Between a Rabbi and Two Imams

whiter-than-snow-meditations-on-sin-and-mercyWhiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp is one of my favorite devotionals of all time. In 52 short passages, Tripp explores the rich truth of Psalm 51. As he explains in the introduction, “Psalm 51 is about how God meets us in our moments of deepest failure and transforms us by his grace. It is about how broken sinners can be brutally honest with God and yet stand before him without fear.”

This is a great little book that will take you to unexpected places in your spiritual walk.

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One of the most interesting passages contains a story from Tripp’s ministry:

It was a wonderful opportunity. I was asked to participate in an open discussion about death and dying from a patient’s perspective. The event was held at a local medical college. It was the first ministry situation I had ever been in where I had sat between a rabbi and two imams. My Jewish and Islamic colleagues were all very warm and articulate, but I had an unfair advantage: I came armed with the gospel. I carried something into the room that no one else had, and as the evening went on this message glistened with greater and greater beauty.

The men on either side of me were gentle and caring. They knew their faith well, but they had one distinct disadvantage: the only message they brought into the room was the message of the law. The only hope they could give was the hope that somehow, someway, a person could be obedient enough to be accepted into eternity with God. The more they spoke, the more beautiful the gospel looked.

The most significant moment of the evening came when we were asked about what we would say to a family of someone who had committed suicide. It was at this moment that the gospel shined the brightest. I said, “Suicide doesn’t change the paradigm. Think with me: who of us could lie in our bed during the last hours of our life and look back and say to ourselves that we have been as good as a person could be? Wouldn’t all of us look back and have regrets about things we have chosen, said, and done? None of us is able to commend ourselves to God on the basis of our performance. In this way, the person who has committed suicide and the person who hasn’t are exactly the same. Both of them are completely dependent on the forgiveness of a God of grace, in order to have any hope for eternity.”

This is a book you’ll read again and again. Get it today and start exploring the mercy of God.


  1. says

    Nicely said. The unspoken question in Tripp's dialogue is. "How do I find that grace?" I know how to do law. Work. Grace? The answer I think is found in the question, "Who?"

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