bridges

I have been wanting to read this new book by Jerry Bridges since it came out - and it did not disappoint. I have used it this week to prepare me for this weekend...reading the first chapters before today - then reading the specific "sin" chapters in a time of confession and journaling today before the Lord.
I compare this book (sorta) with The Mortification of Sin by Puritan pastor/theologian John Owen. That book is a chore to read and digest. This one is much easier to read (maybe because it was written in 2007 and not the 1600s) and is also I think more focused on grace. Bridges concentrates on the fact that even though we have these sins - we are covered by the blood of Christ who bought our righteous standing before God the Father. We used to bear the wrath of God - now we are covered in Jesus' blood. But, as Paul says, we should not go on abounding in sin - therefore, we have this book.
Much of my thought today as been good. I come to the chapter title and say "well, here we go, ugh, not this one, yup - I struggle with that". Sometimes I struggle with the issue more than others. But, thanks be to the Spirit - I have been able to say that is all grace, help me in my weakness. In one chapter I said "yeah, I don't struggle with this because I do this to help me not struggle with it. Oh, but most of my motives for doing that aren't good - they are rooted in pride." See what I mean.
Bridges says the core of all sin is ungodliness. "Living one's everyday life with little or no thought of God, or of God's will, or of God's glory, or of one's dependence on God." (p 54) Some of the sins I struggle with more than others were: envy, evil speech (Eph 4.29 is the negation of ALL speech that does not bring grace to the hearer), pride, judgmentalism (oh how so often I do this), selfishness.
The other day I got an email asking to describe the person who sent it to me in one word. I did; she described me back. Her use of her word to describe me provoked two things in me: gratefulness for the body of Christ (as a sister in Christ she affirms this in me), and ugliness in me because I know all the areas in my heart that negate the word she chose to use. This is the idea behind respectable sins.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone - as well as any other Jerry Bridges book.
"Remember that our progressive sanctification - that is, our putting off sin and putting on Christlikeness - rests on two foundation stones: the righteousness of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit." (p. 181)

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