2007-04-07 - Christ is to Rule
Psalm 96:10-14, Say among the nations, "The Lord reigns." The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in truth.
Verse 10: "Say among the nations." We are told to make a proclamation. We are told to tell the news, in all the nations, that the Lord reigns, a new kingdom has been established. It is a kingdom that is established in eternity, and it is done so in Jesus Christ. I would like to pose a question for consideration. Since this prophetic verse has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, how many kingdoms have come and gone? There is no way to answer this, but to simply say, "A lot." A kingdom comes, and a kingdom falls, but the kingdom of Jesus Christ, established by the sacrifice of Himself for sin, and confirmed in His resurrection, goes on and on. The Lord does truly reign. We are all witness of that today. It's capital is in heaven. It is a kingdom that exists within every other kingdom. It is firmly established. Let us not forget the last part of the verse, "He will judge the peoples with equity," but we save looking into that, for right now.
Verses 11, 12: What is the result of this fact that the Lord reigns? It is quite amazing. All of creation celebrates. The heavens rejoice, and the earth is glad. The work of redemption makes the whole of creation express joy. The gospel of salvation brings joy to the creation, according to these verses, but it also brings joy to mankind. We are told in Acts 8:8, when the gospel came to Samaria, that "There was great joy in that city." The good news of redemption in Christ brings joy. It brings joy to the created order, because sin, death, and hell have been defeated in Christ. It brings joy to us because, in Christ, there is offered forgiveness for all transgressions, freely given, to all who come to Christ in faith. The Lord reigns. The resurrection is the confirmation of this truth. We who rest in Christ alone for all our hope and trust for the forgiveness of sin, should celebrate and rejoice also.
Verse 13: The coming of Jesus Christ brings two things. He redeems us, and then he glorifies us. We are now in the time of grace, when free grace, and forgiveness is offered to all who repent of their sin and rest in Christ. This is the first thing that is brought in by the resurrection of Christ. There will come a day when the day of grace will be past. A day when "He comes to judge the earth." This is the day when Christ's glory will be known and seen, but this is not the day that these verses primarily speak about. These verses are concerned more with the first coming of Christ in redemption. His day of glory will come. It will come unexpectedly, 2 Peter 3:4-10.
These verses seem to speak more of the first coming of Christ than of the second, future coming of Christ. In these verses we do learn a few helpful things, and I would like to quickly touch on some of them here.
First, the kingdom of God is established in Christ. He is, even now, over all things. He carries out His government of the world in righteousness and truth (verse 13). This means that for both those who are the friends of God and those who are His adversaries, they are all treated with wisdom. There is no injury in His treatment of anyone in His kingdom. He judges "the people in his truth."
Secondly, we see in verses 11 and 12 that all true joy is joy that is established in Christ. There are many things that people rejoice in, but lasting joy, solid pleasure, and golden bliss can only be found in Jesus Christ. Is it any wonder that so many people are unhappy today? Look around you, and simply look at the expressions and mannerisms of people on a day-in, day-out basis, and I think you will agree with me that there is little joy to be seen. Anyone trying to go through life outside of forgiveness of sin in Jesus Christ may have isolated moments of joy, but cannot live their lives with the enduring principle of joy and happiness. Real joy, permanent peace can only be found in Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, let us return to verse 10. Wherever Christ is spoken of, let Him be spoken of as He is, as King, as ruler over His kingdom. In all matters, Christ is to rule. He is to rule in our hearts, and in the practice of our lives. To all those who come to Him by faith, He has granted freedom from sin and escape from eternal death. It is because of this that those who follow Him live differently. Those who have been saved from their sins show that they are under new ownership. They no longer live for themselves, but submit to the rule of Christ, in a loving response to Him for the love that He has shown them in granting them mercy. It is true that the Lord reigns. He reigns in this world. He reigns in all of creation. Let it also be true, and evident, that the Lord reigns in the hearts and lives of all those who claim to have sought forgiveness of sin through His atonement for sin.
Soli Deo Gloria,