A book review by Mariya Stefanovich
The Discipline of Grace is a continuation of two previous books by Jerry Bridges (Pursuit of Holiness and Transforming Grace). This book examines the shared responsibility of God and the believer in the process of sanctification. Often times people do not understand what this process of pursuing God’s holiness looks like or why it is important. Many people are unsure of how to walk through the Christian life if they constantly fail and feel the guilt of their failures. On the other end of the spectrum, others may become prideful of their knowledge of God’s commands and lose sight of their dependence on God. This book is a response to all of these questions and serves as a reminder of the importance of living by God’s grace and what it practically looks like to pursue holiness in our daily lives.
The main goal in a Christian’s life is to strive to become holy, just as He is holy, and to do this the Christian is called to a life of discipline. In this book, Bridges states, “Discipline is one of the chief means God uses to make us holy.” What exactly is discipline in a Christian’s life? Why is it necessary to be disciplined and in what ways can we become disciplined in our faith? Throughout the course of this book all of these questions are answered with detail, and a picture of what our life should look like is painted. God works in Christians’ lives to mature them through obedience, dependence and commitment to Him, convictions, choices, watching and adversity. Through every situation that comes up in our lives God teaches us to be wholly dependent on Him, to put sin to death in our lives, and to be watchful to not let sin enter into our lives. Everything from the choices we make to the pain and difficulties we go through is for the purpose of learning to live by grace and to reach holiness.
Often times we find it easy to talk about dependency on God, staying faithful through adversity, and striving to reach holiness. We set goals to live by these values and to apply them into our lives, but find it challenging to stay disciplined in these goals. Throughout this book Bridges gives scriptural guidance and many examples of how to practically apply all of God’s commands into our lives. He also challenges readers to question themselves to see in which areas of life we need to repent, change, or take on responsibility. In the center of all of Bridges’ teachings is the gospel, for it is by the gospel and God’s grace that we should live our daily lives.
Though this book is may seem like an intimidating read, I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone, and trust that it will be beneficial to anyone who reads it. It is filled with truths about God and the gospel, and will encourage you to strive toward holiness in your everyday life. If you choose to read this book you will learn a tremendous amount about God’s love for you, and His desire to bring you to perfection by His grace.
“We have seen, then, that grace and discipline - both God’s discipline for us and our discipline of ourselves - far from being opposed to each other are inextricably united together in God’s program of sanctification. God’s discipline is based on grace, there is no question about that.”