7 Gospel Promises To Embrace Today

Paul Tripp: You may have heard me say this before, but it’s worth repeating again: I’m deeply persuaded that many Christians, myself included, have a big gap in the middle of our gospel theology. Let me break it down and then apply it in a fresh way: I think we have a strong understanding of the theology of gospel past – meaning, we trust deeply in the historical sacrifice of Jesus which paid the penalty for our sins. I also think that we have a strong understanding of the theology of gospel future – meaning, we trust eagerly in the eternal promise of heaven that’s coming. But there’s something missing in the middle. We either don’t understand, or fail to embrace, the theology of the “now-ism” of the gospel. In other words, we don’t take full advantage of all the benefits of the work of Christ today. In this post, I want to briefly outline 7 gospel promises that are

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Give Up on Your Own Self-Righteousness

By Paul David Tripp. Adapted from New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional: TWO VERY DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO SIN Since sin is deeper than bad behavior, trying to do better isn’t a solution. Only grace that changes the heart can rescue us. There is a difference between a person in whom disappointment leads to self-reformation and someone in whom grief leads to heartfelt confession. I think that we often confuse the two. The first person believes in personal strength and the possibility of self-rescue, while the second has given up on his own righteousness and cries out for the help of another. One gets up in the morning and tells himself that he’ll do better today, but the other starts the day with a plea for grace. One targets a change in behavior, and the other confesses to a wandering heart. One assesses that he has the power for personal change, while the other knows that he needs to be given

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The Key to Contentment

From New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp: Stop Living for the Moment There is no doubt about it—the Bible is a big-picture book that calls us to big-picture living. It stretches the elasticity of your mind as it calls you to think about things before the world began and thousands of years into eternity. The Bible simply does not permit you to live for the moment. It doesn’t give you room to shrink your thoughts, desires, words, and actions down to whatever spontaneous thought, emotion, or need grips you at any given time. In a moment, your thoughts can seem more important than they actually are. In a moment, your emotions can seem more reliable than they really are. In a moment, your needs can seem more essential than they truly are. We are meant to live lives that are connected to beginnings and to endings. And we are meant to live this way because

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Why Obey?

Paul Tripp: There’s simply nothing you can do to gain God’s favor. You have to accept this and remember it: you will never be righteous enough for long enough to satisfy God’s holy requirements. Your thoughts will never be pure enough. Your desires will never be holy enough. Your words will never be clean enough. Your choices and actions will never be honoring enough. The bar is simply set too high for us to ever reach. We all live under the same weight of the law, crippled by the inability of sin. We’re better at rebelling than submitting, more inclined to arrogance than humility, more skilled at making war with our neighbors than loving them. We leave a trail of evidence every hour that we’ve fallen short of the glory of God one more time. So what’s the point of obedience in the Christian life? Well, this hard-to-swallow pill of bad news is actually the doorway to eternal hope and

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The Best Worst Thing

Paul Tripp: At the center of a biblical worldview is this radical recognition: the most horrible thing that ever happened was the most wonderful thing that ever happened. As we reflect on Good Friday, we turn our somber attention to the bloody cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Could it be possible for something to happen that was more terrible than this? Could any injustice be greater? Could any loss be more painful? Could any suffering be worse? The only man who ever lived a life that was perfect in every way possible, who gave his life for the sacrifice of many, and who willingly suffered from birth to death in loyalty to his calling was cruelly and publicly murdered in the most vicious of ways. How could it happen that the Son of Man could die? How could it be that men could capture and torture the Messiah? Was this not the end of everything good, true, and beautiful?

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23 Things That Love Is

  By Paul Tripp: Love. What is it? A quick Google search will produce several billion answers. Billion – with a B. Yet if you were to read through just a few of those websites, you would end up massively confused about this thing called love. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to invite you to consider love once again. Instead of Googling the answer, we will spending a few days in the source of Truth, learning from the source of Love. Below are 23 things that love is. This list was excerpted from my newest devotional, “The Invitation To Love.” With your donation of any amount to my ministry, you can get this 10-part devotional resource today. You have been welcomed into eternity by the God of Love, and he welcomes you – right here, right now – to love others in the same way. It’s an invitation unlike any other. LOVE

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Fullness of Joy

  Paul Tripp in The Problem of Good: When the World Seems Fine without God (P&R, 2014), 133: The pleasures of the physical world are temporarily enjoyable, but the shelf life of their enjoyment is short. The taste of food is wonderful, but it does not linger long on your tongue. The delight of musical creativity is enjoyable, but the notes do not ring in your ears for very long. You sit on the edge of your seat during that powerful movie, but on the way home you are already planning for your next day at work. Pleasure is pleasurable, but the pleasures of this right-here, right-now created world can never give you fullness of joy. God graces you with pleasure not to satisfy your heart, but to point you to where your searching heart will finally be satisfied. Joy is found in pleasure, but fullness of joy is to be found only in the One who created pleasure for

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A Lifestyle of Devotion

  Paul Tripp: If you were to outline the book of Hebrews, you would see that from 4:14 to 10:18, the author builds an extensive argument for the high priesthood of Jesus. At the conclusion of that argument, he begins the next section with the words, “Therefore, brothers, since…” (10:19). In other words, here’s what the author is trying to communicate: “If everything I’ve said about Jesus is true, then you ought to live in the following ways.” With that in mind, over the next four Wednesdays, we’re going to look at four different lifestyles described by the author of Hebrews. The first is a lifestyle of DEVOTION. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22, ESV) I’m very concerned with the way modern Christianity tends to think about our “devotional life.” It seems as if we’ve

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A dissatisfied Messiah

The One on whom we wait is a dissatisfied Messiah. He will not relent, he will not quit, he will not rest until ever promise he has made been fully delivered. He will not turn from his work until every one of his children has been totally transformed. He will continue to fight until the last enemy is under his feet. He will reign until his kingdom has fully come. As long as sin exists, he will shower us with forgiving, empowering, and delivering grace. He will defend us against attack and attack the enemy on our behalf. He will be faithful to convict, rebuke, encourage, and comfort. He will continue to open the warehouse of his wisdom and unfold for us the glorious mysteries of his truth. He will stand with us through the darkness and the light. He will guide us on a path we could never have discovered or would never have been wise enough to choose.

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The Empty Tomb

Paul Tripp: I love Easter. I love the celebratory music we sing at church. I love the passages of Scripture we read during worship. And most of all, I love the visual image of the empty tomb. I’m deeply persuaded that the empty tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ reveals three fundamental character qualities about God. 1. FAITHFUL The empty tomb reveals that God is faithful. Centuries earlier, after Adam and Eve had disobeyed God, God promised that He would crush wrong once and for all. He sent his Son to defeat sin and death by his crucifixion and resurrection. For thousands of years, God neither forgot nor turned from His promise. He didn’t grow weary, nor would he be distracted. He made a promise, and he controlled the events of history (large and small) so that at just the right moment, Jesus Christ would come and fulfill what had been promised. 2. POWERFUL The empty tomb also reveals that

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Preach the Gospel to Yourself

  David Mathis: No one is more influential in your life than you are. Because no one talks to you more than you do. So observes Paul Tripp — and in doing so, he accents our need to daily preach the gospel to ourselves. In our sin, we constantly find our responses to life in our fallen world to be disconnected from the theology that we confess. Anger, fear, panic, discouragement stalk our hearts and whisper in our ears a false gospel that will lure our lives away from what we say we believe. The battleground, says Tripp, is meditation. What is it that is capturing your idle thoughts? What fear or frustration is filling your spare moments? Will you just listen to yourself, or will you start talking? No, preaching — not letting your concerns shape you, but forming your concerns by the gospel. Defensive and Offensive Preaching the gospel to ourselves is a spiritual discipline that is both

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You’re Not A Superhero

Paul Tripp: Human beings were built with limits. God didn’t design you to be a superhero. You and I were created to live dependent lives, never surviving on the basis of our own strength, wisdom and control. From the moment of our first breath, we were limited, weak, and fragile beings. If you’re a parent, or an older brother or sister, you know this to be true. Think about how long your newborn child or sibling would have lasted if you left them alone. I was shocked when we had our first child – there was never a moment when we could leave him alone, except during sleep, and even then we were only a few feet away. As we grow older, we think that we become more independent. We get married, have children of our own, buy our first house, and make significant life decisions. Sure, a 40-year married adult can feed and dress himself much better than a

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How to Handle Discouragement in Ministry

Matt Smethurst: If you’ve never experienced discouragement in ministry, I have an inkling you’ve never been in ministry. In a new roundtable video, Darrin Patrick, Paul Tripp, and Voddie Baucham explore reasons and remedies for pastoral discouragement. “I get most discouraged when I’ve had unmet, unrealistic expectations of myself or others,” Baucham observes. The hard-to-swallow truth in such moments is he’s typically thinking too much of himself. “If you’re looking to ministry to give you identity, you’re going down,” notes Tripp, author of Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. Though glorious, ministry is “a messy war.” Patrick adds, “Even though we know in general that ministry is hard and warfare is real, we don’t always know why it’s hard.” It’s crucial, then, to ask, What’s the discouragement beneath the discouragement here? Receiving ministry as a pastor is just as important as giving it, Baucham contends. Or, as one of my favorite preachers, Tommy Nelson, puts it: “If your output exceeds your input, your

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Paul Tripp on “The Biggest Challenge Facing the Church Today”

Tim Brister: Paul Tripp is exactly right. The “insane busyness of Western culture” is incapable of producing faithfulness to the mission of the church. Ultimately, this is a heart issue. It is a kingdom issue. What do we value? What do we prioritize? What matters most? We cannot see gospel advance when the kingdom of God is an optional accessory to our busy lives. Jesus instructed us to “seek first the kingdom of God.” Our passion, priority, and pursuit in life ought to be governed and guarded by this command, but so often my kingdom and agenda feels so right, so comfortable, so me. And that’s precisely the problem. A life filled with me, not Jesus. My comforts, not His commission. My preferences, not His purposes. My way, not His word.  

The goal of theology

Jonathan Parnell: The Bible is amazing. God has spoken to us in a book — a glorious story about his glory and grace centered on the God-man, Jesus Christ. But the life he saves us to — our life in Christ — plays out in this world beyond the pages of his word. What we learn about him is meant to serve how we live for him. And Paul Tripp says this is dangerous for pastors and Christian leaders. The temptation is, as Tripp aptly describes it, “to become more excited about the world of ideas [in the Bible] … than the loving worship of Almighty God and self-sacrificing love for the people of his church.” Are you all about studying, but not serving? All lesson and no love? Paul Tripp helps us:

Knowledge Doesn’t Mean Maturity

Jonathan Parnell: Our heads learn faster than our hearts, and that means danger. Just because you can communicate an idea does not mean you have submitted yourself to it. And if we are not careful, we will mistake the communication part as the barometer of our maturity. Paul Tripp calls it “academizing” the faith — when we define our spiritual growth by our biblical literacy. But as he warns, “You can be theologically astute and be dramatically spiritually immature.” Get Paul’s book, Dangerous Calling (Crossway, 2012).

Where Is Your Identity?

Stop looking at yourself in carnival mirrors. This is one plea from Paul Tripp’s new book, Dangerous Calling. Carnival mirrors give us a distortion of who we really are, and they’re everywhere we look. This is especially true of the pastor or ministry leader who is tempted to stay locked in on the horizontal level. The danger is to mistake our work to be what defines us — to be so fixed on the “carnival mirror of ministry” that we buy as our true identity the twisted depiction it reflects. Paul Tripp explains: (HT: Desiring God)

The Secret to Ministry

Every pastor should read this book! Paul Tripp: “I am more and more convinced that what gives a ministry its motivations, perseverance, humility, joy, tenderness, passion, and grace is the devotional life of the one doing ministry. When I daily admit how needy I am, daily meditate on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and daily feed on the restorative wisdom of his Word, I am propelled to share with others the grace that I am daily receiving at the hands of my Saviour  There simply is no set of exegetical, homiletical, or leadership skills that can compensate for the absence of this in the life of a pastor. It is my worship that enables me to lead others to worship. It is my sense of need that leads me to tenderly pastor those in need of grace. It is my joy in my identity in Christ that leads me to want to help others live in the middle of

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The Health and Success of Your Ministry

It really is true: the health and success of your ministry really are a matter of death and life. If you are ever going to be an ambassador in the hands of a God of glorious and powerful grace, you must die. You must die to your plans for your own life. You must die to your self-focused dreams of success. You must die to your demands for comfort and ease. You must die to your individual definition of the good life. You must die to your demands for pleasure, acclaim, prominence, and respect. You must die to your desire to be in control. You must die to your hope for independent righteousness. You must die to your plans for others…You must die to the pursuit of your own glory in order to take up the cause of the glory of Another…You must die to your unfaltering confidence in you. You must die. – Paul Tripp, Dangerous Calling, pp. 189-190 (HT:

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Extend the Same Grace You Preach

Paul Tripp: I did it for years. I was good at it, but I didn’t know it. It shaped how I preached and how I sought to pastor people. If you would have questioned my theology, I would have been offended. I was an ardent defender of the “doctrines of grace.” I knew them well and could articulate them clearly, but at ground level something else was going on. In the duties, processes, and relationships of pastoral ministry I actively devalued the same grace I theologically defended. My ministry lacked rest in grace. It lacked the fruit of grace: confidence and security. So I attempted to do in people what only God can do, and I consistently asked the law to do what only divine grace will ever accomplish. How does this happen? The heart of every believer, still being delivered from sin, is tugged away from rest in the nowism of grace to some form of legalism. Even after

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