From the Foreword:

Jerry Bridges has given the world one of the most incisive, appealing, and conscience-stirring treatises on scriptural holiness ever written. Without doubt, the Lord has enabled His servant to prepare a volume that will have a far-reaching impact upon the lives of countless numbers who read it.

The dominant theme of this heart-moving study is the need for increasing pursuit by believers for the holiness of life which God, whose holiness is ever gratefully remembered, can alone make possible. Pursuit is the key word which the author, whose personal pursuit has been long and strong, constantly repeats.

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson declared that one of the inherent and unalienable rights of men is “the pursuit of happiness.” Professing Christians must be brought to realize that the preeminent desire and demand of God for us is that of the continual pursuit of holiness of life, and the reflection of His own holiness. “Be ye holy, for I am holy.”

Well over 100 years ago, William Blake urged his readers to “put off holiness, and put on intellect.” But divorced from divine holiness, intellect is like a ship without a captain, and doomed to disaster. In our quest for holiness the prayer must ever rise from the heart,

“Take my intellect and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.”

This is why we must warmly commend this compelling coverage of practical holiness, in which the author fully shows that the whole of life must be permeated with the holiness a thrice-holy God can impart.



We must recognize that we have developed habit patterns of sin. We have developed the habit of shading the facts a little bit when it is to our advantage. We have developed the habit of giving in to the inertia that refuses to let us get up in the morning. These habits must be broken, but they never will till we make a basic commitment to a life of holiness without exceptions.

The Apostle John said, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin” (1 John 2:1). The whole purpose of John’s letter, he says, is that we not sin. One day as I was studying this chapter I realized that my personal life’s objective regarding holiness was less than that of John’s. He was saying, in effect, “Make it your aim not to sin.” As I thought about this, I realized that deep within my heart my real aim was not to sin very much. I found it difficult to say, “Yes, Lord, from here on I will make it my aim not to sin.” I realized God was calling me that day to a deeper level of commitment to holiness than I had previously been willing to make.

Can you imagine a soldier going into battle with the aim of “not getting hit very much”? The very suggestion is ridiculous. His aim is not to get hit at all! Yet if we have not made a commitment to holiness without exception, we are like a soldier going into battle with the aim of not getting hit very much. We can be sure if that is our aim, we will be hit—not with bullets, but with temptation over and over again.

Jonathan Edwards, one of the great preachers of early American history, used to make resolutions. One of his was, “Resolved, never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.” Dare we modern-day Christians make such a resolution? Are we willing to commit ourselves to the practice of holiness without exceptions? There is no point in praying for victory over temptation if we are not willing to make a commitment to say no to it.

Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness (Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1978), 92–93.


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