5th April 2019

Let’s Sing to the Lord

“let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.”
Psalm 98:9 (NIV)

The last judgment can strike fear into people, especially if they are they are thinking about a post-apocalyptic world where God wreaks vengeance on the disobedient. Perhaps our perspective of the last judgment will alter when we realise that the judge of the earth is none other than the Saviour of the world who included all of humanity in his death (John 5:22). This judge gave forgiveness, dispensed grace, and condemned sin and death, not humanity (John 3:16-17).

Psalm 98 is known as the Cantate Domino, meaning ‘sing to the Lord’ and calls for a new song due to God’s victory (verse 1). This victory is expressed by the word ‘salvation’ which dominates the opening stanza: “his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.” “The Lord has made his salvation known” (verse 2), “all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (verse 3). This salvation/victory for the entire world is wholly supernatural, a single-handed exploit of the Lord and is grounded in who God is: ‘love’ (verse 3). In response to the ‘marvelous things’ God has done (verse 1) there is a massive summons to praise. The ‘whole earth’ is invited to praise him, bursting into singing, accompanied by music from all types of instruments. Instead of fear there are shouts of joy before the Lord, the King (verses 4-6).

Not to be outdone, all of creation joins in the praise: The seas resound, rivers clap their hands and the mountains sing for joy (verses 7-8). The whole earth now is full of God’s glory. These verses are not just expressive poetry; it makes the point which Paul expounds in Romans 8:21 “that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” Nature will not come into its own until humanity, its proper overseer, is ruled in righteousness and equity. This is what God will do through Jesus: “for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity” (Psalm 98:9).

This is the Christian hope at the Last Judgment. The kingship of Jesus will faithfully administer righteousness and fairness rooted in his love. Because Jesus comes to judge the earth in this way, the world will be fully turned in a new direction and we will sing a new song of joy before the Lord. May God speed that day!

Father, we thank you that you are a God who loves righteousness and equity, and that you have unfailing steadfast love for all of your creation. May we ‘join with all nature in manifold witness to your great faithfulness, mercy and love.’

Study by Barry Robinson

About the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder and part of the National Ministry Team directing Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. He is also a pastoral worker in the South of England, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International Central London
Indian YMCA
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email: london@gracecom.church

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