The Discipline of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness
The Discipline of Grace offers a clear and and thorough explanation of the gospel and what it means to be a believer. Explore how the same grace that brings us to faith in Christ also disciplines us in Christ.
Lynnda: Jerry Bridges wrote The Discipline of Grace to connect the understanding of God's grace in Jesus Christ and seeking holiness. Unless our growth in holiness is anchored in God's grace poured out in Jesus, then we drift into the rocky shoals of temptations, attempt to scale the cliffs of self-improvement, or wash up on the sandbars of helplessness. This book is a lighthouse that guides the reader away from these pit-falls.
The book speaks most strongly to those Christians who desire with all their hearts to follow God. To quote Mr. Bridges, "We do not become more holy either by discipline or by dependance. Neither do we become more holy by committing ourselves to God, or by developing Bible-based convictions. We become more holy by obedience to the Word of God by choosing to obey His will as revealed in the Scriptures in all the various circumstances in our lives." In The Discipline of Grace, he shows the way all these other concepts contribute to reaching the place of a heart-felt desire to obey Him.
Ryan: I don’t have a “Top Ten” list of favorite books, but if I did, this would be on it. It was insightful and convicting; illuminating to my mind while tremendously warming my heart. Jerry Bridges’ treatment of God’s role and our role in the pursuit of holiness is fantastic. Writing with years of wisdom and experience, he lays open our hearts, exposing hidden areas that God longs to deal with and clean up. At the very same time he writes with tenderness and grace, understanding God’s heart toward us, and bringing comfort by clearly showing how God’s dealings with us are motivated out of love and grace.
Beginning with an example we can all relate to, he uncovers an issue in all of our hearts, whether spoken or very cleverly hidden in our heart of hearts, that we somehow believe that God is going to deal with us based on our performance. If we have a good day, God will show up in power and find pleasure in us, enabling us to overcome anything thrown at us. But if we have a bad day, failing in our devotions or even some gross sin, God’s love is somehow withdrawn from us until we pay penance. Yet, both of these are faulty because we can never be bad enough nor good enough to deserve God’s grace and the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood upon the cross. We don’t perform to get His love—He loves us for who we are.
Because of this tendency to “work” for our own salvation and sanctification, it is important that we preach the gospel to ourselves every day. This reminds us that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. It is only by His imputed righteousness whereby we can approach the Father, no matter how good or bad we are “performing” that day. Bridges weaves this motif through the entire work, reminding us of this important point again and again.
He does a wonderful job holding the tension of God’s role and our role in our pursuit to be more like Jesus. Showing how we died to sin (chapter 4) and how grace disciplines us (chapter 5), to revealing how discipline is dependent on God (chapter 8) and how we are to obey the great commandment (chapter 7) in order to be transformed into His likeness (chapter 6), Bridges gives a solid biblical and practical foundation to build our pursuit of holiness on. I know he has helped me tremendously.
There are not many books that keep the tension between God’s work and our work in the pursuit of godliness as well as Bridges’ does. If I had one, The Discipline of Grace would be on my “Top Ten” favorite book lists. But I don’t have one. Then again, I just might begin one today.
Scott: I give it 5 stars but I prefer the word awesome versus amazing. Awesome in that Jerry Bridges does a great teaching of God's grace, His discipline and the need to preach the gospel to ourselves, as in believers, daily.
Bridges writes in a manner that is easy to grasp and retain for those who like me can't easily grasp those deep thinking theologians. That is not to say Bridges is not a deep thinking theologian, he is and shows it by taking the deep to shallow waters for us who zone out when reading in deep waters.
This is only the second book I've read by Jerry Bridges (the other being 'Gospel for Real Life') but his ability to teach solid gospel in 'shallow waters' led me to use three of his books; The Gospel for Real Life: Turn to the liberating Power of the Cross, Growing Your FAith: How to Mature in Christ and Trusting God Even When Life Hurts as part of the curriculum in the Discipleship 101 program I teach in Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries, the ministry God has called me to steward. If you are like me and feel the challenge of reading books that go deep and comprehending was is written, give Jerry Bridges series of books a try.
As an FYI the reason it took 2.5 months to read is it was read as a weekly group study.