A Roadmap to Holiness: Summarizing Jerry Bridges’ The Pursuit of Holiness

In “The Pursuit of Holiness,” Jerry Bridges invites readers on a transformative journey towards a life set apart for God. With keen insights and practical guidance, Bridges empowers individuals to understand the true meaning of holiness and its practical implications in everyday life. As an influential writer and renowned speaker, Jerry Bridges has dedicated his life to teaching the timeless truths of God’s Word. With over 30 books in his repertoire, including “Trusting God Even When Life Hurts” and “The Discipline of Grace,” Bridges consistently challenges believers to pursue a deeper relationship with Christ and to walk in obedience to His commands. Through his writings, Bridges encourages readers to grasp the crucial importance of holiness in their spiritual journey, inspiring them to live lives that are pleasing to God.

Chapter 1: The Call to Pursue Holiness

Chapter 1 of “The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges is titled “The Call to Pursue Holiness.” In this chapter, Bridges sets the foundation for the book by emphasizing the importance of holiness in the life of a Christian.

Bridges begins by explaining that God’s command for us to be holy, as stated in 1 Peter 1:15-16, is not an option but a requirement. We are called to be like God, who is inherently holy. Holiness should be the defining characteristic of our lives as followers of Christ.

The author acknowledges that while we are positionally holy through our faith in Jesus, we are still on a journey to becoming practically holy. Bridges states that many Christians settle for mediocrity, assuming that they have no control over their behavior and are destined to sin. However, he argues that this is not what the Bible teaches.

Bridges highlights the role of the Holy Spirit in our pursuit of holiness. He emphasizes that we are not to rely on our own strength but on the power and guidance of the Spirit who dwells within us. The transformation process of becoming holy involves working in partnership with the Holy Spirit, who helps us to align our desires and actions with God’s standards.

The chapter concludes with a reminder that holiness is not an individualistic pursuit; it affects our relationship with God and our witness to the world. Bridges encourages readers to take responsibility for their own holiness, understanding that they have an active role to play in cooperating with God’s work in their lives.

In summary, Chapter 1 lays the groundwork for the rest of the book by emphasizing the importance of holiness in the life of a Christian. It reminds readers that holiness is a command from God and not an option, and that we have a responsibility to actively pursue holiness with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Chapter 2: The Definition of Holiness

In Chapter 2 of “The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges, titled “The Definition of Holiness,” the author delves into the true meaning of holiness and addresses misconceptions surrounding this concept.

Bridges begins by emphasizing that holiness is not an optional aspect of the Christian life; rather, it is an essential command given by God Himself: “Be holy, for I am holy.” Therefore, to pursue holiness is not just an admirable goal but a biblical mandate.

The author further explains that holiness is not mere external conformity to a set of religious rituals or rules, but an inward transformation of character that reflects the very nature of God. Holiness is being set apart, consecrated, and devoted to God. It involves the process of sanctification, whereby believers are progressively conformed to the image of Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit within them.

Bridges highlights the importance of understanding that holiness is not attainable by human effort alone but is made possible by the grace of God. True holiness is a cooperative venture between the believer and the Holy Spirit, and it requires intentional discipline, faith, and dependence on God.

The chapter concludes by emphasizing that holiness is not an isolated pursuit but is interconnected with other aspects of the Christian life, such as love, obedience, and humility. Holiness is being responsive to God’s Word and aligning our will with His, resulting in a transformed life that exudes love for God and others.

Overall, Chapter 2 provides a foundational definition of holiness, emphasizing its importance, the need for divine assistance, and its connection with other aspects of the Christian faith.

Chapter 3: The Source of Holiness

Chapter 3: The Source of Holiness, from the book The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, explores the foundation from which holiness originates. Bridges emphasizes the crucial role of God’s grace and the believer’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ in the pursuit of holiness.

Bridges highlights that holiness is not merely a matter of self-discipline or willpower, but flows from a heart transformed by the grace of God. This transformation occurs when an individual acknowledges their utter dependence on Christ’s work on the cross and surrenders to Him as their Lord and Savior. Only through this initial act of embracing Jesus can true holiness be pursued.

The author explains that holiness stems from two essential truths: the believer’s position in Christ and their progressive sanctification. The former refers to the believer being united with Christ, viewed by God as holy due to Christ’s righteousness being imputed to them. This positional holiness provides the foundation for the pursuit of holiness.

Bridges then delves into the concept of progressive sanctification, which is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. It involves the gradual transformation of their character, thoughts, and behavior to be more Christ-like. The author stresses that while Christians are responsible for pursuing holiness, it is ultimately the Holy Spirit who empowers and enables this process.

In summary, Chapter 3 underscores the significance of the believer’s relationship with Christ as the source of holiness. By embracing and depending on Christ’s grace, the believer receives a new position in Him and embarks on the journey of progressive sanctification. Through this understanding, Bridges sets the stage for practical guidance and strategies to pursue holiness in the subsequent chapters of the book.

Chapter 4: The Expression of Holiness

The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges

Chapter 4: The Expression of Holiness, from the book The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, explores the practical aspects of living a holy life. Bridges confronts the common misconception that holiness is merely an abstract concept or an unattainable state. He asserts that holiness is something that can and should be expressed in everyday life.

The chapter begins by emphasizing the role of the mind in holiness. Bridges argues that holiness starts with a transformation of our thoughts. He encourages readers to renew their minds through studying and meditating on God’s Word, allowing it to shape their thinking and values. By aligning their thoughts with God’s truth, believers can begin to express holiness in their actions.

Bridges also discusses the importance of discipline in the pursuit of holiness. He addresses the need for self-control and the ability to say no to sinful desires. By recognizing the power of the Holy Spirit within them, believers can resist temptation and live in obedience to God’s commands.

Furthermore, the author emphasizes the crucial role of accountability, both to God and to fellow believers. He encourages readers to seek guidance and support from others, as well as to hold themselves accountable for their actions. Bridges believes that a community of believers can help each other grow in holiness by providing encouragement, correction, and accountability.

In summary, Chapter 4 of The Pursuit of Holiness emphasizes that holiness is not an abstract or unattainable concept, but rather something that believers can actively express in their daily lives. By renewing their minds, exercising self-discipline, and seeking accountability, believers can pursue and achieve a life of holiness.

Chapter 5: The Antithesis of Holiness

Chapter 5 of Jerry Bridges’ book, “The Pursuit of Holiness,” titled “The Antithesis of Holiness,” delves into the fundamental barrier that hinders Christians from living holy lives: our sinful nature.

Bridges emphasizes that holiness is not just about abstaining from obvious sins but also about pursuing conformity to the character of Christ. He asserts that while we have been made righteous through the work of Christ, our sinful nature remains and can hinder us in our pursuit of holiness.

The author highlights three significant aspects of our sinful nature. Firstly, he discusses the inclination toward sin that resides within us. This inherent tendency often leads us to yield to temptations and to rationalize our sinful actions.

Secondly, Bridges addresses the fact that our sinful nature weakens our resolve in living a holy life. He urges readers to recognize that we cannot expect to overcome sin in our own strength, but rather, we must rely on God’s power and grace.

Lastly, the author points out that our sinful nature often blinds us to our sinfulness. This spiritual blindness prevents us from perceiving our actions, attitudes, and thoughts in light of God’s holiness.

Ultimately, Bridges emphasizes the need for sincere repentance and a reliance on God’s transforming power through the Holy Spirit. He encourages believers to acknowledge their sinful nature, rely on God’s strength, and seek His help in overcoming sin and cultivating holiness.

In conclusion, Chapter 5 of “The Pursuit of Holiness” presents the sinful nature as the antithesis of holiness. By understanding and honestly facing our own sinful inclinations, we can effectively pursue a life of holiness through dependence on God’s grace and transformative power.

Chapter 6: The Battle for Holiness

Chapter 6: The Battle for Holiness of the book “The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges delves into the ongoing struggle believers face in their pursuit of holiness. Bridges emphasizes that sanctification is not a passive process but requires active engagement and effort on the part of the individual.

The chapter begins by highlighting the prevalent misconception that holiness is a passive state or an instantaneous achievement. Bridges counters this idea by explaining that holiness is a lifelong journey that involves continuous battle against sin. He highlights the apostle Paul’s struggle against sin, illustrating that even the most devout believers face ongoing challenges in this area.

Bridges asserts that the battleground in the pursuit of holiness is primarily the mind. The battle begins with the recognition that sin starts with our thoughts and desires. He emphasizes the importance of guarding and controlling our minds, as they are the breeding ground for sinful behavior.

The author goes on to explore various strategies to fight this battle. He stresses the significance of knowing and meditating on God’s Word, as it serves as a powerful weapon against sinful thoughts and desires. Bridges also highlights the importance of prayer, calling it the means through which we seek God’s help and strength to overcome temptations.

Additionally, Bridges discusses the role of faith in the pursuit of holiness. He explains that we need to trust in God’s promises and rely on His power rather than trying to battle sin in our own strength. Through faith, we can experience victory over sin and embrace a life of increasing holiness.

In summary, Chapter 6 of “The Pursuit of Holiness” emphasizes that holiness is an ongoing battle and not a passive achievement. Bridges highlights the mind as the battleground, stressing the need to guard our thoughts and desires. He explores strategies such as meditating on God’s Word, prayer, and faith, as means to combat and overcome sin. By understanding the nature of the battle and actively engaging in the pursuit of holiness, believers can experience growth in their sanctification journey.

Chapter 7: The Practice of Holiness

Chapter 7 of “The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges focuses on the practical aspects of living a holy life. Bridges highlights the importance of actively pursuing holiness on a daily basis rather than relying solely on God’s grace.

The chapter begins by emphasizing the role of obedience in the pursuit of holiness. Bridges explains that holiness does not occur by chance but requires intentional obedience to God’s commands. He recognizes that obedience may be challenging, but encourages readers to rely on God’s strength and grace to grow in obedience.

Bridges then introduces the concept of the spiritual disciplines, which are essential for the practice of holiness. These disciplines include studying God’s Word, prayer, worship, fellowship, and service. He emphasizes that engaging in these disciplines consistently and with purpose allows Christians to maintain a close relationship with God and grow in holiness.

The author also discusses the importance of guarding our minds and thoughts. He highlights the influence of the media on our thoughts and advises readers to examine what they allow into their minds and hearts. Bridges encourages intentional thinking on God’s Word and dwelling on things that honor Him.

Furthermore, Bridges addresses the significance of God’s role in our pursuit of holiness. He emphasizes the need to depend on God’s help and guidance through the Holy Spirit. Bridges reminds readers that it is God’s power working in us that enables us to live a holy life and overcome sin.

In summary, Chapter 7 of “The Pursuit of Holiness” outlines the practical aspects of pursuing holiness. It highlights the importance of intentional obedience, engaging in spiritual disciplines, guarding our minds, and relying on God’s power. These practices are essential for believers seeking to grow in holiness and reflect the character of Christ in their daily lives.

The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges

Chapter 8: The Fruitfulness of Holiness

Chapter 8 of “The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges focuses on the fruitfulness of holiness in a believer’s life. Bridges begins by highlighting how pursuing holiness is not just a personal benefit, but it also impacts and benefits others around us.

Bridges asserts that holiness is not just about avoiding sin, but also about actively pursuing godliness. This pursuit of holiness leads to a transformation in character, attitudes, and actions. The more we become holy, the more we become like Christ, and the more we reflect His love, grace, and truth to those around us.

The author emphasizes that holiness does not make us perfect or immune to sin, but it equips us to respond to sin in a different way. Instead of being mastered by sin, we become increasingly sensitive to sin and are prompted to confess, repent, and seek forgiveness from God and others. In doing so, we model humility and the power of God’s grace and forgiveness to those who observe our lives.

Furthermore, Bridges highlights the importance of living a holy life in our relationships and interactions with others. Holiness promotes peace, unity, and reconciliation within marriages, families, communities, and the church. By pursuing holiness and cultivating godly characteristics such as love, patience, and forgiveness, we have a positive influence on those around us.

In summary, chapter 8 of “The Pursuit of Holiness” emphasizes that holiness is not just for our personal benefit, but it also impacts and blesses others. As we grow in holiness, we become more like Christ, respond to sin appropriately, and positively influence our relationships and communities. Holiness is both transformational and fruit-bearing for our own lives and the lives of others.

After Reading

In “The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges, the author provides a thought-provoking and convicting exploration of the importance of pursuing holiness in the life of a believer. Bridges emphasizes the need for Christians to recognize and collaborate with God’s transforming work within them, as they actively seek to live a life that is set apart for Him. Throughout the book, he addresses various obstacles that hinder this pursuit, including the battle against sin, the importance of renewing our minds, and the role of faith and obedience in our pursuit of holiness. By drawing from Scripture and personal anecdotes, Bridges challenges readers to take responsibility for their own growth in holiness and to develop discipline and devotion to God. Ultimately, “The Pursuit of Holiness” serves as a valuable guide for believers who desire to deepen their relationship with God and to reflect His character more fully in their lives.

1. “The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges – This book by the same author as “The Pursuit of Holiness” presents a complementary perspective on the topic of holiness. It explores the balance between God’s grace and our personal responsibility in the process of becoming holy.

2. “Holiness” by J.C. Ryle – This classic work is a powerful exploration of the nature of true holiness. Ryle provides practical insights and encouragement for believers to grow in holiness, addressing various facets of Christian life such as prayer, Bible study, and personal accountability.

3. “The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer – A spiritual classic, Tozer’s book focuses on our pursuit of an intimate relationship with God. It explores how to cultivate a deeper hunger for God, to find Him in everyday life, and to pursue a life of holiness that stems from a captivating encounter with Him.

4. “The Holiness of God” by R.C. Sproul – Sproul delves into the meaning and significance of the holiness of God. He explores how understanding God’s holiness can transform our perception of Him, leading us to recognize our own sinfulness and strive for holiness in response.

5. “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer – Packer’s book provides a comprehensive exploration of various aspects of God’s nature and character. While not solely focused on holiness, it offers valuable insights into how knowing and experiencing God impacts our pursuit of holiness as we grasp His love, sovereignty, and righteousness.

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