Showing posts with label Christ in the Psalms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christ in the Psalms. Show all posts

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Christ is the Meaning of the Law

Earlier in Psalm 19, we saw Christ as the meaning of the stars and also wonderfully portrayed by the sun. As we continue in this psalm, we discover that Christ is the meaning of the Law of Moses, which is to say, we understand the Law through him. All the Law and Prophets, he said, are about him. In the Sermon on the Mount he made it very clear that he did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them. He is the perfect revelation of God’s purpose in them. If we want to know what they are about, or ever were, we have only to look to the Lord Jesus.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.
(Psalm 19:7-9)
Christ is God’s ultimate word to the world, the perfect expression of God’s being. He is the Good Shepherd who “refreshes” or “converts” (KJV) our souls, turning us back to the path of what is right and true and loving. His teaching is a sure and trustworthy foundation upon which the wise may build their house. His ways are straight and true and lead us to joy. He is the very radiance of God’s glory, giving us light by which we may see God. He is the personification of pure love and awe toward God, doing only what pleases the Father. His law is summed up in this commandment: Love one another.
They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
(Psalm 19:10-11)
There is nothing in this world that can satisfy our desires like Christ — indeed, none can satisfy us except Christ, who made us and gave himself for our sake. And there is nothing sweeter in life than to know him. He shows us the paths and the pitfalls so that we may come to know the blessing and peace of God in this life and in the ages to come.
But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.
(Psalm 19:12-13)
Through the cross of Christ, divine forgiveness has been revealed and the power of sin broken. God’s purpose is to conform us to the image and likeness of Christ, transforming us by the power of the Holy Spirit and the renewing of our minds by Christ. In this way he delivers us from the faults and inclinations of which are we are unware as well as the sins we know all too well.

As the writer brings this psalm to an end, so I close echoing the same prayer: May these words and this meditation be pleasing in your sight, Lord Jesus, my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Christ is the Meaning of the Sun
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.
(Psalm 19:4-6)
The theme of Psalm 19 is the revelation of Christ in the heavens and in the “law” (or “instruction”) of the Lord. For Christ is the creator of the cosmos, and all the Law and Prophets, which is to say all the Old Testament scriptures, are about him.

God has “pitched a tent for the sun.” Through Christ, he has created the heavens and the skies that surround the earth, and indeed, all that is. Christ is the Sun. The sun portrays him before our eyes. Just as the sun is always present in the sky, so Christ is always present in the world. For all things are created in him, through him and for him, and are sustained by him. The psalm writer describes the sun as a bridegroom coming out of his marriage chamber and as a mighty champion who gladly runs the course for his people.

Christ is the Bridegroom, lavishing his love upon his people and preparing them as his holy bride. The bride is the Church, “the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). This is, Paul says, a profound mystery.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church — for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:25-32)
Christ is also the Champion for his people, pouring himself out willingly for our sake so that, through him, we are more than conquerors. And there is nothing that can separate us from this great love.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:31-37)
As the sun traces its path across the sky from east to west, giving its light and heat to all the earth, so also Christ rules over the world and gives light to all, penetrating every corner of darkness. This is the testimony of the New Testament: “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5). “The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8).

Christ is the true light, and the meaning of the sun. The sun is but one means by which his light is made present in the world. It is an icon of his glory. Christ is the reality, the light that was from before the beginning, and the light that will remain when all things come to their fulfillment in him. As Isaiah the prophet said, so also John the Revelator:
The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. (Isaiah 60:19-20)

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp ... There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 21:23; 22:5)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Christ is the Meaning of the Cosmos

Star. Photo by Tom Hall
The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
(Psalm 19:1-4)
The whole cosmos bears witness. The depths of space describe the glory of God. The skies demonstrate his workmanship. Every day they speak to us, every night they bring revelation. But here is a paradox: They have no speech, no sound, no word — yet they have a voice that is heard everywhere and a language understood all over the world.

They speak to us about God. Paul says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20). More precisely, they speak to us about Christ. That is how Paul understands this psalm when he quotes from it in Romans 10:18. The revelation of Christ begins in the cosmos.

All the Law and the Prophets are about Jesus, and that is how the New Testament writers and the early Church understood the Old Testament. So creation speaks to us of Christ, for it is he who is the creator of all: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3). “In him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16).

The heavens and the earth always bear a fresh testimony to Christ, for he is not only the creator of all things, he is ever sustaining them. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3).

The testimony of the heavens does not reduce down to data points or arguments for the apologist’s toolkit. The cosmos is always speaking to us about Christ. More than that, it is always revealing the glory of God through Christ, always presenting him before our eyes and our understanding, always manifesting his presence throughout all creation by his sustaining power. Christ is the meaning of the cosmos.