GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 6.22.23

onthly memory verse: “We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin” (Rom 6:6-7).

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,

I have been praying for you this week as I look forward to gathering together again soon to worship the Lord.  In particular, my prayer as of late has been that, as we go through our days, each of us would constantly remember who sits on the throne reigning over every person and nation, conquering with HIs gospel as He calls every nation to bend the knee before Him.  It is something on which I was blessed to meditate as I recently read through Psalm 47 as a whole, and then chased cross-reference after cross-reference, starting with verse 7 and making my way all over the Bible, and I have been praying that the grand reality presented therein would be an encouragement and source of strength to you as well.

Psalm 47 as a whole, and verse 7 in particular, reminds us that, regardless of how things may appear at any given time, the Lord alone reigns over all the earth.  In the words of the sons of Korah, “God is king of all the earth” (Ps 47:7).  It is a present reality that will one day be fully manifest throughout the entirety of the world.  Just before this declaration, in verse 5, we read, “God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.”  Looking back to a  type of greater things to come, it calls to mind the Israelites bringing the ark of the Lord to give it a resting place in the land (cf. 2 Sam 6:15).  The ark, which represented the glorious presence of God in the midst of His people, would finally have a home, as the temple was soon to be constructed.  The glory of the Lord would fill the temple, signifying His dwelling among His people in holiness and reigning over them as King, having conquered their enemies and given them a land of their own, such that many nations came and sought peace with David and his son Solomon.  But this was just a foreshadowing of far greater things to come, when the Son of God would rise from the dead, having conquered Satan, sin, and death, and ascend into heaven to be stated at the right hand of God the Father, having been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  From there, to this day, the Son of David who is also truly God calls all nations to come and bow before Him.  He sends forth His Word and Spirit, piercing many of His enemies’ hearts and causing people from many nations to turn to Him in repentance and faith.  This very day, He reigns, going forth in power, conquering and to conquer.  And yet, even this isn’t yet the consummation of His kingdom.  On the glorious day of the Lord to come, the Lord Jesus Christ will return as He went, on the clouds in glory, to judge the rebellious and to be glorified in HIs saints.  On that day, He will take to His throne, and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  He will execute justice and establish perfect righteousness in the world, and all will with one accord declare of Him, “God is king of all the earth” (Ps 47:7).  Yes, as Zechariah foretold, the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and His name one” (Zech 14:9).  It is inevitable, because He never fails to bring to pass what He has declared He will do.

Thus, the people of God should be a courageous and persistently optimistic people.  The nations at large and many powerful people in our own land may boast loudly against the Lord and His people.  The wicked may lay claim to heaven while their tongues strut through the earth, foaming forth shame and declaring that the Lord either doesn’t see or doesn’t care, and certainly won’t do anything about it.  They may act as if they were the sovereign ones, able to enforce their will on whomever they wish.  They may even seem to attain to a degree of success.  But, for all of this, they remain less than dust on the scales in the Lord’s eyes.  They remain His creatures, designed and directed by His sovereign hand for His purpose in doing good to HIs people and bringing glory to Himself, even as He demonstrates His hatred of and fury against the wicked.  And, all the while, it remains unwaveringly true that, “God is king of all the earth” (Ps 47:7).  Therefore, just as He has promised, His gospel will go forth, being preached in every nation under heaven.  Nothing can stop Him from bringing it to pass; certainly not the foolish plotting and arrogant scheming of unbelieving dust-men.  More than that, disciples will be made in every nation, as He brings to pass the sure word He spoke, saying He will build His church, such that not even the gates of hell can prevail against it.  And this means that, though we see much evil in our country and throughout the world today, we, who have been united to Christ who sits on the throne, should be an immovably courageous and continually optimistic people.  Nothing happens but by His sovereign hand.  Nothing happens that changes His determined purpose to cause His gospel to speed ahead into all the world.  Therefore, His gospel will go forth, His church will be built, His people will be preserved and purified in the faith, and He will come in HIs perfect time to set all things forever right at last.  It cannot fail to be because His Word never fails.  It cannot be overthrown by any power in heaven above, on the earth, or in hell below, because He is the Almighty One, the King of all the earth, to whom every creature must ultimately bow.

Therefore, let’s not lose hope or grow weary of doing good and proclaiming the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord.  Let’s not allow an evil culture and its agenda determine our mindset as the church, the people of the Great King, citizens of the kingdom of heaven.  However loudly evil men may shout and threaten, let’ remember that the One whose voice is like thunder and the sound of rushing waters has already spoken and declared that the throne and the victory belong to Him.  Let’s think, with confident assurance, of the glorious end to come.  Let’s remember that our King’s promises are not only for the future, but concern the triumph of His gospel and church in the present.  And therefore, let’s be a courageous and hopeful people.  Let’s go about doing good and sharing the gospel that is God’s power for salvation, trusting that, even now He is working out in all the earth the victory He secured at the cross, and that, soon enough, that victory will be evident to the ends of the earth when He comes and the glory of our King fills the earth as the waters the sea.  Let’s not forget, nor hesitate to declare today what all will know on that great day, that, “God is king of all the earth” (Ps 47:7).

In Christ,

Pastor Eric