Book Review: Whiter than Snow by Paul David Tripp

My latest read was Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp.

This book is a devotional, broken up into 52 chapters which are intended to be read one per week over the course of a year. However, I've never been one to stick to any "devotional" book consistently over that long of a period of time, so I finished it over several days.
The themes are sin and grace, and the chapters are based on a verse-by-verse breakdown of Psalm 51, written by David as he reflects on his sin with Bathsheba:
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
Overall, it was an encouraging and insightful read, and I enjoyed it. I appreciated Tripp's verse-by-verse analysis of the Psalm and his insights on sin, repentance, grace, and mercy.

The only thing I didn't like at times was the "jazz-y" style in which it was written. He switches between prose (which I loved) and a sort of free-style poetry (which I found distracting and a little annoying at times). However, overall, I really appreciated what he had to say. I'll leave you with a few favorite quotes:

You and I don't live in a series of big, dramatic moments. We don't careen from big decision to big decision. We all live in an endless series of little moments. The character of a life isn't set in ten big moments. The character of a life is set in ten thousand little moments of everyday life. It's the themes of struggles that emerge from those little moments that reveal what's going on in our hearts.
Before you can ever make a clean and unamended confession of your sin, you have to first begin by confessing your righteousness. It's not just your sin that separates you from God; your righteousness does as well. Because, when you are convinced you are righteous, you don't seek the forgiving, rescuing, and restoring mercy that can be found only in Jesus Christ.


Let me suggest that there are two ways that the justice of God should comfort us sinners. First, His justice means that His assessment of us is accurate. It isn't colored or slanted by prejudice or bias of any kind. It isn't shaped by any kind of hidden personal agenda. God's assessment isn't weakened by favoritism or the cynicism of previous experience. God's view of us is pure and accurate in every way.... And because God's view of me is untainted by sin, it's clearly more reliable than any view that I'd have of myself. Second, the way that God as Judge responds to me is right and pure as well. God's discipline of me is without personal bias. It isn't weakened by anger or impatience. His justice is never distorted because He's lost His temper or has tired of dealing with me. To add to this, since He isn't only just, but also merciful, loving, and kind as well, God's justice is always restrained and tempered by these things. He's a God of mercy who metes out justice. He disciplines us in love. His kindness colors how He responds to the sins of His children. 
So, if you're looking for some encouragement, a better understanding of sin and grace, or a good weekly devotional, check it out!

Disclosure: I'm an Amazon Associate, so if you purchase this item through my link above, I supposedly earn a little something back, and I thank you...

1 comment:

  1. Those are some EXCELLENT quotes!! The second one that refers to righteousness is something God has been impressing on me so much over the past few months, just that my right standing with Him is possible because of CHRIST, not because of ANYTHING I do!! I might have to check the book out.


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