I admit it: I am a big fan of Jerry Bridges. I have read several of his books, with several more still to read on the shelf. His newest book, The Transforming Power of the Gospel, takes many of his ideas from his earlier books and shows us how the gospel not only provides us with the only way of being saved, but also the only way of being sanctified, which is the Bible word for changing us to be like Christ.
The early chapters deal with the gospel message itself, beginning with the holiness of God, which serves to highlight how sinful we really we are (the topic of the following chapter). The answer to our sinfulness, of course, is the work of Christ on the cross. This is where Bridges does a masterful job of explaining what happens to us when we are justified by God. The chapter is called “The Great Exchange” (a title of one of his other excellent books). What exchange, you ask? It is my sin being exchanged for His righteousness. And in a beautiful explanation of the grace involved in that exchange, he shows that not only are we counted by God as having never sinned, but we are also counted as though we have always obeyed! What an exchange! No wonder it is called “Great”!
Bridges then begins to show how this glorious truth should be used by every believer as the change agent in their life. He has frequently spoken of dependent responsibility in the Christian’s life to describe how God transforms us into the likeness of Christ. We depend on the Holy Spirit to do the work of changing us without removing from us the responsibility to be obedient to what the Bible says we need to do.
So Bridges provides some excellent guidance on what is our exact responsibility, noting not only that it is what we ought to do, but it is what the Christian should desire to do. He uses the term “instruments of grace” (sometimes called spiritual disciplines). These include spending time alone with God that would involve three activities: embracing the gospel, Bible reading and prayer. Other grace instruments are also discussed such as memorizing scripture, meditating on the Word and hearing the Word being taught, and a full chapter is written that speaks of how adversity is used by God to bring about spiritual transformation.
If you want to see your life change into the image of Christ, this book will help you. I like the fact that there are discussion questions at the end of each chapter. These would have value for couples to use as they read the book together. Or, you could use them in discipling another person, perhaps an older child or friend. However you might use this book, this is for sure: Use it. You’ll be glad you did.