We know we’re saved by grace through faith as believers, and we know scripture also teaches we’re called to live lives that strive towards and are growing in holiness. Let go and let God isn’t biblical.
Jerry Bridges reminds us how the gospel deals with these two issues that seem to oppose each other. He reminds us to rely on God’s grace alone for our salvation and to strive by His grace to be holy.
If we forget this truth, we will fall into one of two camps; self-righteousness or self-pity. Jerry Bridges gives a helpful example I want to share with you.
You Can Listen to the Bitesize Episode Below:
(You can read the post below or listen in to the podcast episode where I share a bit more information.)
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
Let me throw two scenarios by you:
You wake up, get your coffee, pray and have your time in God's Word. You get your family breakfast and start school with the kids. The whole day falls into place beautifully, and at the end of the day a neighbor stops by, and you have an opportunity to share the gospel with her. As you start to talk, you pray silently and ask the Lord to help you share the gospel with her and work in her heart.
Today is opposite the first. You wake up late and have no time to pray or read the Word. you don’t have milk for breakfast, you're short with the kids, and you're dealing with a lot of guilt over your day by the end of it. The doorbell rings a neighbor stops by, and you have an opportunity to share the gospel with her. Would you enter into it the same way as you did the prior day?
What would your level of confidence be on a good day vs. a bad day?
Do you believe God can bless you in the midst of what you would consider a bad spiritual day?
A reminder again, God’s blessing does not depend on our performance.
How do we deal with the bad day? We need to go back to the Cross and fix our eyes on Jesus. Confess areas of sin to the Lord but be reminded of Romans 8:1 – “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” You at that moment are reminded that it’s only because of Jesus suffering the punishment you deserve that you are enabled to share the gospel with this neighbor. Jerry Bridges reminds us that God’s grace through Christ is greater than our sin, even on our worst days.God’s grace through Christ is greater than our sin, even on our worst days.
Charles Spurgeon used to pray one sentence before he entered the pulpit –“God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 8:13). That about covers it!
If we look at our good day, we can begin to think that God only works through those who are good or have done things that seem pleasing to the Lord. So how good is good enough? We can’t reach the standard of perfection Jesus did.
This scenario reminds us that no matter our performance, we are fully reliant on God’s grace, which is His undeserved favor on those who deserve His wrath.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ ~ Galatians 6:14
The Good News of the Gospel is God's grace is available on our bad days and our good days. We sin every day in thought, word, deed, and motives. Our spiritual lives benefit greatly from being reminded of the gospel every day.
“We are saved by grace, and we are to live by grace every day of our Christian lives.” ~Jerry Bridges
I know the question of obedience is going to come in here, so I want to quote Jerry Bridges from his book:
Does the fact that God has forgiven us all our sins mean that He no longer cares whether we obey or disobey? Not at all. The Scripture speaks of our grieving the Holy Spirit through our sins (Ephesians 4:30). And Paul prayed that we “may please God in every way” (Col 1:10). We grieve God, and we please God. Clearly, He cares about our conduct and will discipline us when we refuse to repent of conscious sin. But God is no longer our Judge. Through Christ, he is now our heavenly Father who disciplines us only out of love and only for our good.
If God’s favor to us were based on our performance – we’re in trouble because even our best days are flawed with sin. We don’t always have pure motives and really in some way we are always looking out for ourselves.
~ Above excerpt from The Discipline of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges
My favorite quote of Jerry Bridges is:
Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.
He continues: Every day of our Christian experience should be a day of relating to God on the basis of His grace alone. We are not only saved by grace, but we also live by grace every day.Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.'