A Trinity of Trinities
In Psalm 51, David uses three words to unpack the doctrine of sin—transgression, iniquity, and sin. This “trinity of immorality” captures and defines who we are and how great our moral need is.
But as I wrote last week, if you only meditate on your identity as a sinner, you will end up discouraged, defeated, and deceived. You and I need another trinity of truth, found within the declaration that you are a child of grace.
As a child of God, grace enters your life in three powerful forms.
1. The Grace of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is the goal of God’s redemptive story. It is the plan God began implementing the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed. It is amazing to know that the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ has fully and completely covered all my past, present, and future sins.
But forgiveness doesn’t just call you out of the hiding of self-righteousness and self-justification; it mobilizes you. It makes you want to obey. Forgiveness draws your heart in love and thankfulness to God, and in your love for him, you desire to think, do, and say things that please him.
Moreover, the minute you begin to grasp the magnitude of the forgiveness you have been given, you want others to experience it. What truly brings you joy is the people around you coming to know the One who has offered you such amazing forgiveness.
2. 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, the enemy will try to deceive you into believing you don’t have what it takes to live as you should.
This is partially true, at least by your own strength. But the enemy will lie to you that you do not have enough, and this could not be farther from the truth. Along with forgiveness, God grants power.
By grace, 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.
3. The Grace of Deliverance
You are forgiven (past), enabled (present), and will one day be fully delivered (future) by your 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.
To be freed from the trinity of immorality and to receive this trinity of grace, we need the Holy Trinity.
We need an unsatisfied Father who exercises his sovereign power to set a plan in place that will rescue us from us. We need a willing Son to take our punishment so that we can be forgiven. We need a powerful Spirit who will dwell within us, enabling us to do what we would not otherwise be able to do.
Confess the trinity of immorality that defines you. Celebrate the trinity of grace that has entered your life as a child of God. And run to the Holy Trinity where life is found, both now and forevermore.
Paul David Tripp
1. How has the grace of forgiveness mobilized you toward obedience? Name a few specific examples as you consider how it has changed the way you think, do, and say things that now please God.
2. How has the grace of forgiveness motivated you to tell others about who God is and the forgiveness he offers in the gospel of Jesus Christ? If you have ever told someone else about the goodness of God’s forgiveness, how did that experience bring you joy? Have you ever considered that sharing your faith with others is a way to experience joy in life? Why or why not?
3. How has trying to live the Christian life in your own power been a discouragement for you? Why do you think the enemy wants you to try to live the Christian life in your own power? If real power to live the Christian life comes from God himself, what attitudes, actions, or thoughts get in the way of you doing so on a moment-by-moment basis? What kinds of “scary” things might God be calling you to move toward, knowing that if he has called you, he will give you the grace to accomplish it?
4. How does knowing that God will not rest from his work of grace until every part of sin has been eliminated in you make you feel? How does it motivate you to move forward in life? How does it give you confidence to walk with God in ways you simply haven’t before now?
5. How does the trinity of immorality drive you in neediness to the Holy Trinity of God? Write down the ways that you have been rescued by God the Father and forgiven by God the Son. Now jot down the ways God the Spirit has enabled you to do what you would not otherwise be able to do without him. Look over your lists and take some time to pray and thank God for all the ways he has extended grace to you.