Chapter 6 of Jerry Bridges’s book The Pursuit of Holiness is called “The Battle for Holiness.” I’ve shared some quotes from this chapter already, and here is the last set I want to post from this chapter.
In my previous post I shared some of Bridges’s writing about the conflict between reason and desire. Below, you’ll read some thoughts on how our reasoning is deceived.
The third thing we must understand about indwelling sin is that it tends to deceive our understanding or reasoning. Our reason, enlightened by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, stands in the way of sin gaining mastery over us through our desires. Therefore Satan’s great strategy is to deceive our minds. Paul spoke of the “deceitful desires” of the old self (Ephesians 4:22). (p.64)
Deceit of the mind is carried on by degrees, little by little. We are first drawn away from watchfulness, then from obedience. […] We are drawn away from watchfulness by overconfidence. We come to believe we are beyond a partifular temptation. We look at someone else’s fall and say, “I would never do that.”
We are often drawn away from obedience by the abuse of grace. Jude speaks of certain men “who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality” (Jude 4). We abuse grace when we think we can sin and then receive forgiveness by claiming 1 John 1:9. 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. (p.65)
That last line is piercing for me. When confessing my sin I am so quick to dwell on God’s mercy and neglect (forget?) His holiness. Bridges calls this an “abuse” of grace. Do you agree? Do you agree with Bridges’s description of the deception of our minds? I don’t view this as esoteric philosophizing—if we know how we are tempted and deceived then we can formulate strategies (by God’s grace) to fight against the temptation.
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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