The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges (Mom’s Bookshelf)

The Pursuit of Holiness [PURSUIT OF HOLINESS]I recently had the opportunity to review The Pursuit of Holiness by Dr. Jerry Bridges. If you’ve read my reviews of several of his other books, you know that I really appreciate his writing. Dr. Bridges is able to communicate and practically apply biblical truth very effectively, with a humility and grace rarely seen. The Pursuit of Holiness is no exception. The book is definitely deserving of it’s reputation as a “modern classic”!

While his book Transforming Grace emphasized God’s grace in our Christian walk, The Pursuit of Holiness emphasizes our personal responsibility. When it comes to living a holy life, what is our responsibility, and for what do we rely on God? He explains:

The title for this book comes from the biblical command, “Pursue holiness, for without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14, author’s paraphrase). The word pursue suggests two thoughts: first, that diligence and effort are required; and second that it is a lifelong task. These two thoughts form a dual theme throughout this book. While seeking to set forth clearly and accurately God’s provision for our holiness, I have deliberately stressed our responsibility, feeling that this is an emphasis sorely needed among Christians today. At the same time I have sought to emphasize that holiness is a process, something we never completely attain in this life. Rather, as we begin to conform to the will of God in one area of life, He reveals to us our need in another area. That is why we will always be pursuing-as opposed to attaining-holiness in this life.

A holy life is defined as “a life [lived] in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible and in contrast to the sinful ways of the world.” Why is it that holiness is such a struggle for most Christians? Dr. Bridges identifies three basic problems:

  • Our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered. We’re more concerned about the personal effects of sin and being “successful” over it than we are about the fact that sin is offensive to God…that it grieves him.
  • We have misunderstood “living by faith” to mean that no effort at holiness is required on our part.  Instead, we need to recognize that we do have a personal responsibility for our walk of holiness.
  • We do not take some sin seriously. We mentally categorize sins into those that are unacceptable and those which we can tolerate, rather than calling sin “sin”.
These three problems are expanded on and discussed in detail throughout the book. Dr. Bridges is clear that while holiness and obedience to God’s commands is not a condition of salvation, it is a necessary part of salvation that is received by faith in Christ and is required for fellowship with God, our own well-being, effective service to God, and assurance of salvation. He also explains how joy in Christ both produces and results from this obedience.
The Pursuit of Holiness clearly lays out our responsibility to live a holy life without falling into the trap of legalism and an unbiblical performance-driven salvation. An excellent read for the newest convert and the seasoned believer alike. 
Thanks so much to Navpress for providing a review copy to me. All opinions expressed are my own.

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  1. Wow! This sounds like an amazing book. He is still working on me – chiseling away…

  2. sounds like a great book! I have some on my shelf that I need to review and blog. 🙂 what a fun way to share books/resources with others! visiting from ifellowship

  3. I read this book too long ago and could stand a repeat read. I enjoyed reading your review. It reminded me of a lot of excellent points. I, too, appreciate Bridges writing and would like to go back and give this one another go around!

  4. This sounds like a great read Kara. I will have to see if I can get it on my Kindle. How often we are selfish in our desires and our walk with the Lord is compromised. I love books like this that readjust my perspective. Thanks for the review!

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