“In the way of CONSOLATION to the godly… This may be a consolation to you, that you shall have a whole eternity in which to praise him. They earnestly desire to praise God better. This, therefore, may be your consolation, that in heaven your heart shall be enlarged, you shall be enabled to praise him in an immensely more perfect and exalted manner than you can do in this world. You shall not be troubled with such a dead, dull heart, with so much coldness, so many clogs and burdens from corruption, and from a earthly mind; with a wandering, unsteady heart; with so much darkness and so much hypocrisy. You shall be one of that vast assembly that praise God so fervently, that their voice is “as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings.”

Jonathan Edwards, Praise, One of the Chief Employments of Heaven, Nov. 7, 1734

Psalms 93-99 are beautifully composed to celebrate and pray for God’s kingly reign over all the earth. it is explicitly the OT notion of the kingdom of God, portrayed eschatalogically. Psalm 100 summarizes in praise and highlights the covenantal privilege of Israel as the “sheep of his pature.” The psalter focuses in from universal reign to gracious election and the Lord’s steadfast love (100:1 and then in the psalm of David, 101:1)! The psalm of David portrays a blameless man  who crushes wickedness (101:2; cf. 1:1-6). Then Psalm 102 is very eschatological–there is future hope when the Lord will have pity on Zion and rebuild her, “he appears in his glory” (102:13, 16). This is a day when nations and all the kings of the earth shall fear God’s glory (v. 15). Verses 21-22 show us a new Zion where the peoples and kingdoms gather to worship the Lord.

Psalm 103 is another psalm of David who blesses the Lord. Steadfast love (or “covenant faithfulness”) is mentioned in vv. 4, 8, 11, 17. David writes reminiscent of the Pentateuch… the Lord “great in steadfast love towards those who fear him” (v. 11). Explicit in 103:7-8 is David referring back to Exodus 34:6. He says to God, “this is who You are!”… “this is how You made Yourself known to Moses and back there, in Moses’ intercession, You gave grace and mercy!”

The Lord God is a faithful God who rules over all… David closes, “Bless the Lord, all His works, in all places of His dominion!” (v. 22). And then Psalm 104 comes and shows God as the sovereign giver and sustainer of all creation.

“…these all look to you…” (v. 27)

Then eschatological hope: judge the wicked! i.e. come! Your kingdom come! Messiah reign!

Amen, come Lord Jesus!

       “So if God loves us enough to make our joy full, He must not only give us Himself; He must also win from us the praise of our hearts–not because He needs to shore up some weakness in Himself or compensate for some deficiency, but because He loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can be found only in knowing and praising Him, the most magnificent of all Beings. If He is truly for us, He must be for Himself!

     God is the only Being in the universe for whom seeking His own praise is the ultimately loving act. For Him, self-exaltation is the highest virtue…”         

(John Piper, Desiring God, 49).

 

This truth changed my life.

Hesed…

…that is, with the covenant faithfulness of God.

The trustworthiness of Him fulfilling His promise…

…that is, the gospel.

Satisfy us with the gospel so that we may be satisfied in You. 

We know God only by the gospel, and the more therein we know Him, the more we must cling to the gospel.

The terminology that includes “good Christian” can only exist in a culture of rampant nominalism. What exactly do we mean by this phrase? Is there really such a person? I think what really is meant by this phrase is someone who adequately observes spiritual disciplines, even a broad as regular church attendance.

If this theory of the phrase’s intention is true then it means it defies the very essence of what it means to be a Christian. Being a Christian is precisely about who you are, not duties that you perform. And the who you are is swallowed up in the realization that you are so awfully bad that it took the Son of God dying on a cross, bearing the wrath you deserve, so that we would be forgiven.

See the truth is that we all are bad Christians. Bad to the point that every ounce of our “goodness” comes from outside us.

Thank you, Father, that my badness as a Christian sets me free in your grace to embrace the goodness of Jesus Christ.

Needy

October 2, 2008

Jerry Bridges writes about a popular gospel misconception, “Once you become a Christian you don’t need it anymore except to share is with people who are still outside the door. What you need to hear instead are the challenges and how-tos of discipleship” (The Gospel for Real Life, 14). 

I would be dead if this misconception were true.