Thank You, Dr. Jerry Bridges
Dr. Jerry Bridges went home to be with his Savior last night after suffering cardiac arrest. He was 86 years old. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.
Dr. Bridges was born in Texas. He served as a Navy officer during the Korean War, and was the author of several influential books, including Trusting God, The Joy of Fearing God, The Disciplines of Grace and The Pursuit of Holiness.
Many people and organizations will publish excellent pieces about his life and legacy, but we want to simply add to the many voices saying "thank you" to a good and decent man, an insightful writer, and a faithful servant. Dr. Bridges rarely spoke about current events, politics or culture. Every Christian thinker and writer plays a certain role in evangelicalism, and Dr. Bridges' role seemed to be to remind us that nothing is so important as being faithful and seeking the face of God.
Dr. Bridges often wrote about the process of sanctification and becoming more like Christ; he literally wrote the book on pursuing holiness, godliness and the fear of the Lord. But he never advocated for santification and holiness out of pious superiority or in a way that could be accused as condemnatory. Yes, he wrote about the fear of the Lord -- but he reminded us that doing so should be a joyful experience. He wrote about Scriptural commands to kill sin and pursue holiness. But he also wrote perhaps his seminal line: "Our worst days are never so bad that we are beyond the reach of God's grace. Our best days are so never so good that we are beyond the need of God's grace."
To us, that was an important part of legacy. We pursue holiness and godliness not out of obligation, but out of gratefulness. Grace is the impetus and the power. Josh Phillips likes to tell a story about a time when he was at the Sovereign Grace Pastor's College where Dr. Bridges was lecturing for a week. He would come, deliver his lectures for hours and hours based on a lifetime of studying God's word. At various time, there would be breaks, and students would often take that time to ask Dr. Bridges questions. Whenever they didn't, whenever he had downtime, what did he do? He would take out flashcards that had Bible verses written on them, and he would repeat them over and over again, trying to memorize them. This Biblical scholar, this man who had devoted his life to studying Scripture and telling others what he had learned, this man who has probably forgotten more about the Bible than any of us will ever learn, would spend his limited free time to memorize another verse, to learn something new about the Book he loved. Dr. Bridges didn't just write about the disciplines of grace; he exemplified it.
Rest in peace, sir, and enjoy the presence of the One you so faithfully served.
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