"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 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. Whether you’re continuing your pursuit of holiness or just beginning, the principles and guidelines in The Pursuit of Holiness will challenge you to obey God’s command of holiness.
- why don’t we hear this in church?
Jerry Bridges fills this book with Scripture references to emphasize the fact that he is not advancing his own opinions; he is faithfully describing Christ’s plan for his followers. Unfortunately, the contents of this book might come as a surprise to many people. This is not a topic often emphasized in our churches. And yet I believe it is the essence of what it means to be a Christian.
- V good
I liked that it has a lot of scripture to support the teachings the author presents.
- Great book!
Great book, challenging and convicting! Certainly a short book and not comprehensive but draws out the importance of holiness and being willing to surrender our desires to ultimately be complete, whole, holy as Christ is holy.
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- An Important Book for All Christians
This is such an important book for believers to read. It is both encouraging and challenging. The reader does a very nice job. I understand there is now also a version available read by Alistair Begg, which I would expect is even nicer to listen to (who doesn't love a Scottish accent??). But this one is very nice as well. It's well worth listening to multiple times.
- Simply Awesome
Such spirital revelation and insight. Like a great meal...Eating for the masters table. I highly recommend it.
- Important but ultimately lacking
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.
While the 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.
- Great Book
- Thanks for good sound, good reading
New thing to me...audio books, but I certainly enjoy the good sound quality and the excellent reading.
- Most challenging book I've ever read
I highly recommend this book. It was so challenging to me and I'm sure it will be to you in your Pursuit of Holiness...
- How do you live the command?
Whether you simply have a vague understanding of "holiness," or you are a Bible scholar that has spent a significant amount of time studying this word's origin, usage, and possible meanings, you know that holiness seems to be an unattainable attribute of men. Yet there it is in the Bible, the command, "Be Holy, for I am Holy." How are we to attain this holiness? How are we to strive for this holiness? What is meant by this command? To what degree are we to be holy?
These are the questions that I have struggled with over the years. No matter how much I have efforted myself to be holy, I am not there. Take into account all of my thoughts and desires and I am set back even further from the attainment of holiness. Factor in my deep-seated motives, and holiness becomes a completely foreign country, where I am separated from it by vast oceans of selfishness, impurity, weakness, and the like.
A few years ago I read through The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, and it really helped me to understand the meaning of holiness, the commands of holiness, and the pursuit of holiness from a Biblical perspective. Over the last few weeks I have been listening Christian Audio's version of this book and have once again been assisted in my own personal pursuit.
This book is both encouraging, in its ability to relate to everyone's struggle, and convicting, in its confrontation of the lack of pursuit. You see, we must be in this pursuit of holiness. Sharing the struggles with all mankind doesn't exempt us from striving, it demands that we do so by eliminating the excuse. Because of this, I also appreciate the fact that this book is very theological without sacrificing its practicality. In other words, it is very useful. Jerry Bridges gives very practical applications while building the Biblical basis for those applications. I was able to walk away with something to do. I found myself putting the lessons into practice on those days where I had listened to a chapter on the way to work.
I highly recommend this book. I especially recommend this book for use in a group study or Sunday school situation. There are many opportunities for discussion as Jerry Bridges is also open and honest about his own struggles.
I would also like to recommend the Christian Audio version of this book. The voice talents that Christian audio employs for the reading of their books are really quite good. I always feel pulled in, as if the author was actually sitting there reading the book to me themselves. I am even considering purchasing a few of the CD versions of these books to keep on the shelves at the church where I am the Pastor. I see quite a potential for those who have a difficult time reading or are simply looking for a way to fill their commutes to work or the drives to a vacation. There are many that may not purchase an audio book right now, but would consider listening to one if the church made it available. I'm telling you, once you've listened to an audio book, you'll be hooked.
- A lovely encouraging read
This book provides clarity, convictions, and encouragement to those seeking after God's standard.
- review for reviewers program
Thanks for the gracious gift from christianaudio Reviewers Program
Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness (Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1978).
Reviewed by Derek R. Iannelli-Smith
Brief Biography of Jerry Bridges
Jerry Bridges has discipled many of us over the years in the sacredness, consecration, and worship of God, and having the opportunity for reviewing The Pursuit of Holiness, in audio was fantastic!
For three months, I have persevered through the study guide, the book, my bible, and the audios. Spending this time in pursuit of holiness, has been quite humbling, convicting, and awakening to the enormity of God’s Holiness in light of my sinfulness and how small the Cross really is, in my life. And I am still not finished with the study guide!
Seventeen chapters of scriptural themed topics on the pursuing or ‘going all out’ of holiness with good tension reflecting God’s sovereignty and our responsibility as disciples of Christ Jesus.
Meditation just on the scriptures below will provide a reward for those that seek HIM.
HOLINESS IS FOR YOU Romans 6:14 (ESV)
THE HOLINESS OF GOD 1 Peter 1:15-16 (ESV)
HOLINESS IS NOT AN OPTION Hebrews 12:14 (ESV)
THE HOLINESS OF CHRIST 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
A CHANGE OF KINGDOMS Romans 6:6-7 (ESV)
THE BATTLE FOR HOLINESS Romans 7:2 (ESV)
HELP IN THE DAILY BATTLE Romans 6:1 (ESV)
OBEDIENCE—NOT VICTORY Romans 8:13 (ESV)
PUTTING SIN TO DEATH Colossians 3:5 (ESV)
THE PLACE OF PERSONAL DISCIPLINE 1 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)
HOLINESS IN BODY 1 Corinthians 9:27 (ESV)
HOLINESS IN SPIRIT 2 Corinthians 7:1 (ESV)
HOLINESS AND OUR WILLS Philippians 2:13 (ESV)
HABITS OF HOLINESS Romans 6:19 (ESV)
HOLINESS AND FAITH Hebrews 11:8 (ESV)
HOLINESS IN AN UNHOLY WORLD John 17:15 (ESV)
THE JOY OF HOLINESS Romans 14:17 (ESV)
The Pursuit of Holiness is saturated in Scripture combined with listening to it, embeds the sword in our hearts and minds. Jerry Bridges is also a master of presuppositional apologetics.
A combination of confessional, dialoging and triperspectival teaching, this classic is a great personal devotion, small group, or discipling material. It is easy to see why over 1 million copies are out there and have been impacting many of us for a while. This work is essential part of the staple diet of any believer pursuing holiness. This is my 2nd time around with this masterpiece!
We can say just as accurately that the pursuit of holiness is a joint venture between God and the Christian. No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but just as surely no one will attain it without effort on his own part. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But He has given to us the responsibility of doing the walking; He does not do that for us.
We Christians greatly enjoy talking about the provision of God, how Christ defeated sin on the cross and gave us His Holy Spirit to empower us to victory over sin. But we do not as readily talk about our own responsibility to walk in holiness. Two primary reasons can be given for this.
First, we are simply reluctant to face up to our responsibility. We prefer to leave that to God. We pray for victory when we know we should be acting in obedience.
The second reason is that we do not understand the proper distinction between God’s provision and our own responsibility for holiness. I struggled for a number of years with the question, “What am I to do myself, and what am I to rely on God to do?” Only as I came to see what the Bible teaches on this question, and then faced up to my own responsibility, did I see any progress in the “pursuit of holiness.”
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.
Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness (Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1978), 9.
How did this study impact me? Maybe some of my notes from the study guide is a good place to conclude. These are my personal study notes and what God and I were talking about;
the pursuit of holiness is not about ‘victory’ over my sins.
the pursuit of holiness is not a performance-based gospel.
the pursuit of holiness is about facing up to my responsibility.
the pursuit of holiness is about understanding the proper distinction between God’s provision and my responsibility for holiness.
the pursuit of holiness is about conforming to the character of God.
the pursuit of holiness is not about making allowances for minor flaws or shortcomings in my character.
the pursuit of holiness is about God rescuing my ambition.
is there evidence of practical holiness in my life?
do I strive and desire after holiness?
do I grieve over my lack of it (holiness) and earnestly seek the help of God to be holy?
is my food to do the will of Him who sent me?
how do I view those who do not show love to me? do I see them as a person for whom Christ died or as a person making my life difficult?
satan will try to confuse me on the issue of what God has done for us and what I must for myself.
I was born a sinner, and it takes practice to develop my particular style of sinning.
I sin because I choose to sin.
the seat of indwelling sin is my heart, it works largely through my desires, and it tends to deceive my understanding and reasoning.
is my natural result of seeing God’s standard and my sinfulness the awaking within of a desire to be holy?
it may not be the activity itself that determines whether something is sinful for me, but rather my response to it.
the more I see the holiness of God in light of my sinfulness, the bigger the Cross becomes in my life.
it is by willing, prayerful, and persistent obedience to the requirements of Scripture that godly patterns are developed and become part of me.
the objective of my meditation (on scripture) is application – obedience to scripture.
wow… a definite musing, thank you again christianaudio for this great blessing!
- A Must Have!
I downloaded it and it was Amazing! I read it in 2 days. I compare it to the Bait of Satan by John Bevere. Jerry Bridges is a very knowledgable author of Sin and how you can break free from its bondage even as a new christian or as a refresher for an older christian. A must have!
- Passionately desires to bring glory to Christ
Excellent book showing how true faith works itself out in love as one passionately desires to bring glory to Christ through their life.
- Practical guide
It's not only God's will for us to be holy but also His command. We cannot just sit back and wait for God to sanctify us, but we must actively pursue putting off our sin. And although we are blessed with the outcome of victory in our own lives by this, even more important is that our obedience brings glory to God. This book is full of practical examples, AND practical applications for many areas we can walk in obedience by pursuing holiness.
This classic is short and easy to read or listen to.
- What is this that Jerry Bridges hath wrought? Powerfully crafted, brilliantly read.
In this classic book “The Pursuit of Holiness“, Jerry Bridges sets out an almost exhaustive catalogue of principles by which one might consider what it means to seek a life of holiness. Usefully, the early parts of the work present not how to pursue holiness, but a systematic explanation of the relevance of holiness to the Christian, its essential root, origin and object in the Holiness of God, and the imperatives presented by scripture which motivate and define this search for holiness.
Jerry Bridges: The Pursuit of Holiness
Of particular value is the chapter entitled “obedience not victory” in which careful attention is paid to the way in which one measures holiness – particularly that one should not seek ‘victory’ in the pursuit of holiness (that being what we have won for us in Christ), but rather ‘obedience’ to God’s law (in light of what Christ has indeed done for us).
The work, as all books discussing holiness, treads a very thin line between a created legalism and Christian freedom in the Gospel. The author skilfully moves the discussion back to the Gospel or grace in a number of places, which is greatly to be valued given the topic at hand. That being said, there are places where the reader may feel the line has been crossed into an artificial legalism. As an example, the application of Romans 14 to produce a mandate to derive one’s “own convictions” according to how “God is leading [you]” and then hold them to be a rule one must be “careful not to violate” runs contrary to the intention of Paul to underscore freedom according to knowledge. Thus, whereas the Holy Ghost writes by Paul, “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteems any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean” (Romans 14:14) it seems the author finds a mandate to figure out what God is leading one to esteem unclean and so declare it such unto one’s self.
That being said, the work as a whole stands solidly upon scripture and reflects Grace as its motivation and end. Although I think this is a good book which presents much value and encouragement to the discerning Christian reader, I do not recommend the book for new Christians or those who do not have a firm understanding of the Gospel and the doctrine of justification as the power with which Jerry Bridges brings to the table may easily overpower all other concerns.
This edition is read by Arthur Morey who does a wonderful job adding expression and interest to a text which is at times difficult and expresses complex concepts.
With thanks to the christianaudio reviews program who provided the review copy of this audio book
I have enjoyed this book and am thankful to have heard it. I appreciate the reading of Arthur Morey because he reads at a pace by which you can track with the thought, and the subject is worth a lot of thought. I think the chapter order develops the subject well too. I'm listening to it a second time now looking up the scriptures in their context as they are referenced and talking to the Lord about it. I have already been helped.
- A must read
Numerous times in the Law of Moses, especially the book of Leviticus, God told His chosen people to "be holy, for I am holy". Just to make sure Christians didn't exclude themselves from that command, Jesus alludes to it ("be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect") and Peter quotes it directly. In spite of this, holiness is not actively pursued amongst Christians today, and it is becoming very common for the idea to be brushed off as old-fashioned and unnecessary.
The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges, is a book that challenges that way of thinking, and it does so succinctly and well. Jerry Bridges does a fantastic job explaining the concept of holiness, what it means, and why it is necessary for us. He elaborates our responsibility to become holy, and the role God plays in our endeavor. The book is thought-provoking, convicting, and scripturally sound.
There are numerous passages that are quote-worthy (and I intend to post such passages in the coming weeks). I especially liked the opening illustration of the farmer- he tills the field, sows the seed, and takes care of the land, but God is the one who will bring the crops. However, the farmer can't just sit back and leave God to do all the work- God won't plant the seeds for him. The same is true for holiness. We must strive and discipline ourselves for holiness, but God is the one who produces the fruit. It is not all us, and it is not all Him.
Arthur Morey's narration of the book is excellent. His delivery is gentle and clear, which makes this book very easy to listen to and pay attention.
Personally, I think The Pursuit of Holiness should be on every Christian's must-read list, and I would say that it's the best book I listened to or read in 2010. Normally, I don't actually say "you should/should not read/listen to this book" in my reviews, but in this case I'll make an exception. You must read or listen to this book... and then apply its teachings. It's pointless to read the book if you don't apply it.
This audiobook review of The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges was made possible by the christianaudio Reviewers Program.
- Helpful guidance on pursuing holiness
Holiness seems to be a topic that Christians often have difficulty dealing with. Sometimes this difficulty manifests itself in mistaken beliefs about earning salvation, sometimes in petty legalism and sometimes in trying way too hard to not be legalistic. The pursuit of holiness attempts to explain what holiness is, why it is important and how a Christian would go about pursuing holiness.
He does a good job of emphasising the necessity of us making effort towards holiness without falling into the trap of making it sound as though we earn our way right with God. This can be a hard balance to find. The first few chapters especially would be worth going over a couple of times to ponder what he has to say.
One particularly helpful chapter is the one on pursuing holiness and aiding other peoples pursuit of holiness when it comes to activities which the bible does not prohibit but that some would feel the need to abstain from. This chapter alone would make the book worth reading. Another particularly helpful emphasis is on personal responsibility to sin. While certainly external factors and internal predispositions can make particular sins easier to give into for some, personal responsibility is important to emphasize.
I think this book is worth reading for all Christians. It isn’t long (4 hours in audio or 179 pages in print) but gives lots of good food for thought.
Grateful for Jerry Bridges works!
- Practical with a Good Theological Base
The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges is a very practical book sustained by theological underpinnings that challenges the reader to take seriously the charge to “be holy, for I am holy” (cf. 1 Pet. 1:16). The book is a superb example of biblical exposition and a humble heart.
The book reads like a devotional, and the narrator is slow and soothing, which encourages deeper reflection on the truths and challenges throughout. I would suggest reading The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul prior to this one, as it gives a strong picture of the absolute holiness of God and would be a great vantage point for looking at our own pursuit of holiness. But Bridges’ book does provide a theological base, giving reasons why we should pursuit holiness and explaining the difference between justification and sanctification.
From there, the book hits home on every front, whether it be the importance of Bible study and reliance on the Holy Spirit for illumination, analyzing our actions, behaviors, habits, and thought life for holiness, dealing with temptation, and living as salt and light in a broken and fallen world.
The last chapter, which details the joy of holiness, could have come in the beginning, and it reminds me of John Piper’s Desiring God. From the numerous quotations from John Owen and other Christians past and present, Jerry Bridges has written a book that is grounded in Scripture, reformed in its heritage, and practical to the Christian walk. I strongly recommend it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from ChristianAudio as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
- Mechanical and "electronical" narration
This audio book is narrated by Arthur Morey. I feel that this book could be quite enjoyable and valuable, much like RC Sproul's take on pursuing holiness, but the narration is lacking. Morey reads in a mechanical fashion that feels like I'm using Apple's Text-To-Speech function, which is clearly electronic in style and unenjoyable for pleasure listening. If I were to listen to this narration during a car trip, I'd find the necessity to change to the music radio. Morey shows effort and attempt, but it almost sounds as if either (a) Morey does not have any prior experience reading audio books, or (b) Morey is a professional copy writer or legal aide and shows these roots in his reading.
- The Pursuit of Holiness is Pharasaical Self-Righteous Perfectionism
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café (http://jacobscafe.blogspot.com/2010/12/pursuit-of-holiness-is-pharasaical-self.html).
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 (more 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 more 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 more 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 more 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 more 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 more 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 more 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.
- Well worth the 4 hours
The Pursuit of Holiness is by Jerry Bridges. It is read by Arthur Morey.
Bridges has written a challenging book on being Holy as God is Holy. He points out examples in scripture to confirm his point. The book plainly points out that at the root of us is sin and we need to trust God (but also take responsibility for) to conquer our sin problem. It encourages believers to trust Christ to conquer all sin, not just the big ones. He proclaims that holiness is not just for the super Christian, but for all Christians.
I enjoyed this book overall. The narrator was average, but the content was great. It's only 4 hours (unabridged), and I'd argue that it could be the 4 hours that helps you develop a plan to conquer all sins, even the ones that you hide
This review is made possibly by christianaudio.com's reviewers program
- Excellent book!
Pursuit of Holiness Review
Jerry Bridges writes a piercing, challenging, and practical charge for Christians to give their lives to be holy as God commands. In The Pursuit of Holiness, readers will find practical helps, biblical conviction, and realistically high expectations.
What I Liked
Bridges clearly points Christians toward a higher level of following Christ. Far too many believers fail to live a holy life because they have compromised their understanding of what it means to be holy. The command of God is not for us to be more holy than our neighbors, it is to be holy like God. As Bridges writes, “This is where holiness begins—not with ourselves, but with God. It is only as we see His holiness, His absolute purity and moral hatred of sin, that we will be gripped by the awfulness of sin against the Holy God” (20). One major help for any believer to grow in holiness will be to see God in his true, awesome, terrifying, holiness.
Bridges rightly calls believers to seek to be holy by submitting themselves to the word of God. He writes, “We express our dependence on the Holy Spirit for a holy life in two ways. The first is through a humble and consistent intake of the Scripture. If we truly desire to live in the realm of the Spirit we must continually feed our minds with His truth. It is hypocritical to pray for victory over our sins yet be careless in our intake of the Word of God” (75). Bridges also claims, “Obedience is the pathway to holiness, but it is only as we have His commands that we can obey them. God’s Word must be so strongly fixed in our minds that it becomes the dominant influence in our thoughts, our attitudes, and our actions” (85). Again, Bridges says, “The Bible speaks to us primarily through our reason, and this is why it is so vitally important for our minds to be constantly brought under its influence. There is absolutely no shortcut to holiness that bypasses or gives little priority to a consistent intake of the Bible” (125). It is good, very good, for Christians to hear authors call them to sanctification through the Scriptures.
Though I could point out several other things, I’ll only list one more for right now. Bridges does an excellent job of calling Christians to accept the fact their sin is their responsibility. He argues, “We are to do something. We are not to “stop trying and start trusting”; we are to put to death the misdeeds of the body” (78). Bridges also writes, “So we see that God has made provision for our holiness. Through Christ He has delivered us from sin’s reign so that we now can resist sin. But the responsibility for resisting is ours. God does not do that for us” (57). Again, Bridges powerfully wraps up the book by asking, “Truly the choice is ours. What will we choose? Will we accept our responsibility and discipline ourselves to live in habitual obedience to the will of God? Will we persevere in
the face of frequent failure, resolving never to give up? Will we decide that personal holiness is worth the price of saying no to our body’s demands to indulge its appetites?” (152).
What I didn’t Like
There are a few shortcomings in this book, though not very many. Bridges would have made an even stronger case for personal holiness had he done more to truly identify what it means that God is holy. Bridges aimed at this goal, and brushed up against it on occasion, but he never truly gave the reader a deep sense of awe of God’s holiness. I write this fully aware that Bridges was not trying to write Sproul’s The Holiness of God, but was instead writing a book aimed at calling us to be holy. However, I would have liked another chapter or two on the importance of what it means that God is holy.
At the end of the book, Bridges points out the other shortcoming that I will mention. He (or his publisher) points out that this book focuses mainly on how to put off sin, but does not focus as much on putting on the godly alternatives that will help a believer to live in righteousness. In the final pages, readers find an encouragement to read The Practice of Godliness for this kind of advice. However, if more of how to put on righteousness had been in this book, it would have been stronger.
The Pursuit of Holiness is a book that any believer could benefit from reading. The chapters are short, easy-to-read, and power-packed. This book would be ideal for small group studies between friends or for personal devotional reading. I highly recommend this book to anyone who desires to have more joy in his Christian life by living more of what God calls him to be.
The review of the content came from a reading of the written work. However, I have also been given a copy of the excellent audio version of this work as part of the Christian Audio reviewers program.