Sycamore Presbyterian Church Friday Men’s Bible Study Psalm 73 (see notes)
Question 7. How does knowing about the work of Jesus Christ make it even easier for us (a) to understand the idea of a God who seems to sleep through the world’s storm of injustice (v. 20), and (b) to know that God will never let us go or forsake us (vv. 23-24)?
(a) We learn from Christ’s work a number of things. First, because our faith is a historical faith, we can look back with assurance upon a completed work (“it is finished”). The most important article of this justification is the resurrection of Jesus, which we affirm not because of verbal tradition, but because of written correspondence. This correspondence had two compelling features: the number of witnesses exceeded that required by biblical law (see here, especially point 2), and the fact that the doctrine of the resurrection which is kind of falsifiable (one would have to prove all Scriptural accounts of the resurrection to have been falsified.) No other religion (and by “other religion,” I mean, something other than the Christian faith, and so therefore “false religion”) features both the historical anchor and falsifiability. This is not enough, of course, to convert a man. The Holy Spirit’s action is the necessary and sufficient condition for this (but He may use knowledge of either Christian feature, or of others, as means.) Because of this, we can rely on Christ’s promises as He has revealed them to us in Scripture.
Second, we know that Christ told us not in so many words that he did not promise us a rose garden (see here, here, for two quick examples.) The rollback of injustice in the world will continue until His promises are fulfilled. Until that day, which may lie far into the future, we will witness the ongoing “mopping up” operation of Christ’s war against unbelief, injustice, and sin. Which, incidentally, is victoriously and relentlessly grinding His opponents into powder. Despite this, this operation will at different times and places look ugly. So, now, relying on His word, we can have confidence that the continued presence of imperfection in this world is not evidence of the failure of the gospel. It is only evidence that the gospel was needed in the first place. To those who believe that God is sleeping through the storm of the world’s injustice, God has given us this psalm.
(b) Because of this first element of the answer in (a), we know we can rely on the reassurances of Christ in His word about us not only as His bride (i.e., collectively as His church), but also as individuals. Jesus comforts His people again and again. There is no doubt that, no matter what one’s view of global eschatology (dispensational premil, historic premil, amil, postmil), a Christian’s individual eschatology is secure. No major orthodox sect of the Christian religion (primitive, ancient, orthodox, Roman catholic, Protestant) has ever wavered on this doctrine. It is among the surest doctrines available to us in the Bible.
I trust that I have answered Rev. Keller’s main point in (b), as he uses the first person plural, but did not mention the church. For that reason I focused on the individual. This does not mean that Jesus does not also have churches and nations in view; it only means that this was the sense in which I took his question.
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