Faith Hacking: Preaching the Gospel To Yourself

  Tim Challies: I love to find and share practical methods or techniques for living the Christian life—ways other Christians live out their Christian faith day-by-day. As I speak with people, as I read books, as I listen to sermons, I am always looking for these tips which I call “faith hacks.” I am going to share another one with you today. It comes from Jerry Bridges and deals with the important disciplines of preaching the gospel to yourself. Bridges has written in several of his books about the importance of the daily practice of preaching the gospel to yourself. In The Discipline of Grace he writes, “When you set yourself to seriously pursue holiness, you will begin to realize what an awful sinner you are. And if you are not firmly rooted in the gospel and have not learned to preach it to yourself every day, you will soon become discouraged and will slack off in your pursuit of holiness.”

read more Faith Hacking: Preaching the Gospel To Yourself

John Piper Interviews Jerry Bridges

Jonathan Parnell posts a conversation between two of my heroes: Few people work faithfully for the same organization for almost 60 years. Yet it was 1955 when Jerry Bridges, a Korean War veteran, joined the team at The Navigators where he continues to this day. An author of several books, Mr. Bridges is a leading voice in explaining the significance of the gospel in everyday life, including The Discipline of Grace,The Gospel for Real Life, and The Pursuit of Holiness, to name a few. John Piper recently sat down with Mr. Bridges in Minneapolis to talk about life and ministry. In this 25-minute video, they discuss key issues regarding God’s providence, spiritual disciplines, and the Christian life.  

Are You a Saint?

Jerry Bridges: “Saint is one of the most widely misunderstood words in our Christian vocabulary. At some point in church history, people began to call the original apostles saints, contrary to the plain meaning of the word as used in the New Testament. So now we hear of Saint Paul, Saint Peter, Saint Andrew, and the like. In the Roman Catholic tradition, people of unusual achievement are sometimes designated as saints. Among evangelicals we often think of saints as exceptionally godly and holy people. The truth is, though, every believer is a saint. That’s why Paul’s greetings in his epistles often include something such as, “To the saints who are in Ephesus” (Ephesians 1:1, see also Philippians 1:1,Colossians 1:2). Even when addressing Corinth, a church that was all messed up both theologically and morally, Paul wrote, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. . . . (1 Corinthians 1:2). In

read more Are You a Saint?

Nothing in my hands I bring

Preaching the gospel to ourselves every day addresses both the self-righteous Pharisee and the guilt-laden sinner that dwell in our hearts. Since the gospel is only for sinners, preaching it to ourselves every day reminds us that we are indeed sinners in need of God’s grace. It causes us to say to God, in the words of an old hymn, ‘Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.’ — Jerry Bridges The Disciple of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness (Colorado Springs, Co.: NavPress, 1994), 26 (HT: Of First Importance)

Transforming Grace

Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace: My observation of Christendom is that most of us tend to base our relationship with God on our performance instead of on His grace.  If we’ve performed well—whatever ‘well’ is in our opinion—then we expect God to bless us. If we haven’t done so well, our expectations are reduced accordingly.  In this sense, we live by works, rather than by grace.  We are saved by grace, but we are living by the ‘sweat’ of our own performance.  Moreover, we are always challenging ourselves and one another to ‘try harder’.  We seem to believe success in the Christian life is basically up to us; our commitment, our discipline, and our zeal, with some help from God along the way. The realization that my daily relationship with God is based on the infinite merit of Christ instead of on my own performance is very freeing and joyous experience.  But it is not meant to be a one-time experience; the

read more Transforming Grace


My thanks to Andy Naselli for posting this excellent excerpt: Judgmentalism That’s the title of chapter 17 in Jerry Bridges. Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2007. 185 pp. Introduction The sin of judgmentalism is one of the most subtle of our “respectable” sins because it is often practiced under the guise of being zealous for what is right. It’s obvious that within our conservative evangelical circles there are myriads of opinions on everything from theology to conduct to lifestyle and politics. Not only are there multiple opinions but we usually assume our opinion is correct. That’s where our trouble with judgmentalism begins. We equate our opinions with truth. (p. 141) Example 1: Dress I grew up in the mid-twentieth century, when people dressed up to go to church. Men wore jackets and ties (usually suits and ties) and women wore dresses. Sometime in the 1970s, men began to show up at church wearing casual pants and

read more Judgmentalism

The Discomfort of the Justified Life

Jerry Bridges: “God wants us to find our primary joy in our objectively declared justification, not in our subjectively perceived sanctification. Regardless of how much progress we make in our pursuit of holiness, it will never come close to the absolute perfect righteousness of Christ that is ours through our union with him in his life and death. So we should learn to live with the discomfort of the justified life. We should accept the fact that as still-growing Christians we will always be dissatisfied with our sanctification. But at the same time, we should remember that in Christ we are justified. We are righteous in him.” –Jerry Bridges, ‘The Discomfort of the Justified Life,’ in Justified: Modern Reformation Essays on the Doctrine of Justification (ed. Ryan Glomsrud and Michael Horton; Modern Reformation, 2010), 94 (HT: Dane Ortlund)

12 Steps to Identifying Your Functional Saviours

Whatever we direct our affections, energies, and hopes towards is our object of worship. Our heart needs Jesus; our flesh craves idols. This is why growing in love for Christ requires daily execution of idols. But how do we know what our idols are? In The Bookends of the Christian Life Jerry Bridges offers twelve “questions” to help us identify our functional saviours: 1. I am preoccupied with ________. 2. If only ________, then I would be happy. 3. I get my sense of significance from ________. 4. I would protect and preserve ________ at any cost. 5. I fear losing ________. 6. The thing that gives me greatest pleasure is ________. 7. When I lose ________, I get angry, resentful, frustrated, anxious, or depressed. 8. For me, life depends on ________. 9. The thing I value more than anything in the world is ________. 10. When I daydream, my mind goes to________. 11. The best thing I can think of

read more 12 Steps to Identifying Your Functional Saviours

The Motivating Power of the Gospel

For many of us, our initial encounter with the gospel when we first trusted Christ occurred many years ago and is now a distant memory. . . . The Christian life may now be more of a duty than a joyous response to the gospel. Consequently we may not experience the motivating power of the gospel. That’s why we need to intentionally bathe our minds and hearts in the gospel every day. Remember, we need the gospel not only as a door into an initial saving relationship with Christ, but also . . . to keep our daily lives from becoming a performance treadmill. As we rely on Christ’s righteousness in this manner, far from leading to a license to sin, it actually motivates us to deal with the sin we see in our lives. –Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington, The Bookends of the Christian Life (Crossway 2009), 39-40 (HT: Dane Ortlund)

Jerry Bridges on Power in Prayer

“[W]e must keep in mind that the Spirit of God is sovereign over when and how he works through the instruments of prayer. He certainly hears our requests and responds to them. But it’s not for us to question the purposes and actions of his sovereign will. Instead we’re to submit to and accept whatever he has for us. And as we respond to his answers to our prayers, we must continue to acknowledge our dependence on him through more prayer. As we cycle through our prayers and his answer in this way, our dependency grows. No wonder those who regularly practice this spiritual discipline often speak of there being power in prayer. The more prayer, the more dependency; the more dependency, the more power. The source of power is not the prayer; it is the Holy Spirit, who uses prayer as a means of grace through which he provides the power.” – Jerry Bridges & Bob Bevington,The Bookends of

read more Jerry Bridges on Power in Prayer

Experiencing The Daily Reality Of Justification

If there was one book I would put in every Christian’s hand it would be this one. This book has the potential to equip us to slay the giants of self-righteousness and guilt in our lives, through the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit. I thoroughly recommend it. My thanks to Jimmy Davis for this quote: “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20 ESV For Paul, justification was not only a past event; it was also a daily, present reality. So every day of his life, by faith in Christ, Paul realized he stood righteous in the sight of God–he was counted righteous and accepted by God as righteous–because of the perfectly obedient life and death Christ provided

read more Experiencing The Daily Reality Of Justification

All of Grace

Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace (p. 19): 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. And from pp. 22-23: Pharisee-type believers unconsciously think they have earned God’s blessing through their behavior. Guilt-laden believers are quite sure they have forfeited God’s blessing through their lack of discipline or their disobedience. Both have forgotten the meaning of grace because they have moved away from the gospel and have slipped into a performance relationship with God. (HT: Justin Taylor)

We can not be more righteous

“As we come to Christ…empty-handed, claiming no merit of our own, but clinging by faith to His blood and righteousness, we are justified. We pass immediately from a state of condemnation and spiritual death to a state of pardon, acceptance, and the sure hope of eternal life. Our sins are blotted out, and we are “clothed” with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In our standing before God, we will never be more righteous, even in heaven, than we were the day we trusted Christ, or we are now. Obviously in our daily experience we fall far short of the perfect righteousness God requires. But because He has imputed to us the perfect righteousness of His Son, He now sees us as being just as righteous as Christ Himself.” Jerry Bridges, The Gospel for Real Life, p. 107. (HT: John Fonville)

Justified – “Just As If I’d Always Obeyed”

I love this: “For He has made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor 5:21 Picture a moral ledger sheet with every word, thought, deed and motive of yours entered on that sheet. Most hope the good will outweigh the bad. The problem is that all of our deeds are stained, all are unclean and impure. There is no such thing as a positive ledger sheet – except in the case of Christ. His ledger sheet was perfect. So at the cross, our ledger sheet was charged to Christ, all our sin; and so His ledger sheet is credited to us. “Justified” is not “Just as if I’d never sinned.” That is a great truth. But it is actually better than that: “Just as if I’d always obeyed.” God has credited the very righteousness of Jesus Christ to every believer. – Jerry Bridges (from

read more Justified – “Just As If I’d Always Obeyed”

Regeneration is Resurrection Power

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 “When Lazarus lay dead in the tomb he could not decide to come to life again. In fact, Lazarus could not even respond to Jesus’ call, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ unless with that call Jesus gave him life. Lazarus’s condition , as he lay dead in the tomb, is a picture of our spiritual predicament. We can hear the call of the gospel a hundred times, but unless that call is accompanied by the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, we can no more respond to it than Lazarus could respond to a vocal call from Jesus.” -Jerry Bridges from The Gospel For Real Life (HT: Reformed Voices)