Book Review- The Bookends of the Christian Life

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There is a lot of talk about being ‘gospel-centered’ and ‘preaching the gospel to yourself everyday’ but what does this look like practically?  Is there a practical framework within which to think and live in this posture?

Enter Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington. Bridges and Bevington provide an extended metaphor to explain two provisions on which believers must rely-the righteousness of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.  The Bookends of the Christian Life aims to help readers understand and apply the doctrines of justification and sanctification.  As is usually the case with Bridges, the book is written simply, clearly and biblically.

The authors are not just giving doctrinal overviews here either.  They are mixing it up in our kitchens.  In the section on the righteousness of Christ, the authors unveil the twin joy killing enemies of self righteousness: self-imposed moralism and self-imposed guilt.  They show how these errors undermine the work of Christ by seeing his righteousness as inadequate.  There are also several application questions that are routinely asked throughout the chapters to help readers see how their individual lives intersect with the issues at hand.  This is truly helpful.

Some of the intensely practical questions that are answered in the book are:

* How can I overcome persistent guilt? * How can I deal with the pressure to measure up? * Where can I find the motivation it takes to grow? * How can I live the Christian life with both my head and my heart? * How can I be sure God loves me? * How can I change in an authentic and lasting way?

As you read this book you are struck with the gospel-wrought humility that has been forged in their hearts.  These men are aware of their sin and overjoyed with the reality of the work of Christ.  So this book is as refreshing as it is helpful!

As a pastor I am regularly looking for books to recommend that are gospel centered, clear, and personal.  The authors do not compromise doctrine for application or vice versa.  In this sense the book is a gem.  It is written in a simple, understanding way but at the same time they are dropping 100 lb. truth on your lap.  The book itself is fairly short (160 pages), small (7.2 x 5.2 x 0.6″ ) and weighs in at only 7 oz.  So it is not a long or difficult read. But it is a book that talks to you, in a good way, after you put it down.

They have also published a free study guide on the website (www.TheBookendsBook.com).

I am excited about how this book has used the gospel to personally refreshed me on the twin bookends of the righteousness of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.  I am eager to share with others as well.

Discounted copies are available at the following locations:

Westminster Bookstore

Amazon.com

Monergism

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