Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

19 March 2013

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges

There is a lot to love about this book.

Firstly, the chapters are very short.  I love books with short chapters.  When I check to see how many pages there are until the end of a chapter and find there are still fifty to go I get overwhelmed.  Short chapters are excellent.  (Maybe that is why I like the Bible so much.)

Secondly, Bridges outlines a whole host of sins that we may not even recognise in ourselves.  Am I tempted to think that I have given every part of my life over to God?  Needing to think again.  Here is the list of the sins Bridges covers - ungodliness, anxiety and frustration, discontentment, unthankfulness, pride, selfishness, self-control (lack there of), impatience and irritability, anger, judgmentalism, envy, jealousy, sins of speech and worldliness.  Thinking I don't have a problem with any/some/most of these?  Bridges drills down below the surface and turns up all sorts of every day examples that I hadn't even thought of...and that is why they are "respectable sins" - the sins we tolerate to the point that we cease to recognise them as sinful.

Sounding like a fun book?  Keep reading.

Thirdly, Jerry Bridges has a very strong grasp of God's sovereignty.  A loving sovereign God.   This book provides sound and solid teaching on God's sovereignty alongside the teaching on sin.  Worth reading to be moved once again by God's sovereignty.

Which leads to the fourth - this book is pastoral.  Ligon Duncan, in his commendation for Respectable Sins said, "Jerry Bridges has blessed us with this timely book designed to help us grow in grace and glorify and enjoy God as we ought.  I can't think of any partner with whose help I'd rather tackle my own heart sins than Jerry." And he is right.  I felt like someone was holding my hand and leading me ever so gently through the pages of this book.  I couldn't put it down.  I couldn't wait to read the next chapter.  I felt sad when it came to an end.  A book that was exposing sin after sin.  That is gifted writing.  And that is the wonder of being one of God's children.  Sinful but saved.

I felt encouraged (in the best sense of the word) to take a long, hard look at myself, and confident to do so because the God I long to love and serve with all my heart, soul, mind and strength has loving sovereignty over my life.  He has numbered my days and even the hairs on my head.  He loves me so much that He sent His only Son to die for me to take the punishment for all that sin.  Why wouldn't I want to tackle this sinfulness given the hope found in the cross of Jesus, given to us by a sovereign and loving God.

Loved this book.

4 comments:

Karen said...

Great review Meredith. This is a great book. I've read it several times now. Jerry Bridges is great on God's sovereignty, isn't he? I've finally managed to finish reading Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, and it is a really strong theme in that book as well :)

Meredith said...

Thanks Karen. I'd say God's sovereignty is his theme, his default...you know what I mean? I am struggling to find the words. And I love reading about it because it is my fallback position as well. I have just started The Pursuit of Holiness which also has this theme running through it. Interesting though to read this one as an earlier example of his writing. And I am looking forward to Trusting God as well. And may then leave my Jerry Bridges reading at that for now. Certainly good reading though. I feel well fed and nurtured by his words.

Sarah said...

Yep, not a 'fun' book, but well worth the read. I enjoyed reading your review. That book made me squirm when I read it, but I still have it on my 'books all Christians should read' list.

Meredith said...

I agree Sarah. I am trying to work out how I can encourage everyone I know to read it. I'm thinking it will be a book to read maybe once a year. I'm sure the rebukes and the encouragaments will fall in different places each year.