NEW MORNING MERCIES
by Paul David Tripp
No one just lives life. No one acts or reacts neutrally. No one is objective. No one is passive. You and I always bring an interpretive grid to our view of ourselves, our behavior, others, God, and life. Our reactions are not shaped by the facts of our experience, but by the way we interpret those facts. The gospel of the person and work of Jesus is intended to be the life-altering interpretive grid of the believer. This is what Paul means when he says "let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Col. 3:16).
Why does he say "word of Christ"? What Paul means is the gospel. The over-arching message of the Bible is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible is not a series of stories or a compendium of wisdom statements. The Bible is not a textbook of systematic theology. The Bible is the grand biography of the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that the Bible is the annotated story of the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, his story with God's essential explanatory and applicatory notes. You do violence to the word of God when you reduce it to a book of theology, principles, and rules. You simply cannot make sense of Scripture without the person and work--the grace--of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So where does all of this lead us? You have two ways of looking at life. You can look at all your internal and external challenges from the perspective of your track record and present catalog of abilities, or you can look at them from the vantage point of the sufficiency of the work of Jesus on your behalf. The Bible was given not only to radically alter your identity and potential, but to radically alter the way you think about and interpret life. You are not left to your own resources. Because you are "in Christ," your potential is greater than the sum of your parts. You are never in any situation or location all by yourself. There is one who fights against sin for you even when you don't have sense enough to fight for yourself.
The gospel of Jesus Christ must not be just an aspect of your theology. It must not be relegated to the "religious" dimension of your life. Your relationship with God through Jesus Christ is your life. It touches and alters every aspect of your existence; it redefines your identity. It infuses your life with new meaning and purpose, and it completely reshapes your destiny. So the work of Jesus on your behalf must be the window through which you look at everything in your life. Don't give way to the fear of inability when the work of Jesus has supplied you with everything you need.
For further study and encouragement: 2 Peter 1:2-11
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you."