Do you tend to tolerate the sins that have become widely acceptable or are easily overlooked by others in Christian community? Do you stop repenting when it comes to the sins that are less noticeable? We may have become so preoccupied with the glaring sins of our society that we have lost sight of our need to deal with the more subtle ones. As we continue to tolerate these subtler sins, we find ourselves living no differently to the rest of the world and remain unchanged in our patterns of ungodliness.
1. What is the book about?
In this book, Jerry Bridges addresses the sins that we Christians have come to view as acceptable, sins that we would ordinarily tolerate in ourselves. He covers a dozen clusters of specific “respectable” sins such as jealousy, anger, pride, unthankfulness and judgmentalism. The spiritual dangers of these “respectable” transgressions are laid bare as readers are challenged to thoughtfully examine their lives. Deeply personal and challenging, this book addresses feelings of guilt and shame which may arise when dealing with sin, as it draws readers back to the heart of each matter. Bridges presents readers with the only powerful remedy for true transformation – the merciful message of hope in the Gospel.
2. What did I learn?
A friend gifted this book to me when I had to pause and think if there were particular sins I was really struggling with at the time. She had a good sense of humour! I had been believing Satan’s lies that there were particular sins that weren’t as harmful, or perhaps didn’t bear that much of an impact.
This book made me more aware of my sin and the subtle ways in which I had allowed it to creep into my everyday life. It made me grieve, and rightly so, over more of my sin. How could I have continued in discontentment, in pride, in bitterness or in jealousy, if Jesus Christ was my Lord and He died so that I might be free from such things? All sin is heinous in God’s sight and would be deeply infectious if I didn’t deal with it. On the other hand, reading this made me more appreciative of God’s mercy and grace. In Christ, I was no longer condemned – I was free! I had more assurance that I really wasn’t stuck in these sinful patterns of ungodliness and there was true power for change.
3. What did I enjoy?
This was a great book to go through in one-to-one discipleship! With the sister in Christ I was meeting up with, we were able to challenge one another and keep each other accountable as we looked at each “respectable” sin, chapter by chapter. By the grace of God, we were taken along a year-long journey of having our sin exposed and experienced some of the freedoms that came with repentance.
4. Why should other people read it?
This is the kind of book worth digesting slowly and revisiting every so often. Even though we have been saved, our struggle with sin will continue until the day Christ returns, and so we need to be convicted of it everyday. We need gospel transformation every step of the way to help us to deal with the ongoing activity of sin.
Coming to terms with sin is confronting, which makes this book a difficult read. However, accepting the sin in our life and repenting of it is possible by the work of the Holy Spirit. As He helps us to face our sin and put it to death, we discover that there is great reward on the other side. Read, repent, discuss and repent again. Embrace the mercy that God offers as He longs for us to be free from sin and look more like Jesus everyday.