Mar 9

Session 2 Recap: Tripp, “Self Examination Is a Community Project”

2013 | by Scott Pilgreen | Category: Clarus 13

Editor’s Note: Scott Pilgreen is a lay leader and biblical counselor at Desert Springs Church in Albuquerque, NM. This post is a summary of Paul Tripp’s message from Friday evening at Clarus, March 8, “Self Examination Is a Community Project,” from Hebrews 3:13.


What is happening in the little moments of your life? Dr. Tripp explained that we don’t live in the big moments of life but in the 10,000 little moments that shape our character. If God doesn’t rule us in the utterly mundane, He doesn’t rule us because the utterly mundane is where our address is.

To help us see the importance of relationships, Dr. Tripp taught from two passages. In 2 Peter 1:3-9, Peter is proposing that it is possible to be a true believer in Christ and yet be ineffective and unfruitful. Three questions naturally arise from this passage. First, Who are these people Peter is talking about? In a way, Peter is talking about all believers in Christ as being ineffective and unfruitful. Second, Why are these people ineffective and unproductive? In verse 9, Peter says: “…having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins,” and Dr. Tripp pointed out that the root of the issue is identity. If we forget who we are, we will quit pursuing what belongs to us in Christ. And third, How does this happen? Dr. Tripp suggests that we become can be ineffective and unproductive by evidence-denial – we deny our need for God’s grace in our lives. Evidence denial then leads to grace-devaluing. If the person doesn’t see the need for grace, grace has no value, therefore, that person becomes a grace-devaluer. Grace is only valuable to the person who knows that he or she is a sinner. In asking what all of this has to do with relationships, Dr. Tripp emphatically answered, “Everything.”

Dr. Tripp then led us to the second passage, Hebrews 3:12-13, which is both a warning and a call to believers in Jesus. The author of Hebrews is indicating a declining progression of an evil and then unbelieving heart that leads you to fall away from the living God. This is an alarming spiritual decline, but how does this happen? Dr. Tripp explained that it is because we are all extremely skilled, self-swindlers. We convince ourselves that our sin really isn’t that bad, and we harden our hearts. What once bothered us doesn’t bother us anymore. We aren’t open to change because we have become too satisfied where we are. The author of Hebrews then tells us we harden our hearts because of sin. Sin is deceitful. We become spiritually blind and we are blind to our blindness. Even though the power of sin has been broken, we can’t clearly see ourselves because the presence of sin still remains.

What then has God provided for the hard-hearted believer? He has provided help in the form of relationships. Hebrews 3:13a says, “But exhort one another every day.” We need to be encouraged and exhorted daily, so that we won’t be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Dr. Tripp explained that God has designed people as “instruments of seeing” for our lives. Every day we all are capable of being significantly blinded to our own condition, so we need “an intentionally intrusive, grace-based, Christ-centered, redemptive community” that is able to see in us what we cannot see in ourselves.

Dr. Tripp offered some great applications to these passages. The first is to honestly ask ourselves if there is a person in our life who can be that “instrument of seeing.” Can you name that person? The second is a prayer that we can all consider implementing into our daily prayer life: Confession – I am a person in desperate need of help; Pray – that in His grace He would send helpers our way; Cry for help – that we would have the humility to receive the help when it comes.

We can come to our Lord Jesus in our time of need because all of our rejection has been fully borne by Him on the cross. May it be so, that we run to our King Jesus for His glory and for our good.