Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Broken-Down House by Paul David Tripp

Broken-Down House: Living Productively in a World Gone Bad,
Paul David Tripp, Shepherd Press, 2009, 223 pages
As you can see, the front cover of this book features a picture of a broken-down old house. The bad news is that this is the place where God calls us to live. The good news is that God is going to renovate the broken-down house and restore its former glory. And the renovation process has already begun. We live between the already of the dawning of grace and the not yet of the renewal of all things.

The author uses the idea of a broken-down house to illustrate what it means to live for the Lord in a fallen world. The world has gone bad because of sin. Nothing is as it should be. Everything from the environment to personal relationships have been affected by the devastating effects of the fall. But that does not mean that the believer should fatalistically write off the 'broken-down house' of this world. God has called us to be part of his renovation work by living productively in a world gone bad.

Doing this requires a healthy dose of biblical realism. We have to come realise that we cannot change other people, let alone the world in our own strength. To think otherwise is a recipe for the frustration and bitter disappointment that so often seems to mar our relationships. Believers need to come to terms with their limits and rest in the sovereign power of God. We need to live in the light of eternity and learn what it means to actively wait upon the Lord. He alone is able to restore the broken-down house and transform those who live in it.

But that does not mean that we can do nothing. Fuelled by love for the Lord and empowered by grace we must reject passivity and involve ourselves fully in God’s redemptive community, the church. We have been saved to serve and having a ministry mentality will affect every aspect of our lives. Understanding this and living it out will transform our relationships within the family, church and society.

In the final chapter, Tripp urges his readers to examine their legacy. Can the people closest to us see that we are living for eternity with an eye for God’s glory, or are our goals altogether more earthly? Such questions force us to think about what really makes us tick. And that isn't a bad thing.

This well written book is full of telling illustrations and is characterised by pastoral honesty and sound biblical teaching. The believer is challenged to live faithfully and fruitfully in a fallen world that God is busy restoring. Read, reflect and act.
* An edited version of this review will appear in a future edition of Evangelical Times.

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