Part one. A continuation of my thoughts from reading Jerry Bridges book, The Discipline of Grace.
There are two significant needs among committed believers:
- The need for humble realization of our own sinfulness
- The need for a grateful acceptance of God’s grace.
We tend toward one of two opposite attitudes:
- The relentless sense of guilt due to unmet expectations in living the Christian life.
- A varying degree of self-satisfaction with one’s Christian life.
(This is why he titled chapter two: The Pharisee and the Publican)
A large part of our problem as evangelical believers is that we have defined sin in its more obvious forms – forms of which we are not guilty.
Our sin problem tends to lie in the arena of our “refined” sins:
- The tendency to judge others and speak critically of them to other people. (A judgmental spirit usually reflects itself in speech that is critical of others.)
- Gossip: the endless recounting and passing on of the sins and misfortunes of others.
- Sins of interpersonal relationships: resentment, bitterness, an unforgiving spirit, impatience and irritability.
- Self-centeredness, selfish ambition, an independent spirit
- Love of position, power and praise
- Manipulation of events or people for our own ends
- Indifference to the eternal or temporal welfare of those around us
We have become too comfortable with the whole concept of sin. We forget, if we ever knew, how serious God regards all sin.
The problem with self-righteousness is that it seems almost impossible to recognize it in ourselves.
Do you think Jerry Bridges is right on, or do you think he is laying a guilt trip? Think about this, what sins are you quick to spot in others but hesitant to deal with yourself?