A couple of months ago, word came that Jerry Bridges had finished the race. Readers of this blog may be familiar with the name, but for the uninitiated Mr. Bridges was on staff with The Navigators for almost sixty years, was an author, speaker, and all-around good guy. He finished well. After hearing of his passing, I decided to reread one of his books, The Pursuit of Holiness—and that’s what you should do, too.
Imagine being at the General Assembly (PCA) for a week where an elder refutes an argument by saying the way others are speaking about the issue “makes me sad.” And everyone takes him seriously…
Imagine hearing arguments that same-sex attraction (SSA) is just another temptation that some men and women will just have to live with forever because, hey, aren’t we all always tempted by something…
Imagine you have grown used to this kind of thinking. Thoroughly.
Now imagine you (we’ll call you Feeble Knees—from Hebrews 12:12) meet a man born in another time, back when a Navy man read the Book and believed it (we’ll call him Jerry Bridges—who will be quoting from his own book, The Pursuit of Holiness). You begin the conversation:
FK: Man, I am so broken by the Fall, as we all are. I desire to do what would be sin if I actually did it or if I thought about doing it for too many microseconds.
JB (trying to strengthen Feeble Knees): God expects every Christian to live a holy life. But holiness is not only expected; it is the promised birthright of every Christian. Paul’s statement is true. Sin shall not be our master.
FK: Wait, Jerry! You know we all have a besetting sin or a temptation that just will not let us go. I’d love to change my feelings but I know I can’t—I’m broken, remember? I’ll never be free from my brokenness in this life but praise God that I am forgiven for my sins!
JB: We cannot receive half of God’s grace. If we have experienced it at all, we will experience not only forgiveness of our sins but also freedom from sin’s dominion.
FK: I know God has promised us victory. But we all slip up. To me, victory means knowing every single day that Jesus loves me despite my failures and weaknesses.
JB: God wants us to walk in obedience—not victory. We abuse grace when, after sinning, we dwell on the compassion and mercy of God to the exclusion of His holiness and hatred of sin.
FK: But my feelings…
JB: We cannot escape the fact that God hates our sins. We may trifle with our sins or excuse them, but God hates them. Therefore every time we sin, we are doing something God hates…we become so accustomed to our sins we sometimes lapse into a state of peaceful coexistence with them, but God never ceases to hate them.
If your knees are getting feeble, take up Bridges’ book and read.