In 2007 I had an idea that changed my life. For years I had wanted to read some of the classics of the Christian faith, but I knew that without a measure of accountability I would never have the self-discipline to make my way through them. I realized that this accountability could come by reading books together in community and decided to launch a reading program called Reading Classics Together.
In the years since this program began we’ve read some amazing classics from years gone by and from the present time. These include titles like Holiness by J.C. Ryle, Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen, The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, and Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. Most recently we read David McIntyre’s The Hidden Life of Prayer. These books and others like them have benefited me immensely and I know the same is true of those who have read along with me.
Having recently finished two older titles I think it is time to look at another contemporary classic–Jerry Bridge’s The Discipline of Grace. This is a book I have read before but one I am anxious to read again. We hear a lot of talk these days about being gospel-centered and about preaching the gospel to yourself. Bridges was telling us all of these things long before it was cool to do so. The publisher does a good job of explaining why this is an important book.
We know we need grace. Without it we’d never come to Christ in the first place, but being a Christian is more than just coming to Christ. It’s about growing and becoming more like Jesus—it’s about pursuing holiness. The pursuit of holiness is hard work, and that’s where we turn from grace to discipline—and often make a big mistake.
Grace is every bit as important for growing as a Christian as it is for becoming a Christian. “The pursuit of holiness,” writes Jerry Bridges, “must be anchored in the grace of God; otherwise it is doomed to failure.” Grace is at the heart of the gospel, and without a clear understanding of the gospel and grace we can easily slip into a performance-based lifestyle that bears little resemblance to what the gospel offers us.
According to Bridges, many Christians don’t have a good grasp of what the gospel message is. In The Discipline of Grace, he offers a clear and thorough explanation of the gospel and what it means to the believer. Bridges discusses how the same grace that brings us to faith in Christ also disciplines us in Christ, and how we learn to discipline ourselves in the areas of commitment, conviction, choices, watchfulness, and adversity.
If you’ve ever struggled with what your role is and what role God takes in your growth as a Christian, this book will comfort and challenge you as you learn to rest in Christ while vigorously pursuing a life of holiness.
Though this book follows two of his other titles, it stands very well on its own.
How does the Reading Classics program work? It’s easy! Simply get yourself a copy of the book and read the first chapter before August 9, two weeks from today. Then visit the blog on the 9th; I will have a reflection on the first chapter which you can read and, if you are so inclined, comment on. We will read a chapter a week until the book is finished. It’s that simple!
The book is widely available.
- Westminster Books is offering it at a great discount ($7.50).
- Amazon has the paperback at $14.32 and the Kindle edition at $8.39.
- CBD Reformed offers the paperback at $9.49 and the ebook at $7.99.
- ChristianAudio has marked down the audiobook to $4.98 if you prefer to listen instead of read.
If you’re going to read along with me, why don’t you just leave a comment below so I can get a gauge on interest.