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Listening to Luther

Paul Tripp
Paul Tripp

"With Paul, we absolutely deny the possibility of self merit. God never yet gave to any person grace and everlasting life as a reward for merit...the true way of salvation is this: First, a person must realize that he’s a sinner, the kind of sinner who’s congenitally unable to do any good thing. "Whatsoever is not of faith, is sin." Those who seek to earn the grace of God by their own efforts are trying to please God with sins. They mock God, and provoke His anger. The first step on the way to salvation is to repent." (Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians)

 

I want believe

that there is another way.

I want to think

that I am the exception to the rule.

I grasp at the thought

that my righteousness is enough.

I hold to the hope

that my behavior satisfies you.

I want to think

that you judge me worthy.

It is my evaluation

that I am capable of your standard.

I want to hold onto my assessment

that I am not like others,

I can plainly see

that they offend your law.

I get the fact

that they fall short of your glory.

I know very well

that they can't stand before you.

But I still want to think

that I am not like them.

I want to hold your Word

and my righteousness at the same time.

I want to celebrate the Gospel

and my worthiness together.

But it is

a self-sufficient delusion.

It aggrandizes me and diminishes You.

It minimizes sin and devalues grace.

It asks the law to do

what only grace can accomplish.

It denies the daily evidence

of my sin.

It ignores the true condition

of my heart.

It turns away

from the sacrifice that you have made.

It omits the sovereign plan

of your grace.

It forgets the desperate condition

of my need.

And so I turn

to what I know is true.

I am nothing

without you.

I accept the invitation

of your grace.

I run to the sacrifice

of the cross.

I cry for the help

of your spirit.

I accept the diagnosis

of your Word.

I trust the faithfulness

of your love.

I seek the forgiveness

you alone can give.

And I reject

the righteousness that is my own.

 
Originally published September 19, 2011.

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