Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A culture of grace

Listening to something by Tripp & Powlison whilst musing on 1 John 3 (ahead of preaching on it in Reading in a few couple of weeks), they comment on how the gospel creates a culture of grace. In that, Jesus is a role model to us. Not like normal role models who we watch from a distance. Jesus shows us what love is by acting upon us in love, dying for our sins.

This is how we know what love is - by way of his substitutionary and propitiatory death. And as we become increasingly Jesus-centred we'll become increasingly other-centred. Not just in sentimental words of love, but in love that acts to meet needs.

This sets an agenda totally opposed to the spirit of our age, indeed of every age since the days of Cain - an age in which we're so curved in on ourselves that we don't know what love is. The gospel takes us away from ourselves, to Jesus to believe in him and onward to others to serve them.


  1. I think is really brilliant Bish, and it just sounds like the culture to long for in your church. I think it also helps tie together a few things; we often talk of costly Christianity, of the cross-shaped life, but we can forget that is so because we're spending our selves serving others. It's not some abstract willful masochistic ascetism that we're striving for, but a love for others showing itself in action.

    I'm looking forward to reading Paul Tripp's Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, which seems to be quite in line with what you were listening to.

  2. Instruments is v.good. I think probably 'How People Change' is the same material more helpfully packaged (though I think it's out of print at the moment). And books like Welch's When People are Big and God is Small do the same stuff well too.