Monday, November 07, 2005
The Pursuit of Holiness
One of our Wednesday night classes at my church is studying Jerry Bridges’ classic little book, The Pursuit of Holiness. As a part of the class I am re-reading this book which I first read almost 15 years ago in college. As I have re-read especially the first half of the book I have been reminded of how great this little, simply written book is. I cannot recommend it too strongly. If people in our churches grasped the ideas in the early chapters about the necessity of holiness, we would be ready to understand the necessity of oversight. It is not by accident that the book of Scripture which tells us without holiness no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14), also speaks so strongly of the need for oversight (Heb 13:17). Bridges clearly and simply explains the biblical teaching of the necessity of perseverance, undercutting the sadly common, but false perversion of the doctrine of perseverance- i.e., the idea that one can profess faith, then live a life with no real concern for the things of God and be considered right with God and fit for heaven. The bible teaches no such thing, regardless of how common the idea may be. I do believe the bible teaches that those who are truly converted will persevere in the faith; but the point is that they will persevere. Those who profess faith but do not go on to progress in holiness and Christ-likeness (progress, not obtain perfection) show that they have never truly been converted (see Titus 1:16).
If you are trying to communicate these ideas with your church (or class or small group), a good way to start could be introducing this little book. Its size and short chapters make it a book that is not intimidating. And you can find inexpensive copies fairly easily.
P.S. While searching for an image of the book to include, the search engine suggested that perhaps I meant "pursuit of happiness" rather than "pursuit of holiness." Interesting!