Jerry Bridges has become one of my favorite authors of Christian books. He sticks to the basics of what living a Christian life is meant to be. His latest book The Transforming Power of the Gospel is another excellent explanation of how keeping the gospel in mind every day contributes to our development of the character of Christ--not just outward behavior, but inner motivation that leads to Christ-like behavior.
“It [the gospel] daily reminds us that from God’s point of view, our relationship with Him is not based on how good or bad we’ve been but upon the perfect goodness and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the gospel frees us up to honestly face our sin, knowing that because of Christ’s death, God no longer counts that sin against us (see Romans 4:7-8). The aim of this book is to serve God’s goal that we become more conformed to the image of His Son,” states the author in the Preface.
He spends some time on explaining how understanding the holiness of God prepares us to realize the enormity of our sin and rebellion against God. Only when we understand how much God hates sin, can we appreciate and fully accept our need for his grace towards us and how impossible it is for us to merit his grace.
Often, the author points out, Christians don’t take their own sin seriously enough to want to be changed because we think we are “good enough” or it’s such a little thing, God will overlook it. Instead of justifying ourselves, we need to take sin seriously. He states, “Nothing prepares a person to understand and embrace the gospel so much as a personal awareness and conviction of one’s own sin.”
He goes on to explain how the gospel contributes to our spiritual transformation.:
Jerry Bridges devotes a chapter to “Dependent Responsibility” in which he explains how we cannot “just turn it over to the Lord…No, they must do their work. But all of their building and watching activities are in vain unless the Lord builds and watches.” He quotes Psalm 127:1 and Philippians 2:12-13 to show how we are both dependent on God who works in us and yet, also, responsible to “work out our own salvation.” We do find it nearly impossible to keep from going from one extreme to the other. We either think we can just do whatever we want and God overlooks it, or we think we’re doing all the work while God judges us. It is neither.
He also writes a chapter on “The Transforming Work of the Holy Spirit:” “But we must keep in mind that it is the Holy Spirit who gives us the Scriptures, it is the Holy Spirit who enables us to understand the Scriptures, and it is the Holy Spirit who directs us and enables to apply the Scriptures to our daily lives.”
The Transforming Power of the Gospel is a good book for reminding us of God’s purpose and his power to complete that purpose in us. In it, the author encourages, corrects gently and urges intensely to become more like Christ by “embracing the gospel” daily.
Volume 11 Issue 4 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review
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