The Three Ways of Grace (Part 2)
In my last post, I looked with you at the grace of forgiveness. Here we will consider the other aspects of God's gracious work in our hearts.
The Grace of Enablement
Once confidence in God’s forgiveness has called you out of hiding to confess that you have lived the wrong way, something new will greet you: the fear that you don’t have what it takes to live as you should. Your fear will be well-founded. Sin not only leaves us guilty, it leaves us unable. It cripples our ability to be what we are supposed to be and do what we are supposed to do. This is why we need the grace of enablement. Along with forgiveness, we need power.
That power does not come through some impersonal force. It does not come as enhanced personal strength. The power that God gives me is not a thing. God gives me a Person. To provide for me the strength I need to live in the way he has designed, God gives me the only thing that can truly help me. He gives me himself.
The Spirit of God unzips me and gets inside me, enabling me to desire, think, do, and say the things that fit within the boundaries of his plan and purpose for me (see Galatians 2:20 and Ephesians 3:20). This is how every Christian can live with the moment-by-moment assurance that God will never assign a task without giving the grace to accomplish it. He animates and strengthens me with his presence, so that I can say “no” to sin and “yes” to the call of his kingdom.
The Grace of Deliverance
There is one final thing you need to know in order to understand the grace that has been bestowed on you: you are loved by a dissatisfied Redeemer.
He will not rest from his work of grace until every last microbe of sin has been completely eradicated from every last cell of every last one of his children. And so he wars against sin on our behalf. We are never alone in our struggle for a single moment. We never have to deal with the temptations of a situation or relationship by ourselves. He is absolutely resolute in his determination that every one of his children will experience the complete spoils of the victory he gained over sin and death through his crucifixion and resurrection.
You are blessed every day by his dissatisfaction. You are blessed every day that he does not grow discouraged, tired, or weary. You are blessed every day that he rules over all things for your sake. You are blessed every day by the reality that if he ceases from any of this he'd have to deny himself — something he will never do.
There will be a day when you are invited to the one funeral you will actually want to attend. This funeral won’t bring grief to your heart or tears to your eyes. This funeral will make you sing and celebrate. This funeral will make you wonder how you could have been chosen to be the recipient of such blessing. There will be a day when you will attend the funeral of sin. Sin will die and you will live forever, permanently freed from its tyranny.
These two identities, sinner and child of grace, are the pillars that support a restoration lifestyle and a healthy and productive life on this side of eternity. My identity as a sinner daily confronts me with how deep and pervasive my need actually is. My identity as a child of grace confronts me with how expansive my potential actually is. It is only when I humbly admit my identity as a sinner that I live as a consumer of the grace of God, and it is only when I am comforted by my identity as a child of grace that I will be able to look honestly at the magnitude of my sin.
Recent posts from Paul Tripp —
- The Three Ways of Grace (Part 1)
- Between a Rabbi and Two Imams
- Five "Benefits" of Unforgiveness (Then the Better Way)
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