This book gives a helpful summary of the critical role of the Gospel in our sanctification, namely in the role of justification by faith and the work of the Holy Spirit. The authors use an extended metaphor to serve up a little book with a big message about two essentials of the Christian life. What do bookends have to do with the Christian life? They are a metaphor that Jerry Bridges has developed over the years, and which he and co-author Bob Bevington flesh out in this small volume. The two "bookends" explain not only how we as sinners can be made acceptable to a holy God but also we can find the power to change. They are thus essential for the Christian life.
This excellent book combines three classic works of John Owen, the 17th century Puritan pastor/theologian - 1) On the Mortification of Sin in Believers; 2) Of Temptation: The Nature and Power of It; 3) Indwelling Sin. Owen's insight into the soul of man is rare today, especially for a society that is into quick fixes and easy, simple-to-use soul remedies. Owen is not into overnight transformations, but the joyful and laborious journey of progressive sanctification. This book has humbled and convicted me on every page. Each chapter needs to be savored and digested slowly as Owen points out the details and intricacies of the regenerate, yet still sinful heart. Owen seeks to plumb the depths of sin in order that holiness may be formed in the believer through the finished work of Christ on the Cross. His classic line is both a warning and a call to arms... "Be killing sin or sin will be killing you!" If you have the patience to wade and wrestle through nearly 400 pages of a classic Puritan work on knowing one's heart and the wiles of sin, no doubt, Owen will be one of your favorite authors of all time.
Our generation owes a huge debt to men like A.W. Tozer. Although Tozer lived in the earlier part of the 20th century, his insights into Christianity were not only discerning for his day, but well beyond his time. He addresses the essential need for Christians to hunger and thirst for God as described by the psalmist in Psalm 42. Using carefully crafted words and an easy-to-read pastoral style, this book is a wonderful challenge to the heart to rid itself of any idols that stand in the way of God. This quote sums up much of the book... "Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking." His practical applications for the Christian life are soundly based on a biblical understanding of the sovereignty of God. The book is short - a little over 100 pages - yet each chapter presents a potent exhortation to lay aside all and pursue God.