For Christians, living a life of holiness is not optional. Jerry Bridges is careful to identify what that does and does not mean, but the fact remains that God commands his children to be holy, and expects us to devote ourselves to that goal. Why does he insist that we pursue holiness? Because he is holy.
A modern classic, The Pursuit of Holiness begins where any book on the subject should: with an unflinching look both at our attachment to sin, and at God's own holiness. Without a firm grounding in these concepts we're helpless, condemned to constant failure and ultimate despair.
It is God's holiness that makes our own possible. He doesn't command our obedience with no hope that it will be forthcoming; instead, he commands and strengthens so we can be as he wants us to be. And yet, we still have a duty to work toward the holiness he promises, and to shun the sin he so adamantly and completely hates.
Discerning between what we should rely on God for, and what we are responsible to do ourselves in the pursuit of holiness, takes up much of this book. Readers are given a wealth of theological insight and practical advice, all designed to help us put sin to death in our inner man.
Will we still fail, still sin? Of course, says Bridges, noting that in this life we must be on constant watch against sin, and that we are called to obedience rather than to victory (which only comes in the life to come). But as we strive more and more, we become people who would rather serve God than ourselves, who would rather do good than evil.
The end of all this is joy. After chapters addressing the need to cultivate holy habits, the nature of holiness in an unholy world, holiness in body, spirit, and will, and many other topics, Bridges ends by reminding us the incredible prize that awaits those who persevere to the end: our Heavenly Father accepting us as good and faithful servants into his neverending rest.
A Further Word