Category Archives: Paul David Tripp
I have yet to be disappointed by any book authored by Paul David Tripp. Some of his best works include:
• Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands
• Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy
• A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble
• A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger Than You
So what did I expect from him? More of the same.
His latest book on marriage—What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage—looks very good. The teaching DVD and CD versions of his message have been available for a while now. The DVD series was very well done (and would work well as a video curriculum in a local church marriage retreat setting).
Don’t let Tripp’s walrus mustache, or the book’s clipart cover, fool you. This book is the fresh and pointed work of a soul surgeon. The book is structured around 6 core marriage commitments–
1: We will give ourselves to a regular lifestyle of confession and forgiveness.
2: We will make growth and change our daily agenda.
3: We will work together to build a sturdy bond of trust.
4: We will commit to building a relationship of love.
5: We will deal with our differences with appreciation and grace.
6: We will work to protect our marriage.
Here’s a short video introduction to What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage—
Surely one of the most valuable gifts God has given the church are surgeons of the soul. Men capable of cutting with the sharp edge of scripture, separating the outward surface of the torso, cutting through the muscle and spreading the chest, looking for the most dangerous problems, those not obvious on the outside, surgeons with determination to find the source of a deep root, a deadly problem found in the now exposed heart, a sin that can be cured only through precise wisdom and the sober application of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And if you can find one of these surgeons—one who knows his way around the deep inner workings of the heart, one who can scale to the very heights of the glorious gospel, and one who is a gifted communicator, able to write his words carefully for the benefit of us all—you have uncovered a gem.
Paul David Tripp is one of these treasures.
In his book Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy (Crossway, 2008), Tripp has written for us, partly in prose and partly in poetry, 52 brief devotional pieces that cover the scope of Psalm 51—covering the many contours of David’s sin with Bathsheba, and the experience of God’s grace in light of David’s sin. If you are brave enough to go under the surgeon’s knife, Tripp will guide you to see the darkness of sin at work in your own heart, before skillfully applying the restorative grace of the gospel.
There are a number of excerpts I want to share, but the one that I return to most often is a poem that recounts the ministry of Nathan in confronting David for his sin (see 2 Samuel 12:1-15). In part Tripp writes:
…Just a humble prophet
Telling a simple story
A sinner with a sinner
Not standing above
Wanting to be an instrument
Hoping to assist a blind man to see
But no trust in self
And letting God
Do through a familiar example
Painted with plain words
What only God can do
Crack the hard-shell heart
Of a wayward man
And make it feel again
To a new and better way. (p. 63-64)
Tripp’s poem is a beautiful epigraph upon the granite of Nathan’s legacy. And a video of the author reading from this chapter is available online. Enjoy:
Title: Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy
Author: Paul David Tripp
Topical index: no
Scriptural index: no
Text: perfect type
Price USD: $12.99 / $8.96 at Westminster
ISBNs: 9781433502309, 1433502305
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change by Paul David Tripp (P&R: 2002) is one of the best contemporary Christian books. For more information, read my review posted today at TakeUpAndRead.com. To celebrate, Monergism Books is running a special deal (50-percent off!). But it will not last long.
If you plan to attend the Banner of Truth Minister’s Conference next month, let me know (click here for more info).
‘Of my own accord’: The Eager Redeemer (pt. 2)
by Tony Reinke
“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:17-18a)
Last time we discovered that Jesus must be more than a suitable Redeemer; He must also be a willing Redeemer. In the light of His willingness and eagerness we learn the depth of our Savior’s love.
The most common phrase of Jesus willingness to lay His life down for sinners is to say Jesus “gave Himself” for us (Gal. 1:4, 2:20; Eph. 5:2, 5:25; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:14). The phrase drips of volition and purpose and of knowing exactly what He was getting Himself into. This willingness is so precious.
Today we look specifically at John 10 and the consequences of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. I call this section “The Heartbeat of an Eager Shepherd.”
One striking feature of John 10 is the emphasis on the individual sheep. Listen to how personally Jesus explains the relationship between the sheep and the Shepherd. Jesus says,
“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out … A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers. … If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture … For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father. … My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
We cannot miss the context of Jesus’ willingness to die. He was willing to die because He personally loved each one of His sheep. When we forget about the willingness of the Shepherd to die, we think of Him as a “hired hand” who came to die by the command of another, dying an impersonal death for some faceless, nameless sheep. Never! Jesus contrasts His own heart with that of a “hired hand” who does not care individually for the sheep (John 10:11-15). “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Jesus lived and died for His specific sheep.
Couched within the willingness of Christ to redeem sinners is the demonstration of Christ’s love towards His individual sheep. Charles Spurgeon writes, “Love delights in personal pronouns … He died for his flock, and for each one of his sheep in particular; so that we may each one say to-day, ‘He loved me, and gave himself for me’ [Gal. 2:20]; and each one know that for himself, with special intent, the Lord Jesus bore the agony and bloody sweat, the cross and passion” (sermons, vol. 35).
If you are one of His sheep, know that the Shepherd Himself willingly gave Himself for you. He knew you, loved you, died for you, suffered for you, bore your wrath, and now protects you and comforts you! Christ was eager to redeem each of His sheep. Be moved by the personal pronouns.
Christ willingly pursues us
Notice what motivates the free willingness of the Son. The Father takes pleasure in the Son’s free offering of Himself (John 10:17). This alone is worthy of much reflection. The Father finds delight in Christ for His willing offering of Himself. Amazing!
Secondly, Christ is moved to eagerness because He loves His sheep. How do we become His sheep? If I understand the context of John correctly, there is nothing you can do to be one of His sheep. This designation rests upon the free, unmerited sovereign grace of God. Jesus said, “but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock” (v. 26). Belief or unbelief are not the determining factor. The determining factor was God’s electing will in placing us in one sheepfold or another. To put it another way, my faith, my obedience, my sinful wretchedness, my love, my character, my successes, my failures do not determine or undermine Christ’s love for me. His was an unconditional love for each sinful sheep in His care.
Because Christ loves depraved sinners like us, calls each of us by name, and willingly gives Himself, we can safely conclude: The Good Shepherd pursues each of His sheep. It’s here that we see the eagerness of the Son. He was motivated to pursue me willingly and of His own freedom. He pursued me. Say that out loud … “He pursued me!”
In Luke 15 the Pharisees came to Jesus and ridiculed Him for “receiving sinners.” They were wrong. Jesus does not receive sinners, He pursues sinners. He pursues sinners like a shepherd pursues a lost sheep (vv. 4-7), like a woman pursues her lost coin (vv. 8-10), like a father runs after his lost son (vv. 11-32). With binoculars and a flashlight in hand, Jesus runs in pursuit of sinners.
Horatius Bonar writes, “in his work of saving, Christ is aggressive and compulsory. He goes out in order to find them. He is ever on the outlook. He does not merely sit above on his throne, willing to receive the applications of those who come. He comes down amongst us. He goes to and fro in the earth; He walks up and down in it. His daily, hourly work is going in quest of sinners” (Light and Truth).
The willingness of Christ reveals the deep love of Christ for you and I. Willingly, eagerly, freely, and aggressively He is in quest of sinners like me. This is grace in its purest form.
Deepest love, deepest comforts
The willing pursuit of your soul by Christ is the source of all comfort in this world. There is no dark cloud that can hide the sun of Christ’s love.
Octavius Winslow writes, “Are you wounded? Does your heart bleed? Is your soul cast down within you? Is your spirit within you desolate? Still Jesus is love, is loving, and loves you. He has suffered and died for you; and, were it necessary, He would suffer and die for you yet again. Whatever blessing He sees good to take from you, Himself He will never take. Whatever stream of creature love He sees fit to dry, His own love will never fail. Oh, can that love fail — can it cease to yearn, and sympathize, and soothe, and support, which brought Jesus from heaven to earth to endure and suffer all this for us? Be still, then, lie passive and low — drink the cup, and let the surrender of your sin, your obedience, and yourself to Him be as willing and as entire as was the surrender of Himself for you. Then shall you, in a blessed degree, be ‘able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, filled with all the fullness of God’” (Daily Walking with God).
We must grasp the willingness of Christ. In His willingness we comprehend the depth of Christ’s love. He pursues sinners. If we are of His sheepfold — found resting in His righteousness alone, saved when He found us drinking from polluted cisterns and lost on the path of destruction — there can be no life situation too dark or too hopeless.
In one of my favorite contemporary books, Instruments in the Redeemers Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change, Paul David Tripp writes, “Biblical personal ministry is more about perspective, identity, and calling than about fixing what is broken” (p. 185). To say it another way, helping others see the willingness of Christ to endure the Cross and His relentless pursuit of His sheep may be one of the most life-transforming, problem-clearing, darkness-breaking truths you will bring to a counseling situation.
Dwell frequently upon Christ’s eagerness.