The Coming Reign of the Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

Behold the islands with their kings,
And Europe her best tribute brings;
From north to south the princes meet,
To pay their homage at His feet.

There Persia, glorious to behold,
There India shines in eastern gold;
And barb’rous nations at His word
Submit, and bow, and own their Lord.

To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And praises throng to crown His head;
His Name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.

People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His Name.

Blessings abound wherever He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blessed.

Where He displays His healing power,
Death and the curse are known no more:
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost.

Let every creature rise and bring
Peculiar honors to our King;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen!

Great God, whose universal sway
The known and unknown worlds obey,
Now give the kingdom to Thy Son,
Extend His power, exalt His throne.

The scepter well becomes His hands;
All Heav’n submits to His commands;
His justice shall avenge the poor,
And pride and rage prevail no more.

With power He vindicates the just,
And treads th’oppressor in the dust:
His worship and His fear shall last
Till hours, and years, and time be past.

As rain on meadows newly mown,
So shall He send his influence down:
His grace on fainting souls distills,
Like heav’nly dew on thirsty hills.

The heathen lands, that lie beneath
The shades of overspreading death,
Revive at His first dawning light;
And deserts blossom at the sight.

The saints shall flourish in His days,
Dressed in the robes of joy and praise;
Peace, like a river, from His throne
Shall flow to nations yet unknown.

–Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

The Unifying Theme of the Bible

While catching up on some reading (you will soon see from the date of the journal I’m reading how far I’m behind) I read a great paragraph briefly surveying how God is glorified in human history:

What struck me about [Alva] McClain and [Rolland] McCune’s model (they are similar enough to be treated as a unity) was the fact that personal redemption did not receive pride of place at the center. I rarely heard the storyline of the Bible referenced as “redemptive history” in seminary (this would be too narrow); instead the Bible was read as a kind of doxological history: God was garnering self-glory through a complex of interrelated but more-or-less sovereign spheres. The pistic/redemptive sphere was surely one of those spheres, but it was by no means the only such sphere. God also received glory through non-redemptive civil structures (Gen 9:1–6; much of the Mosaic Law; Rom 13:1–7; etc.), marital/family structures (Gen 2:24–25; Song of Solomon; etc.), providence and common grace (Esther, Jonah, et al.), angelic activity (Ps 103:20–21; 148:1–6), the reprobation of the irredeemable (Ps 76:10; Rom 9:22; Phil 2:11) and, significantly for this review, a complex of natural/scientific blessings associated with man’s dominion over the physical earth (Gen 1:26–30 and the land motif that unfolds through Scripture). While the individual blessings of unconditional election and vicarious atonement were amazing in scope, I learned, these should never be so magnified as to eclipse or cancel out the multiplex of other, more common means whereby God in Christ was bringing glory to himself. Being thusly liberated from my Platonic cave, I embraced this remarkable theory of everything (Mark A. Snoeberger, DBSJ 17 [2012] p. 100).

This was followed up by a quote from another theologian:

The covenant theologian in practice makes this purpose salvation and the dispensationalist says the purpose is broader than that, namely, the glory of God. To the dispensationalist the soteriological or saving program of God is not the only program but one means God is using in the total program of glorifying Himself. Scripture is not man-centered as though salvation were its main theme, but it is God-centered because His glory is the center. The Bible itself clearly teaches that salvation, important and wonderful as it is, is not an end in itself but is rather a means to the end of glorifying God (Eph 1:6. 12, 14). Charles Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, 1965, p. 46.

One of the great things here was I read this in a book review! Too often I get to the “book review” section in a journal and go on autopilot. Lesson learned.

O Blessed God! How Kind

O blessed God! how kind
Are all Thy ways to me,
Whose dark benighted mind
Was enmity with Thee.
Yet now, subdued by sov’reign grace,
My spirit longs for Thine embrace.

How precious are Thy thoughts
That o’er my spirit roll!
They swell beyond my faults,
And captivate my soul:
How great the sum, how high they rise,
Can ne’er be known beneath the skies.

Preserved by Jesus, when
My feet made haste to hell!
And there should I have gone,
But Thou dost all things well:
Thy love was great, Thy mercy free,
Which from the pit delivered me.

A monument of grace,
A sinner saved by blood,
The streams of love I trace
Up to the Fountain, God,
And in His sov’reign counsels see
Eternal tho’ts of love to me.
John Kent, 1766-1843

Sanctification and The Great Commission

Excellent thoughts here: The Obedience of the Gospel.

Too often acronyms cause more harm than good. Recognizing this, I have taught an acronym to the people I’ve been privileged to pastor over the last 14 years to help them with the basic points of the gospel message:

Master-God is our Creator and Lord through whom we live and before whom we will be judged
Outlaw-We are sinners against God, are guilty before Him, and deserve His wrath
Savior-Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ the God-man
Escape-Sinners must turn from (repent)  of sin and self-righteousness and rely (trust, believe) on Christ alone for salvation from sin’s power and penalty
Sanctification-Genuine faith is demonstrated as the believer grows more like Christ and less like the world through the Spirit’s help and personal discipline

I was encouraged by Mark’s post.

Ezekiel 9

In Ezekiel 9 the prophet saw a vision where Jerusalem was slaughtered because of their great wickedness.

God commissioned an angel to mark any in Jerusalem who had remorse and regret over the sins taking place in the city (vv. 4-6). Those bearing this mark would be delivered from judgment. Only one man, Ezekiel, was spared; all the rest were slaughtered (vv. 7-9).

In response to Ezekiel’s mourning over this great destruction, the Lord showed him how the people were totally given over to sin and fully committed to it (v. 9).

As I meditated on this chapter, I considered my response to sin–not only my sin, but others’ sin. Do I “sigh and groan”? Am I saddened by it? Do I mourn? Or am I indifferent or worse yet, laugh at and with it, essentially approving it?

One of sin’s great dangers and effects is how it hardens and callouses the heart. Sins once avoided are embraced and championed. God is nowhere in people’s thoughts (cf. Pss 10:4, 11, 13; 94:7 [note this entire psalm]).

How could this happen in your life?

One area where I applied this is in what I entertain and amuse myself with (for example, various media such as books, radio, internet, videos, etc.). I must ask myself, “will this callous my heart toward sin by being entertained by it, or will this encourage me to have a greater consciousness of God?”

What–who–is controlling my life, my sin nature or the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:16-24)? Am I growing more like Christ and less like the world through the Spirit’s help and personal discipline?

When Your Church Changes, What Do You Do?

This article provides some helpful counsel. I appreciated this point:

 Large churches can provide many resources (thank the Lord for the large churches that remain faithful), but the strength of the church at large is in the number of faithful small churches that are committed to Biblical disciple making in community after community across the country.

Sin Has a Thousand Treach’rous Arts

Sin has a thousand treach’rous arts
To practise on the mind;
With flatt’ring looks she tempts our hearts,
But leaves a sting behind.

With names of virtue she deceives
The aged and the young;
And while the heedless wretch believes,
She makes his fetters strong.

She pleads for all the joys she brings,
And gives a fair pretence;
But cheats the soul of heav’nly things,
And chains it down to sense.

So on a tree divinely fair
Grew the forbidden food;
Our mother took the poison there,
And tainted all her blood.

–Isaac Watts (1674-1748)