I’ve been reading a new book by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington. It is titled The Bookends of the Christian Life. I read it some time ago when it was in manuscript form (as I was asked to write a blurb for it) but I am reading it again for review purposes, now that I’ve received a printed copy. I should have a review of the book ready to go for Tuesday. For now, though, I wanted to share with you what I’ve found one of the most comforting statements I’ve read in a long time. In the book’s early pages the authors describe Christ’s righteousness and the present reality of our justification. And here they offer some words that we all know, and yet somehow we tend to lose track of. They remind us that as sinful human beings, even as Christians, we are tempted to rely on our good deeds to save us but also on our bad deeds to condemn us. Here is what they say:
“Faith involves both a renunciation and a reliance. First, we must renounce any trust in our own performance as the basis of our acceptance before God. We trust in our own performance when we believe we’ve earned God’s acceptance by our own good works. But we also trust in our own performance when we believe we’ve lost God’s acceptance by our bad works–by our sin. So we must renounce any consideration of either our bad works or our good works as the means of relating to God.
Second, we must place our reliance entirely on the perfect obedience of the sin-bearing death of Christ as the sole basis of our standing before God–on our best days as well as our worst.
What a blessing it is that as Christians we relate to God only and always through the mediation of Christ. What a joy that we can renounce our works, whether good or bad, as our means of relating to God. What comfort!