I’m currently reading The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. It’s a classic of the late 20th century, I think. It was also one of the first books I read as a Christian. Here are some quotes from Chapter 1, where Bridges explains the need for the book in the context of Christians not taking holiness seriously. (The page numbers in these quotations are from the 1996 edition of the book, not the one linked here.)
Our first problem is that our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered. We are more concerned about our own “victory” over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve the heart of God. We cannot tolerate failure in our struggle with sin chiefly because we are success-oriented, not because we know it is offensive to God. (pp. 16, 17)
God wants us to walk in obedience—not victory. Obedience is oriented toward God; victory is oriented toward self. This may seem to be merely splitting hairs over semantics, but there is a subtle, self-centered attitude at the root of many of our difficulties with sin. Until we face this attitude and deal with it we will not consistently walk in holiness. (p. 17)
In commenting on some of the more minute Old Testament dietary laws God gave to the children of Israel, Andrew Bonar said, “It is not the importance of the thing, but the majesty of the Lawgiver, that is to be the standard of obedience….Some, indeed, might reckon such minute and arbitrary rules as these as trifling. But the principle involved in obedience or disobedience was none other than the same principle which was tried in Eden at the foot of the forbidden tree. It is really this: Is the Lord to be obeyed in all things whatsoever He commands? Is He a holy Lawgiver? Are His creatures bound to give implicit assent to His will?” (p. 19)
Ooh, isn’t that last quote by Bonar terrific?
I don’t know how regular this feature will be, but I thought I’d share some quotes from the books I’m reading. I present these with the understanding that I do not necessarily endorse all of an author’s positions in this particular book or in his/her writing in general. These are quotes which I found interesting, provocative, well-written, or worthy of sharing in some other way.
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