Saturday, October 8, 2011

For your "good" days and your "bad" days

One of the books I am currently reading is The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges. This is the book that I am having the men in my care group read also. The thesis of this book is that grace and the pursuit of holiness are not incompatible. A lot of people appear to stumble on this point because grace is seen as  something we receive apart from works, but the pursuit of holiness requires work, hard work.

Here are a few gospelicious quotes from this book that I highly recommend.
"Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace and your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace."
"When we pray to God for His blessing, He does not examine our performance to see if we are worthy. Rather, He looks to see if we are trusting in the merit of His Son as our only hope for securing His blessing. To repeat: We are saved by grace and we are to live by grace every day of our Christian lives."
"We need to continue to hear the Gospel every day of our Christian lives. Only a continuous reminder of the gospel of God's grace through Christ will keep us from falling into good-day - bad-day thinking, wherein we think our daily relationship with God is based on how good we've been.
It is only the joy of hearing the gospel and being reminded that our sins are forgiven in Christ that will keep the demands of discipleship from becoming drudgery. It is only gratitude and love to God that comes from knowing that he no longer counts our sins against us (Romans 4:8) that provides the proper motive for responding to the claims of discipleship."
"The gospel, applied to our hearts every day, frees us to be brutally honest with ourselves and with God. The assurance of  His total forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Christ  means we don’t have to play defensive games anymore. We  don’t have to rationalize and excuse our sins. We can say we told a lie instead of saying we exaggerated a bit. We can admit  an unforgiving spirit instead of continuing to blame our parents for our emotional distress. We can call sin exactly what it is, regardless of how ugly and shameful it may be, because we know that Jesus bore that sin in His body on the cross. With the assurance of total forgiveness through Christ, we have no reason to hide from our sins anymore." 
"We believers do need to be challenged to a life of committed discipleship, but that challenge needs to be based on the gospel, not on duty or guilt. Duty or guilt may motivate us for  awhile, but only a sense of Christ’s love for us will motivate us  for a lifetime. 
If the love of Christ for us is to be the motivating force  for a life of discipleship, how then can we come to the place where we are acutely conscious of His love? The answer  is, through the gospel. It is, of course, the Holy Spirit who  pours out His love into our hearts (Romans 5:5), but He  does this through the message of the gospel. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus paid for all our sins on the cross and that we are thereby forgiven. As we continually reflect upon that gospel, the Holy Spirit floods our hearts with a  sense of God’s love to us in Christ. And that sense of His  love motivates us in a compelling way to live for Him."
"Preaching the gospel to ourselves every day addresses both  the self-righteous Pharisee and the guilt-laden sinner that  dwell in our hearts. Because the gospel is only for sinners,  preaching it to ourselves every day reminds us that we are  indeed sinners in need of God’s grace. It causes us to say to  God, in the words of an old hymn, “Nothing in my hands I  bring, simply to thy cross I cling.” It helps us to consciously  renounce any confidence in our own goodness as a means of  meriting God’s blessing on our lives.
Perhaps more important, though, preaching the gospel to  ourselves every day gives us hope, joy, and courage. The good  news that our sins are forgiven because of Christ’s death fills  our hearts with joy, gives us courage to face the day, and offers  us hope that God’s favor will rest upon us, not because we are  good, but because we are in Christ." 

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