Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Psalm 98 Making Known God's Salvation

KEY TEXT: Psalms 98:2-3 The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

KEY THOT: The two words “salvation” and “righteousness” are closely inter-linked. The psalmist declares that the Lord “has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations” (v.2). One sees here the Hebrew poetic parallelism where the second verse repeats and reinforces the idea in the first verse, but expressed differently. So, here we have two parallel concepts: God's salvation and God's righteousness. It’s quite clear that the psalmist is saying that God’s revelation of his salvation and revelation of his righteousness are one and the same. Therefore, the antithesis of salvation and righteousness would be destruction and sin. Positively, the revelation of his righteousness has meant “steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel” (v.4). But negatively, the revelation of his righteousness will also mean judgment for the nations: “He will judge the world with righteousness, and his people with equity.” The revelation of God’s salvation is a double-edged sword: it saves but it also destroys: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

We must always keep this dual aspects of salvation in balance, otherwise we are not proclaiming God's righteousness but our own platitudes. The revelation of God's Son as righteousness for us means salvation for those who believe and condemnation for those who don't: "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18). In a PC (Politically-Correct) world, such assertion would be deemed bigotry. But in God's PC (Perfectly-Correct) world, this is Gospel--the salvation of God comes through the revelation of God's righteousness in Jesus Christ alone, not based on our own righteousness. For those who are perishing, this is folly and bigotry. But for us who believe, this is the power of God.

Even as we receive God’s righteousness as our own by faith on account of what Christ has done for us, we are to make known his righteousness "in the sight of the nations” (v. 2) and "to the ends of the earth" (v.3). Our praise and worship must not be confined within the churches for believers only but also to be proclaimed to the unchurched both inside and outside the church walls. Worship is for God; but worship is also for the nations so that they may hear of our praise of God's great works. Worship is not just for our private praise; it’s also for public proclamation. May we not separate what God has joined together. “Worship” and “missions” are meant to be joined as one so that as the church praise God for his steadfast love and faithfulness, it may also proclaim this righteousness to the listening and watching world. 

Our worship needs to be missional so our praise of God may become our proclamation of the Gospel.

Father, You have called us to make known Your salvation to the nations so that they may know Your salvation. Help us find ways to proclaim Your praise among the nations. Amen.

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