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 coauthor 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.
In a unique book that should garner the attention of a wide range of readers, the authors use their extended metaphor to help readers answer questions like:
So what are the bookends of the Christian life? Christ's righteousness as it is transferred to dependent believers, and the Holy Spirit's power as it enables their transformation. In continuing their goal to re-center the church at large onto the historic gospel of Jesus Christ, Bridges and Bevington have served up this little book with a big message so that believers and seekers alike can understand these two keys to a genuine Christian life.
“But it wasn’t enough for us to have a clean, but empty, ledger sheet. God also credits us with the perfect righteousness of Christ ‘so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ This happens the same way Jesus was made to be sin—by transfer. Just as God charged our sin to Christ, so he credits the perfect obedience of Jesus to all who trust in him. In what is often called the Great Exchange, God exchanges our sin for Christ’s righteousness.” (source)
“But it’s not enough to merely see the righteousness of Christ as all-sufficient; we must see it as all-sufficient for us. Jesus was perfectly obedient in our place, as our substitute.” (source)
“We’ve been force-fed the doctrine of self-reliance for so long that it’s embedded into the very fabric of our souls. So we should not be surprised to discover we’re self-reliant toward God, as well.” (source)
“Let this truth sink deeply into your heart and mind: apart from the saving work of Christ, every one of us still deserves God’s curse every day of our lives.” (source)
“Owen knew we can never exhaust the supply of the grace purchased by Christ’s obedient life and sacrifice for us.” (source)
Jerry Bridges (1929–2016) served for over sixty years on the staff of the Navigators. He authored fifteen books and five devotionals, including The Pursuit of Holiness, which has sold over a million copies.
Bob Bevington (OD, Ohio State University) served as an optometrist for two decades while simultaneously cofounding several entrepreneurial start-up companies, including a LASIK provider with eighteen locations. He is a writer, editor, and the coauthor (with Jerry Bridges) of Bookends of the Christian Life.