First posted January 11, 2009:
I am currently reading The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. When people talk about "classics" in Christian living, this book is often mentioned. Though only a third of the way through this book, I'd thought I'd share from gleanings from an outstanding chapter.
Bridges begins with the dilemma that faces Christians when they desire to live a holy life. "Many have sought to live a holy life by their own will power; others have sought it solely by faith...In our search for answers to our sin problems, a troublesome question arises: What should I look to God for and what am I responsible for myself?" (p52-3) The author goes on to explain that many Christians err in one of two ways when pursuing holiness: either trying to will themselves holy or doing nothing while trying to rest in Christ's finished work. Bridges explains the answer to this riddle: "...God has indeed made provision for us to live a holy life, but He has also given us definite responsibilities" (p54).
Bridges outlines these responsibilities by focusing on two things we must do. First we must reckon ourselves dead to sin. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11, ESV). In doing this we are aligning ourselves with what Christ has already accomplished. "Because He died to sin, we died to sin. Therefore, it is apparent that our dying to sin is not something we do, but something Christ has done, the value of which accrues to all who are united with Him (p55). Secondly, Bridges encourages us that we also must resist sin as an act of the will; "...the responsibility for resisting is ours" (p60). He sums up this excellent chapter with the following: "To confuse the potential for resisiting (which God provided) with the responsibility for resisting (which is ours) is to court disaster in our pursuit of holiness." (p60)