Indeed, now that Christ has taken upon Himself the curse of the law for us, the great dread of the commandments has been removed. We are now entirely free to obey out of love and delight, rather than out of fearing the consequences. We no longer look at the commandments as if they were an impossibly steep mountain to climb; instead, we now see them as the loving rules of our Father.
for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
Psalm 119:47 ESV
As is common to stanza waw, this verse is a continuation of the previous verse, in which the psalmist declared that he would speak of the testimonies of God before kings without shame. Of course, that verse too was rooted particularly in verses 44–45, where he declared his resolve to keep God’s commands. Now the psalmist unveils why he will devote his life to keeping God’s commandments and unashamedly speak God’s Word before kings: for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.
Delight is nothing new to this psalm, for the psalmist has already expressed his delight in the testimonies of God and in the path of God’s commandments, and the writer still has more to say on the topic! The theme of delight is recurrent in Psalm 119 for good reason.
You Might also like
By Steven Lawson — 1 month ago
Every step of heart-prompted obedience leads to experiencing abundant life in Christ. Conversely, every step of disobedience takes us away from the joy of divine goodness. Far from being optional, grace-fueled obedience is absolutely necessary for Christlikeness. Is there any need to pray about whether or not to obey God’s Word? You just need to obey.
Can you imagine a Christian couple actually praying about living together before marriage? Can you fathom a young woman who professes Christ even bothering to pray about whether she should marry an unbeliever? Can you grasp a Christian businessman having to pray about whether he should tell the truth in a transaction? When the Word of God is so clear, praying to discern God’s will becomes a convenient excuse—or even a prolonged filibuster—to avoid doing what Scripture commands.
Many who profess Christ today emphasize a wrong view of grace that makes it a free pass to do whatever they please. Tragically, they have convinced themselves that the Christian life can be lived without any binding obligation to the moral law of God. In this hyper-grace distortion, the need for obedience has been neutered. The commandments of God are no longer in the driver’s seat of Christian living, but have been relegated to the backseat, if not the trunk—like a spare tire—to be used only in case of an emergency. With such a spirit of antinomianism, what needs to be reinforced again is the necessity of obedience.
For all true followers of Christ, obedience is never peripheral. At the heart of what it means to be a disciple of our Lord is living in loving devotion to God. But if such love is real, the acid test is obedience. Jesus maintained, “If you love me,you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Genuine love for Christ will always manifest itself in obedience.
This does not mean that a Christian can ascend to sinless perfection. This will never be realized this side of glory. Neither does it imply that a believer will never disobey God again. Isolated acts of disobedience will still occur. But the new birth does give a new heart that desires to obey the Word. In regeneration, God says:
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezek. 36:26–27)
By Larry Ball — 2 months ago
Christians do not need to adopt the Neo-Marxist theory of race as a social construct in order to do battle against the CRT of Neo-Marxism. It is better to recognize the truth that distinct races do exist in objective reality, and that good and bad attributes become characteristics of races as a result of the religion that dominates them. This includes both black and white.
After reading a number of books on Critical Race Theory (CRT) by evangelical and reformed authors, I have become convinced that sometimes good men get it wrong. Some of the writers I respect the most are saying that the existence of distinct human races is not real. It is just a social construct.
What is a social construct? It is a convention adopted by society that has no basis in objective reality. For example, Peter Pan is a social construct. We all know who he is, but he is not real. He exists in the mind for entertainment purposes. A dollar bill is a social construct. It only has value because society has given it value. In reality, it is only paper and ink.
Social constructs are usually identified with Neo-Marxist thinking. For example, Neo-Marxists say that binary sexual identification is not real. The concept of sex that separates humans into male and female is a social construct. They push the concept that, in reality, there are a multitude of sexes (they prefer the term gender). As another example, the traditional family is a social construct. The idea of a male and female parent with children is a convention created by society to oppress other legitimate families like those who have two males as parents.
I am hearing from my respected brethren that race is not a biblical term, and therefore the concept of race does not exist. At the same time, these same men will say that there is only one race, and that is the human race. The human race includes all of us because we all come from the same Adam. There is no difference between us other than the degree of melanin (pigment) in the skin.
It seems rather contradictory to me to assert that the concept of race is not real, but then to turn around and use the term race to describe all of the descendants of Adam. There are no races, but yet, there is one race.
It is true that the Bible does not use the word race in any English translation. More common terms are nation, tribe, clan, and peoples. However, the Bible does not use the term “banana” either, but that does not mean it is wrong to use the word banana. Historically, mankind has been divided into races. Three prominent races are whites, blacks, and Asians (with variations in-between). They have differed in more than pigmentation of the skin. They have been associated with not only the color of the skin, but with the texture of the hair, the shape of the eyes, and even in physical speed and agility. If you have ever watched a college NCAA basketball game, you will see what I mean. I don’t believe that speaking this way is racist. It may be more racist to avoid reality and to say that all athletes are the same in ability whether white or black. We need to learn to be honest.
Race has been associated with the word nations or peoples who have a common geographical boundary, a common language, and a common religion. This is certainly not necessarily true of our experience here in the United States, but our nation is a rather new experiment in societies, and it appears to be disintegrating rather quickly. The United States was once a Christian nation, and this common religion provided a basis for the unity of the various races among us. We have changed religions and therefore we no longer have any basis for peace. A nation without a common religion will not long endure, just as a nation without a geographical border or a common language will not long endure.
Now, although we all do descend from Adam, and we all are sinners needing a Savior, we do still exist as distinct races (who probably have more in common than not). Jeremiah identified the Ethiopian as a man who could not change the color of his skin (12:23). Just as important as noting the color of his skin, the prophet noted that the man was an Ethiopian (Cushite) who probably lived south of Egypt, and who could be identified with a nation that had geographical boundaries, a separate language, and a separate religion. In the New Testament the Ethiopian eunuch became a Christian, which certainly teaches us that the gospel came as a blessing for all nations and races.
The Book of Revelation speaks of the New Jerusalem as being a dwelling place for the nations and the kings of the earth (21:24). Nations will not disappear, even in the very presence of God himself. All the distinct nations along with their kings shall be one in Christ.
God allowed various distinctions to develop among the descendants of Adam. God loves diversity in colors, flowers, fruits, the two sexes, and even races. However, absent from most discussions today about race is the fact that nations (and often the distinct races that define them) will always adopt a particular religion. This religion will have the major impact on the character that nation. For example, while our white American forefathers were writing the very complicated United States Constitution, blacks in Africa, who were sold as slaves by blacks to white Europeans and Americans, could not read or write. Why? The grace of God! Christianity conquered the continent of Europe and not Africa.
Christians do not need to adopt the Neo-Marxist theory of race as a social construct in order to do battle against the CRT of Neo-Marxism. It is better to recognize the truth that distinct races do exist in objective reality, and that good and bad attributes become characteristics of races as a result of the religion that dominates them. This includes both black and white. Most of the average guys that I know in the pew think that this “Neo-Marxist social construct invention” is nonsensical. There is nothing to be gained by denying the obvious.
Larry E. Ball is a retired minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is now a CPA. He lives in Kingsport, Tennessee.
By T. M. Suffield — 4 days ago
Written by T. M. Suffield |
Sunday, December 5, 2021
When life is grossly awful, scream to the heavens about it. Read the Psalms and pray them. Read Habakkuk. It is good to think that our tears help us taste Christ, and to acknowledge that right now those with heavier burdens than yours may taste Christ more sweetly than you can. It is hellish to lionise suffering. All our tears are passing away (Revelation 21), and Christ makes bitter water sweet (2 Kings 4).
In Psalm 81 we are confronted with a strange phrase:
But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.
Honey from the rock? Honey doesn’t come from rocks, I think we’d all be happy to confirm. There’s a moment of surprise here, of confusion, that we shouldn’t gloss over quickly.
It seems to be a reference to the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32) where we have honey ‘out of’ the rock. Which appears to be an oblique reference to manna, the desert flakes that were like honey and found laid upon rocks and sand.
It doesn’t take that much work to find out that honey can be found in rocks, and that the wild honey that John the Baptist (Mark 1) fed himself on would the kind made by bees that swarm around cracks in rocks in the wilderness rather than made in the hives as we would be more familiar with.
But our initial surprise at the phrase is the right reaction, because finding wild honey in a rock is an act of delight—not simply a food of survival but a food of delight. To say that God gifts us honey from the rock is say that he gifts sweetness in surprising places and not simply in a land of abundance.
We might also draw a connection to Christ, as the sweet one whose very sweetness come to us from the cross—which we should probably do via Samson’s find of honey in a Lion’s carcass (Judges 14) and the language of the Song of Songs.
All of this got me thinking about salted caramel.
Because, well, it tastes good. But there’s this thing which has been well known in higher end dessert kitchens for some time—a little salt draws out the sweetness, a lot of salt suppresses it.
It is the same in our lives, is it not? A little suffering, the saltwater of your tears painted on your cheeks, increases the sweetness of what God offers us. I think this a general truth, you cannot know the sweetness of knowing Jesus in any real way if your life has been characterised by ease.
You can make your own judgements about yourself, there is no judgement here from me.