Respected theologian Jerry Bridges, a longtime staff member of The Navigators Christian ministry and the best-selling author of 10 inspirational books, died Sunday. He was 86 years old.
In a 2011 interview with DesiringGod.org, a website devoted to glorifying God, Bridges shared six biblical truths he learned over the course of his walk with Christ:
1. The Bible Is Meant to Be Applied to Specific Issues in One's Daily Life
As a young officer in the Navy, Bridges learned firsthand the meaning of 1 Timothy 6:1 as he applied the scripture to a challenging relationship he once had with a superior officer. The theologian's commanding officer was difficult to get along with and was resented by many of his subordinates. Neverthless, Bridges learned that the officer was still "worthy of all honor," based on the Scriptures.
2. Believers Have a Union With Christ
Bridges said, "I am in Christ — as the vine and the branches have a living union, so Christ and I have that living union. I live in Him, He lives in me, and I depend upon Him for the power to live a Christian life."
3. Mankind Is Saved Through the Doctrine of Election
"I am a Christian because God chose me from before the foundation of the world." The theologian initially pushed back against that concept, but says God opened his eyes. "It just sort of hit me all of a sudden, and I just dropped to my knees and I thought of Romans 12:1: 'I appeal to you by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice.'"
Bridges said he had never before understood God's mercy and grace as much as he did at that moment.
4. It's Necessary to Preach the Gospel to Oneself Daily
The author says he learned to look to Christ as his righteousness, rather than to his own performance.
5. Christians Have a 'Dependent Responsibility'
"I am responsible to deal with sin. I am responsible to grow in the fruit of the spirit, but I'm dependent on the enabling power of Christ, through the Holy Spirit, to enable me to do that," said Bridges.
6. Believers Should Have an Increased Awareness of a Dependence Upon the Holy Spirit
Bridges said: "Just as any team needs a coach, so we need the Holy Spirit to coach us to point out our weaknesses. He gives us direction, then He works monergistically, which means He works by Himself — apart from our input. Then He also works synergistically, which means He enables us to work."
The theologian hoped that Christians would benefit from his experiences. "Those are the great truths I learned, and I see no reason why a new Christian cannot at least begin to learn these right up front. There's no point in having to work through 50 years of difficult experience, like I had to do ... "