Jerry Bridges

Bankruptcy and Grace

In his book Transforming Grace, Jerry Bridges talks about the two different kinds of bankruptcies: Chapter 7 and Chapter 11.

Chapter 11 is a temporary financial reorganization that keeps a company’s creditors at bay until it can get back on its feet financially.

Chapter 7 is a total and complete erasure of all debts, with no further requirement to repay, nearly always leading to the dissolution of the company.

How does this compare to the Christian life?

Grace is a Chapter 7 experience, but many believers treat it like Chapter 11.

We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that the forgiveness received at salvation is a temporary reorganization of the mess we have made with our lives, providing enough relief to last until we’re able to live in the strength of our own goodness.

That’s not how it works.

We’re saved by grace and we live by grace. The same grace. It comes through faith, and this not of ourselves; it is the gift of God. We live the Christian life the same way we begin it: by grace.

For this reason, rather than promising again and again to do that which we are incapable of doing, it’s better to start the morning with a simple prayer, requesting that the same grace that saved us will sustain us throughout the day, and by that grace we may grow closer to Jesus in all we do.

New Every Morning

New Every Morning

Patrick HenryPatrick Henry’s primary contribution to the history books is the phrase “Give me liberty or give me death.”

But there’s another statement attributed to him that you’ll find quoted often.

He said, “I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.”

Repeat this phrase before an audience and you’ll see heads nod in agreement. It has the ring of good common sense.

Be careful, though. This axiom might be true when applied to politics or history or investing your money, but it’s a lousy foundation for relationships.

And it certainly doesn’t reflect the way God relates to us.

As Jeremiah wrote…

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

God doesn’t judge your future by your past. He didn’t with David or Moses or Peter or Paul; neither will he with you.

The best way to begin each day is to remember, at the moment that you opened your eyes and reached for the alarm, you were given brand new mercies — the chance to begin again with a clean slate, the chance to become the person he created you to be.

By the way, this is also the best way to start the day with others. Since God won’t allow the past to stand in the way of the future, let’s give the same gift to others.