Bo Knows Due to the popularity of American football and baseball in the good ole USA, there is effectively no argument among gen-Xers that Bo Jackson was the greatest athlete to ever live. If you grew in the 80s and 90s, you saw his legendary feats. I say legendary because the things Bo Jackson did truly […]
Do you know that feeling when you start to tell someone about the Lord and you realize they do not already know Him? Do you get a pit in your stomach sometimes—a warning not to go there? Our natural response to difficulty is sometimes “flight.” Telling your neighbor that God will not only judge him or her but that God is right to do so can be frightening! It is no wonder we fail so many times in our evangelism—it is truly counter to our flesh’s desires for comfort!
Jesus Reigns! Psalm 96 is like a lot of passages of the Bible—this chapter isn’t simply written about a single topic. Psalm 96 references our need to sing to the Lord Jesus Christ (Psalm 96:1-2), evangelize the nations (Psalm 96:2-3), fear the Lord (Psalm 96:4), recognize Him as Creator and everything else as an idol […]
Splendor and Majesty The word splendor conjures the idea of beauty and of grandeur. Our God isn’t only comely; He is altogether lovely (Song of Solomon 5:16). In his Treasury of David, Spurgeon wrote regarding the honour and majesty of Yahweh: Men can but mimic these things; their pompous pageants are but the pretence of greatness. Honour and […]
Last week, I covered Psalm 96:5 and the idea that the idols of our world are worthless. Brother Luke Walker (I’ve reviewed his books here) has splendidly communicated more fully what we need to understand concerning our use of the world’s goods in his post, A good kind of shame. Here is his post in its entirety. I […]
Declare For those of you who know me, Psalm 96:3 is an obvious verse that I would find refreshing. I am an evangelist and preacher and declaring Christ to the nations has been my endeavor for more than a decade. The theme of Psalm 96 is that God has done so much for the Israelites […]
In part 1 of this series, I challenged anyone reading this to commit to memorizing Psalm 96. I hope if you have not started that endeavor you will start now. If you want my recommended smartphone app for Bible memory: here is a 20% discount code for it. Psalm 96 is an interesting song because […]
Jesus, the lamb of God, became sin for His people that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus was the lamb who never strayed from the pasture, yet he took on the penalty deserved by foolish and rebellious sheep. Jesus is the lost sheep when he is suffering the penalty for our sins. Jesus is the one who cries to God to be sought after in this state. And Jesus is the one who never forgot God’s commands.
Pray Like Jesus Psalms 119:169 Taw Let my cry come before you, O Yahweh; give me understanding according to your word! As we begin to close the longest chapter of the Bible, we might be tempted to think that God has already said everything that can be said. We must put away any thought that […]
It has been said that there are two religions in the world: the religion of grace and the religion of works. A distinguishing characteristic of the religion of works is that somehow the good deeds a man does are what pleases his deity. This is true whether that religion sees man as inherently good or as innately sinful. Since this is an affront to the gospel of grace, our Scriptures go to great lengths to destroy any hope men can have to save themselves by proclaiming the gospel of grace (Romans 3:24,25; Ephesians 2:8, 9). But wicked men will always twist good religion to their own ends and many a man has proclaimed the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ apart from works as a license to sin.
One of the ways God helps us to walk in his ways while we strive to imitate Christ is by granting us awareness of His immanence. Nothing can be hidden from the anthropomorphic eyes of God. For the heathen, this truth is blatantly denied as they fancy themselves into thinking they will escape judgment. It’s not always because men think they are good that they shall escape judgment, but sometimes it is that they think no one knows of their crimes. The child of God whose heart has been quickened earnestly desires obedience to God’s precepts and adherence to God’s testimonies, yet he or she still finds it difficult to obey. The spirit and flesh are opposed to each other and the battle rages, and sometimes the flesh wins.
Christianity is thought of by many as the “religion of niceness.” Whoever came up with that idea knows very little of the scripture. Yes, Christians are called to be kind and should be known by their kindness and meekness. But too often we mistake kindness for fake-virtues like “never disagreeing with anyone,” and “never hating anything or anyone.” But as David speaks here, so does the Christ, “I hate and abhor falsehood.” Jesus Christ is the Truth and falsehood is a lie. Thus it is fitting that we should hate the opposite (falsehood) of that which we love (Christ). God chooses more than one word here to denote His holy hatred for lying. God personally hates lying and morally detests it.
We vomit spoiled food almost instantaneously, not because we think about it and decide we should expel it, but because our bodies are naturally designed to protect us. We have a *”gag reflex” for a reason, and it prevents things from getting deep inside us before we have time to realize all the effects. Similarly, our Christian conscience and convictions, bathed in the Word and Law of God, are capable of causing a natural aversion to sin and evil before we’ve even had time to consider it. We are disgusted by the ideas of lying, stealing, vandalism, gossip, slander, sexual immorality, rape, orgies, homosexual acts and desires, drunkness, hypocrisy, envy, sorcery, and faithlessness. A Christian who is growing in holiness and separation from worldly lusts will find themselves more quickly disgusted when they encounter rampant wickedness and filth as they walk their path in this world (James 1:21).
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the entire Bible. It’s longer than several entire books. I imagine that due to our propensity to read to the end of the chapter, a good number of people read Psalm 119 in one sitting when they get to it in their Bible reading plan. While there is […]
It is easy to be anxious in this world. We are surrounded by difficulty even when we are not being chased down by evildoers. A Christian’s comfort must begin with God. And the only way we can find comfort is with a God who is near to us. Other religions brag of completely transcendent gods. Some religions have gods who are so much like us that it’s impossible to discern what makes them gods in the first place. But our God, the God of Heaven and Earth, is near to us. He is omnipresent so we always have access to Him through Jesus Christ who shed his blood for us then rose again and ascended into Heaven. There is no place we can go to avoid His presence (as if we’d want to!).
The promise we have received is no different, but we have received more revelation. We meditate on the aspects of that promise which are already fulfilled: that Jesus Christ has come into the world. He was born of the virgin, conceived without the stain of sin by the Holy Spirit, and was perfectly righteous before the Father in every respect, although He was tempted by Satan (Hebrew 4:15). He was delivered to death and suffered the wrath of almighty God for sinners, (Isaiah 53:11), was buried, and on the third day rose from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). THIS is what we meditate upon, and all its implications: that we are wretched sinners, that Christ is a kind and gracious and all-sufficient savior, and that only by grace through faith can salvation be accomplished (among others)!
First, we note the extent and duration of God’s righteousness. It is righteous forever. There is no other being of whom that can be said. God is eternal and unchanging. Thus, His righteousness is forever righteous. What a comfort to know that our God will not change and will forever be righteous. Secondly, we note the quality of God’s righteousness. His righteousness is righteous. While this seems obvious, it bears remarking that God describes our righteousness in very different terms. Isaiah 64:6 reminds us that “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” God’s righteousness is contrasted with ours in that His righteousness is eternal and unblemished righteousness. There is no stain on God’s righteousness and it isn’t pushed about by winds of change. Praise Him!
In Romans 10:2-4, Paul criticizes the Israelites for having a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. It is not that they didn’t know who God is or that they worshipped the wrong God. No, Paul’s admonition is that the Israelites knew God, but didn’t comprehend His righteousness. Thus, they didn’t submit to it, nor were they grasping their need for Christ’s righteousness to cover them. But the Israelites could not blame the psalmist. For centuries before the incarnation, Psalm 119 was telling the people of God’s righteousness and His faithful promise. Thus, the psalmist is consumed with his own zeal for God’s righteous testimonies. He is consumed with zeal for God’s faithful promise as a contrast to the ignorance of his enemies.
God justifies us by grace through faith alone, and that faith is followed by good works (Ephesians 2:10). God doesn’t just forgive sinners and leave them in their sin; He promises them help along the way (Proverbs 3:6). That is his promise to us. God provides us with new affections and desires. But in our unredeemed flesh, we still must wage war with sin. Confessing our weakness, we ought to pray with the psalmist “let no iniquity get dominion over me!” It is good and right to plan on not sinning, but we humbly request God to be the power that enables us to walk in newness of life. A healthy fear of the power of sin is essential to avoid it. It is those who think they stand who are in most danger of falling (1 Corinthians 10:12). Humbly acknowledge your need for His grace today.
God is glorified by His giving of more and more grace. It magnifies God’s benevolence and kindness in the eyes of creatures when He expresses pity on them and blesses them with still more grace. Oh, how many Christians will go to Heaven and only realize there that there was more grace available in this life had they only asked. God will never run out and you can never exhaust His grace! Too often we don’t ask for more grace because we don’t feel we deserve it.
We never deserve it. That’s why we call it grace. It is not earned. It’s granted by a good and merciful Savior.
Thus, David begins the end of this octet with the proclamation that God’s precepts are right. All of them! And thus it follows that every other way is false and therefore worthy of disposal. It is not enough for the Christian to say “I believe what I believe but I won’t judge someone else for their beliefs.” This is as hateful as letting a child play with a fork near an outlet or walk through a parking lot with his or her hand unheld. When you love someone, you do what you can to protect them while they are weak, teach them how to protect themselves so they’ll grow, and warn them of the very real dangers they are ignorant of.