Brian's Reviews > Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
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Jun 16, 2012

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Read in January, 2009

"Respectable Sins" is a study on the subtle sins that God's people often overlook in their own lives. Bridges spends the first six chapters of the book unpacking the doctrine of sin in the Scriptures. He pretty well hits it on the head in Chapter Three in describing what sin is:

"Therefore, when we sin, when we violate the law of God in anyway, be it ever so small in our eyes, we rebel against the sovereign authority and transcendent majesty of God. To put it bluntly, our sin is an assault on the majesty and sovereign rule of God. It is indeed cosmic treason" (27).

In the very next chapter, Bridges articulates the remedy for sin:

"The remedy for our sin, whether scandalous or acceptable, is the gospel in its widest scope" (33).

In Chapters 5 and 6, Bridges summarizes the doctrine of sanctification by explaining the work of the Holy Spirit against the flesh. In this regards, he lays a principle which he calls the principle of dependent responsibility:

"We are responsible before God to obey His Word, to put to death the sins in our lives, both the so-called acceptable sins and the obviously not acceptable ones. At the same time, we do not have the ability within ourselves to carry out this responsibility. We are in fact totally dependent upon the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. In this sense, we are both responsible and dependent" (41)

Bridges in Chapter 6 again describes sin in light of the gospel:

"We should always address our sin in the context of the gospel" (47).

The remaining chapters of the book, Chapters 7-21, confront specific sins including ungodliness, anxiety, discontentment, unthankfulness, pride, selfishness, lack of self-control, impatience, anger, judgmentalism, envy, and worldliness. For each chapter, Bridges briefly surveys Scriptural teaching and examples on the specific sin he is dealing with. At the end of each chapter, he reminds his reader that that particular sin is an egregious offense against Christ and the gospel.

He closes in Chapter 21 reiterating that the gospel is the believer's greatest need in this earthly life:

"The way to grow in our new affection for Christ that Chalmers preached about is to grow in our awareness of Christ's love for us as revealed to us in the gospel. The apostle Paul wrote that it is Christ's love for us that constrains us to live for Him. Such love for Him that will drive out our love for the world can only be a response to the deep, heartfelt sense of His love for us" (178).

Be prepared to be convicted as you read "Respectable Sins." Bridges tends to be a bit formulaic at times in his approach to dealing with sin, but his overall emphasis on the gospel is appreciated. The end-result of reading this book should be a greater love and loyalty to the gospel. If that is the end-result, then a reading of "Respectable Sins" is worth it.
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