Predestination and Man’s Distorted View of Freedom

“Predestining us for adoption through Jesus Christ into Him, according to the pleasure of His will,” (Ephesians 1:5) Predestination is one of those words that often causes people to recoil. The funny thing is that the Bible uses the term six times in the New Testament, so somewhere along the way, people need to wrestle… Read More

The Unnecessary Member

In many biology textbooks, especially older ones, they speak about “vestigial organs.” The belief was that, as the human body “evolved,” there were left behind remains of previous stages of evolution and we are thus chock full of parts that are no longer needed. Examples if parts that are or were considered vestigial are things… Read More

Love of God in Christ

“Blessed is God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; blessing us with every spiritual heavenly blessing in Christ, just as he elected us in Him before the foundation of the cosmos to be holy and blameless before Him in love.” (Ephesians 1:3-4) The last clause in these verses is one that might go… Read More

Elected to Holiness

“Blessed is God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; blessing us with every spiritual heavenly blessing in Christ, just as he elected us in Him before the foundation of the cosmos to be holy and blameless before Him in love.” (Ephesians 1:3-4) It is worthwhile to dwell on this notion that God has… Read More

Thanksgiving and Ordering our Way

“You shall understand this, ones who forget God, lest I tear you and there be nothing to deliver: he glorifies me who makes a sacrifice of thanksgiving and who orders his way; I will show him the salvation of God. (Psalm 50:22-23) It comes across as a broken record, but lest we forget the significance… Read More

What do You do with Sin in the Church?

“If you see a thief, you are accepting of him and you have a portion with adulterers. You address your mouth to evil and your tongue joins in deceit. You sit to speak against your brother and your mother’s son you slander.” (Psalm 50:18-20) Remember once again, God is not rebuking the pagan unbeliever here,… Read More

Reciting the Catechism

“Yet, to the wicked, God says, ‘What is it to you to recite my statutes or to take up my covenant on your lips? For you hate training and you throw away my words after you.” (Psalm 50:16-17) When you remember that God is speaking to his covenant people, these words ought to make you… Read More

A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

“Do I eat the flesh of the mighty? Do I drink the blood of goats? Sacrifice to God thanksgiving and make peace with the Most High with your vows. Call to me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you and you shall honor me.” (Psalm 50:13-15) And thus, the desire of God… Read More

Sacrifices Acceptable to God

“It is not over your sacrifices that I reprove you; your offerings are before me continually. I will not take a bull from your house or from the folds of your goats. For all of the animals of the forest belong to me along with the beasts on a thousand mountains. I know all of… Read More

Judgment, Justification, and a Witness against Us

“Listen to me, my people, and I will speak — Israel, and I will witness against you; I am God, your God.” (Psalm 50:7) The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:33: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” Indeed! Who can do so? Only God himself! And this is exactly what we find God… Read More

The Heavens Announce God’s Righteousness

“The heavens announce His righteousness — for God, He is the judge! Selah!” (Psalm 50:6) As the courtroom scene develops, the heavens now find themselves in a double roll. Not only are they contending with the people of God as a witness to man’s wickedness, but now they stand as a kind of bailiff, announcing… Read More

The Judgment Seat of Christ

“Harvest to me my godly ones; ones who cut a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psalm 50:5) One thing that many Christians misunderstand is the idea of judgment. And here, I am not speaking about the judgment of the ungodly under God’s wrath, but even of the believer. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:10… Read More

The Testimony of Heaven and Earth

“He calls to the heavens from above and to the earth to contend with his people.” (Psalm 50:4) The structure of this passage is much like that of a court case. And though God is always true and none can contend against him, as he is just, he follows his own rules and guidelines. Indeed,… Read More

Our God is a Consuming Fire

“Our God comes; he is not deaf! Fire devours that which is before him. All around him there is a mighty whirlwind.” (Psalm 50:3) What you read here are words of power and might — words that are designed to instill awe in us and to inspire us to worship. How often worship is self-centered… Read More

Perfect in Beauty

“From Zion, from that which is made perfect in beauty, God shines forth.” (Psalm 50:2) The majority of translations render this a little more idiomatically, “From Zion, the perfection of beauty…” and such is a perfectly legitimate way to render the phrase מִכְלַל־יֹפִי (miklal-yopiy). Clearly the psalmist is praising God and celebrating the place of… Read More

God’s Preaching

“A Psalm of Asaph.  God, the Great God, Yahweh! He commands and proclaims to the earth from the rising sun unto its setting.” (Psalm 50:1) What an amazing beginning to this psalm. Literally it reads: אֵל אֱלֹהִים יהוח (El, Elohim, Yahweh) — three names of God, each getting more specific as it leads to the… Read More

Why Would God Send Anyone to Hell?

This is one of those questions that tends to come up a lot in conversations with people in the community around me, even amongst professing Christians. When it is raised, it is not typically meant as an exegetical argument that challenges the Christian doctrine of justice, but it is a question that comes from a… Read More

Worship and Wrath: Are they mutually exclusive?

As a child, I grew up singing old hymns of the faith — Isaac Watts, Fanny Crosby, Charles Wesley, and the like. Even today, many of these hymns are deeply ingrained in me. Then, somewhere in my early twenties, praise music became all the rage in the church I attended. And so, I was introduced… Read More

Unity, Busyness, Tolerance, and Compromise: Not Synonymous

One of the attributes of the church, toward which we are called to strive, is unity. Indeed, how “good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1) and how important it is that we strive to maintain the “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” that must exist within… Read More

My Land or God’s Land?

“And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Sons of Ammon, saying, ‘What do you have against me? For you are coming to me and fighting in my land.” (Judges 11:12) You will notice how relationships have now changed in the eyes of Jephthah. Before he was an alien toward the land of Gilead… Read More

Good Confidence

In the original German edition of the catechism, the phrase here speaks of having guter zuversicht, it speaks of a good “confidence,” a good “trust,” or a good “faith” in our faithful God and Father. But what does it mean to have a “good confidence” or a “guter zuversicht” in God?  Confidence refers to the… Read More

Thankful in Times of Prosperity

You might be tempted to think that being thankful in times of prosperity is a given — an easy thing for believer and non-believer alike. You might be tempted to think that thankfulness during good times is quite natural. But, were this the case, the authors of Heidelberg would never have needed to ground faithfulness… Read More

The Elders, Force, and Bad Decisions

“And it came to pass in several days time that the Sons of Ammon fought with Israel. And as the Sons of Ammon fought with Israel, the Elders of Gilead went to take Jephthah from the land of Tob.” (Judges 11:4-5) And thus, the thing predicted took place: The Ammonites wage war in Gilead and… Read More