Jerry Bridges has repeatedly said throughout the ages that as Christians we need to be continually preaching the gospel to ourselves, every day. The Gospel for Real Life pivots on this fundamental need. It is intended to answer three questions:
-1- What is the gospel we should preach to ourselves?
-2- Why do we, who are already believers, need to preach it to ourselves?
-3- How do we do it?
Bridges does a terrific job addressing each of these questions throughout the book. In the sixteen chapters Bridges moves at a nice clip through the intricacies of the gospel. A book like this is so helpful in its consistent reiteration of critical elements of the gospel, such as substitution, mercy, grace, faith, repentance, and so on.
Some may say that they already know all of this stuff and another book on the gospel is probably not going to do much for them. To this person I would say, this is exactly the book you need to read next. I think it was Tim Keller who said before that if you think you fully understand the gospel then you don’t, and if you think you don’t fully understand then you probably are beginning to get it. The fact is our hearts are so inclined towards our own self-righteousness and the preservation of our autonomy that we forget the realities of the gospel. Therefore we must regularly revisit, and truly, as Bridges contends, preach the gospel to ourselves on a daily basis.
I appreciate Bridges emphasis upon Christ’ righteous life (chapter 3 & 4) as the basis for our righteousness. In addition, his clarity with respect to the substitution of Christ in the atonement is refreshing (ch. 5, 6, 9, 10).
As a pastor I am always searching for good books to recommend for both small group and personal settings. The Gospel for Real Life is such a book. If you are familiar with C.J. Maheney’s book Living the Cross Centered Life, this is similar, only it is more detailed and intricate theologically. But this theological depth does not diminish its readability and practicality, and this is really what makes this book such a gem.
This is a great time here in the early days of the new year to resolve to be more gospel centered every day, by preaching the sermon of Christ’s sacrifice to your own heart each day. This book is a great tool to equip, refresh and sustain you to this end.