Lesson from Proverbs 2: When Wisdom Mocks

Wisdom cries aloud in the street,

in the public squares she raises her voice;

on the highest walls she calls out,

at the entrance of the gates to the city she makes her speech;

“How long, you gullible, will you love being gullible” –

and mockers delight themselves with mocking;

and fools hate knowledge?

Turn back to my rebuke;

then I will pour forth my thoughts to you,

I will make known to you my sayings.

‘But since I cry out, and you refuse to listen,

and when I stretch out my hand, none gives heed,

and you flout all my counsel,

and to my rebuke you do no consent,

I in turn will laugh when your disaster happens,

I will scoff when your calamity comes –

when your calamity comes like a storm,

and like a whirlwind your disaster arrives,

when distress and anguish come upon you.

Then they will call out to me, but I will not answer;

they will look diligently for me but will not find me,

because they hated knowledge,

and the fear of the LORD they did not choose.

They did not consent to my advice,

They spurned my every rebuke,

so they will eat from the fruit of their way,

and from their schemes they will be filled.

Surely the turning away of the gullible will kill them,

and the complacency of fools will destroy them;

but the one who obeys will dwell in security,

even at ease, without fear of harm.

Proverbs 1:20-33

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The father escalates the grim threat of certain death for all sinners (v. 19) – now referred to as fools – to the awful truth that their death is eternal. There is no third way between wisdom and folly, and there is no second change between life and death.

The setting for Wisdom’s instruction is in the street (v. 20) signifies that this sermon was meant to be heard publicly rather than the standard father-son instruction within the home. Wisdom lifts her voice in the public squares and on the highest walls (v. 20-21), which would be the most advantageous points to be seen and heard in ancient city. Wisdom chooses to stand at the entrance of the gates in order to confront and compel the gullible to make a decision to accept her in order to safeguard them against the fools within the city.

We should also note Wisdom is not dispassionate in her appeal. She cries aloud (v. 20) in order to get a full hearing. She intends that her voice would be heard above the noise of daily life and above the voice of fools within the city. In commenting about this, Kenneth Aitken states

Lady wisdom is no gentle persuader. She shouts, pleads, scolds, reasons, threatens, warns, and even laughs. Pulpit bashing and hell-fire preaching if ever there were! All quite unladylike; and nowadays also quite unfashionable, even frowned upon.

The Call to Repentance

Wisdom begins her sermon with an urgent appeal to the gullible to stop rejecting her and to respond to the stern rebuke she is about to give them. These youths have crossed the threshold into adulthood (with its corresponding responsibilities) and should have made a decisive commitment to Wisdom before this point. Instead of a hear that desires to serve the Lord and retain His revealed wisdom, these youths “love being gullible” (v. 22); in other words, they yearn to remain uncommitted and open to alluring sin. In today’s language, they claim to be “open yet cautious” about the way of wisdom. In truth, their heart is in a state of rebellion. Their guilt is their recalcitrance before legitimate authority and Wisdom pins their guilt to their rebellion against her counsel.

Thus, Lady Wisdom makes her appeal. Although mockers and fools are in a hopeless position, Wisdom calls these youths to repentance. There is still hope for them, but not forever. They must humble themselves and acknowledge that Wisdom is right and they must also acknowledge that they have been in the wrong in nursing their love to be careless and free of her discipline. In response to this repentance, Wisdom will pour forth her thoughts in such a way that they will internalize them and never forget them (v. 23).

The Certainty of Disaster

While wisdom promises blessings for obedience, she also promises consequences for disobedience. Judgment befalls all who ignore Wisdom’s words. First, Wisdom warns the gullible against a progressive hardening in apostasy. If they do not listen, they too may come to hate hear and to mock her, placing them in the same categories as fools and mockers (v. 24-25). Second, Wisdom warns that there is a certainty of catastrophe for all sinners and its finality is pictured as a devastating wind (v. 26). Judgment and calamity will come like a whirlwind and a storm which wreaks havoc. When judgment does come, the gullible will change from complacency and prideful insubordination to extreme terror. The gullible, fools, and mockers will “eat from the fruit of their ways” (v. 31).

Moreover, when the threatened judgment falls, it will be too late to respond. Wisdom does not laugh at disaster, but at the triumph of what is right over what is wrong when disaster does happen. In other words, Wisdom rejoices in turning the present upside-down world right-side up, when wisdom overturns folly, righteousness overcomes wickedness, knowledge overcomes ignorance, humility topples pride, and life swallows up death. Wisdom scoffs when the dreadful disaster of the wicked comes. This laughter expresses the inward joy and disdain that Wisdom experiences over her chief enemy – namely, folly. As Bruce Waltke says,

Truth has a harsh edge and Wisdom does not dull it. Her shock tactics aim to persuade the young to turn to her.

A question that often arises is whether Wisdom’s response to fools at the time of final judgment is a proper response. It should be noted that fools hated true knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord (v. 29). They did not ponder and consider their ways; rather they deliberately chose NOT to walk in the ways of the Lord and sanctioned other lifestyles. Wisdom’s response is valid because this life would be pre-empted of its true dignity if choices made now had no eternal consequences. Fools would be confirmed in treating this life with careless complacency if there were no eternal consequences. Also, those who follow Wisdom would be made to look foolish if the path of folly could be taken without any accountability.

Application

Even if we are not gullible youths, there is much we should consider in this sermon because Wisdom’s sermon reflects on the Scripture’s teaching on final judgment. First, we should note that Wisdom’s saving voice is not at human disposal; it can be forfeited through prior rejection. This is a theme that the prophets repeated proclaimed – do not harden your hearts against the Lord (cf. Hebrews 3:8-15). Second, it should be noted that many people deny the doctrine of final judgment because they do not want to give this life such dignity that current decisions affect an eternal future in a decisive and definitive way.

At the time of the final judgment, sinners will finally recognize that Wisdom possesses the true life and the security they had traded away for a pseudo-life in this world and false security. This false sense of security leads sinners to destruction. Deluded sinners, restricted by their very limited knowledge, foolishly became so wise in their own eyes that they could not see things from the heavenly perspective of God and so utterly misjudged the true situation. Hence, the complacency of fools causes them to fail to take precautions against the inevitable judgment bound up in their folly, and so it will destroy them. This is the warning that we give to all men and women in this world.

However, we also have the promise of the gospel message: the one who listens will dwell in security, even at ease, without fear of harm (v. 33). In Noah’s day, destruction came upon the world except for those who were safely secure within the ark. In the same way, when God brings judgment to this world, only those who have obeyed the gospel will be safe. This is the essence of Paul’s words to the Thessalonians

… when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when he comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed – for our testimony to you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

 

 

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 362

Day 362

Of the Last Judgment.

Chapter 32, Paragraph 1.

“God hath appointed a Day wherein he will judge the world in Righteousness, by Jesus Christ; to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father; in which Day not only the Apostate Angels shall be judged; but likewise all persons that have lived upon the Earth, shall appear before the Tribunal of Christ; to give an account of their Thoughts, Words, and Deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.”

Scripture Lookup

Acts 17:31

John 5:22,27

1 Corinthians 6:3

Jude 6

2 Cor. 5:10

Ecclesiastes 12:14

Matthew 12:36

Romans 14:10,12

Matthew 25:32-46

Reflection

The day is coming when Christ will judge us. The One who has all power and authority will judge every single person who has lived on this earth besides Himself. Humanity will stand before him, not as a group, but individually, each one giving account for his actions, thoughts, and speech. Even the fallen angels will be judged on that day, to receive their just recompense.

For a believer, the thought of judgment by Christ can be apprehensive. We know time and time again that we do not measure up. To have our sin presented before Jesus is a scary thought. Yet we do not have to fear! While we live in this life we are fallen creatures. Christ knows that, and He has bought us for His own. Our sin has been paid for; we have been fully forgiven because of Christ’s work. The same God who forgives you now will not suddenly change His mind on the last day. Christian, do not fear the last judgment, but continue to look to Him for your salvation!

“Yes, Christ saved me,” you may argue. “But won’t we be judged by our works?” It says in this paragraph of the Confession, “…to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.” It is true that only those who have done good works will receive eternal life. But where do those works come from? Earlier on in the Confession it speaks of these good works.: “[Believers’] ability to do good works is not at all of themselves; but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.”(LBCF  6.3) Because they are good they proceed not from us, but from His Spirit. Our works cannot merit eternal life. They have been defiled with imperfection, since they were done in a body that was still corrupt with sin. Instead the works approved by Christ are evidence that those who did such are one of His purchased saints, and He will lose none (John 6:39).

Christian, this life will someday pass away. Until then, continue to look to Christ. “The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” (Psalm 27:1) We can anticipate the last day with hopeful expectation, for He will prove faithful until the end.

Questions to Consider

  • How do you view the last judgment? Are you scared, hopeful, or ambivalent?

 

 

Character Sketch: The Blessed Man

PSALM ONE

In the third century B.C. lived a man named Theophrastus, a man known as a teacher of philosophy. Many of his works survive to this day, one of the most notable being his Characters. In it, he demonstrates the ancient Greek method of describing people by their actions. As he describes the officious man, the grumbler, and the newsmaker, he gives his readers only the actions that one might expect to observe in such a character. This work is considered of great historical significance, because it tells us some of the details of life in ancient Greece that are nowhere else to be found in ancient literature.

The Hebrews were quite different in the way they did character sketches, but they nonetheless did character sketches themselves. Character sketches are scattered throughout the poetic books in the Old Testament. One such instance is that of Psalm One, in which we see the contrast between the blessed (or righteous) man and the wicked. Now, as we will see, unlike the Greeks the Hebrews describe not only the actions of their characters, but they also describe the heart inclinations of their characters. But without further introduction, let’s get into the text where we might discover something of the character of the blessed man:

1How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

2But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

3He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.

4The wicked are not so,

But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish (Psalm 1; NASB).

Character Sketch: The Blessed Man (audio)

The Blessed Man

This notion of the blessed man is a reoccurring theme throughout the book of Psalms. The blessed man takes refuge in the Messiah (2:12), the blessed man confesses his sins and they are forgiven him and in his spirit there is no deceit (32:1ff), the blessed man will inherit the land (37:22), the blessed man has made the Lord his trust and turns neither to the proud nor to those who lapse in falsehood (40:4), and there are so many other characteristics of the blessed man which could be mined from the book of Psalms. Today, however, let us turn our gaze to the characteristics given us in Psalm One.

These characteristics are broken down into two categories: the negative characteristics and the positive characteristics. By negative, I mean that we are told the things from which the blessed man abstains. By positive, I merely mean that we are told what the blessed man enjoys to do.

The Negative Characteristics

1How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

The blessed man does not partake in certain activities. Rather, he is different. He is wholly other. He is set apart. He is being sanctified in the Lord. When the world looks at the man of God (the blessed man), there is a reason why they are turned off, why they see him as strange. It’s not because he necessarily dresses different, or because he abstains from certain activities that are not addressed in the Bible.. It’s certainly not because he goes around speaking in Elizabethan English, makes his wife wear long skirts, and refuses to read any book that is not written by someone within his own theological tradition.

We don’t have to add to the Bible to make ourselves seem strange to the world. Rather, the psalmist is pointing out that, when we make the Bible and the Bible alone our authority for all matters of life and godliness, we necessarily deny the authority structures the world has put in place. We deny their authorities, and that to them is strange.

The Counsel of the Wicked. Walking in the counsel of the wicked here means that one’s ear is inclined to the subtle influences of the society of the world. They have not yet stopped and stood in the way of sinners or sat in the seat of scoffers, but they have begun to be inclined in that direction. They are accepting the counsel of the wicked as authoritative and sound, and they are starting to heed the traditions of man rather than the precepts of the Bible.

We see this in the way that evangelism is talked about in much of modern Evangelicalism. We are told that we must “earn the right” to share the gospel with our friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers, which means that we have to dress like them, think like them, listen to the same music as them, and watch the same programs on TV as them. Otherwise, how can they possibly relate to us? How can we possibly have “earned the right” to share the gospel with them?

Many of the same pastors who would argue that we must “earn the right” to share the gospel with those around us also would argue for a more world-centered approach to worship: an approach that would say, God may not have explicitly told us that impressionistic paintings, and heavy metal performances, and skits, and puppet shows have no place in worship, but he nowhere forbids it. Thus, we can use these things, because that’s what the culture wants. I would submit to you that, when a church takes their cues from the culture rather than the word of God in their evangelism and in their worship services, they have begun to walk in the counsel of the wicked. They have begun to be swayed by the subtle influences of the world, and we ought to have none of it.

The Path of Sinners. The next phase in the regression away from the blessed life is that of standing in the path of sinners. This is the phase in which we have inclined ourselves so long toward the subtle influences of society that they have become commonplace to us, so much so that now we find ourselves in the very path, or way, of sinners. It’s interesting that early Christians referred to themselves as The Way. In Acts 22:4, Paul says that he persecuted this “Way” to the death.

At the end of our own text, the psalmist makes a contrast between the “way” of the righteous and the “way” of the wicked. The word for path here is the same word, so we can deduce that the path of sinners is not merely a road on which the man is obstructing the sinner’s journey. Rather, this “way” is a lifestyle; it is the direction in which one is headed. If we head the counsel, the subtle influences of the wicked, before we know it our lifestyles will begin to reflect what we are taking in. That counsel upon which we meditate regularly will always, ultimately become the authority in our lives and will determine our lifestyles.

The Seat of Scoffers. Well, now we come to the third stage of our threefold regression into wickedness: sitting in the seat of scoffers. Scoffers are those who not only deny God, but they scoff at him and ridicule His people. When we think of scoffers, we often think of men like Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher, but if we are honest, even us as Christians can have a tendency to mock and scoff. We can even be fairly vicious toward one another if we are not careful. If we passively incline our minds toward the subtle influences of this world long enough and make ourselves comfortable with ungodly, abominable lifestyles, before we know it we can begin to scoff at others within our own faith.

I can’t help but think of evangelical pastors who talk openly about disgusting, ungodly things in their pulpits, they seek to look like the world and talk like the world and, before they know it, they are railing against other Christians. They call them religious people. They deride them for not being as worldly as they are, something these pastors apparently think to be more noble, something they think makes their evangelistic ministries more effective. Let us take heed lest we journey down the same path, by walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the path of sinners, and ultimately sitting in the seat of scoffers.

The Positive Characteristics

2But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

Now, you would expect, in a chiastic structure, that the psalmist would contrast this walking, standing, and sitting with a more direct correlation. Perhaps, he might follow this negative description of the blessed man with the positive: but rather he walks in the counsel of the godly, stands in the path of the holy, and sits in the seat of the humble. He doesn’t do that, though, does he?

Delighting in Torah. That’s because this is not a contrast between one group of associations and another, but one authority and another. In verse one, the blessed man is said to have shunned the worldly authority of the wicked around him. In verse two, we see the authority he accepts.. No! We see the authority in which he delights. For the blessed man, the law of God is not some burdensome set of rules and injunctions he has had imposed on him from outside. Rather, it is his delight.

The law mentioned here is the word torah. Many of you will recognized that as the designation most commonly used by Jews to refer to the first five books of the Bible. At the time that the psalmist wrote this psalm (most likely David), it is likely that few other books had been written. Outside of the first five, by the time of David, the Israelites may have already accepted Job, Joshua, and perhaps even Judges as canonical. Regardless, torah was the term which, at that time, was used to designate all of the books of the Bible. Thus, when we see this term being used in the first psalm, we shouldn’t merely relegate it to speaking of the first five books of the Bible. Notice how David sings in Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart” (NASB). In much of the Psalms God’s law, His torah, is closely related to His revealed will. So, we should understand this term as speaking of the entire revealed will of God: the Bible.

Biblical Meditation. What then is the sign that a man delights in this law? The sign that he delights in God’s law is that he meditates on it day and night. Now, this idea of meditation is far different than what we usually think when we think of meditation. Usually, when we think of meditation, we get visions in our head of people sitting with their legs folded, their hands turned upward on their knees in the form of gang signs, and strange noises coming from their throats. In this type of meditation, Eastern meditation, the goal is to clear one’s mind and think of nothing. This is not the notion we’re presented with in Psalm One.

Biblical meditation is a filling of the mind, not an emptying of it. We are to fill our minds with the word of God. We are to chew on it. We are to mutter it. That’s what the word for meditate literally means in the Hebrew. It means to mutter. So throughout the day, our delight is to be found in those times when we can mull over the Scriptures we’ve been reading, studying, and memorizing. As you can see, meditation of Scripture assumes prior work in Scripture. If we are going to digest our food and thus nourish our bodies, we must have first taken in that food through our mouths. In like manner, if we are going to digest Scripture and thus nourish our souls, we must have first taken it in through reading it, studying it, and memorizing it.

Now, the psalmist doesn’t say that the blessed man does this to somehow be justified before God. If we are in Christ, we have our justification secured. However, if we have been washed by the blood of Christ, if we have received justification, if we have been called by the Spirit, regenerated and indwelt by the Spirit, if we have been reconciled to God the Father, a characteristic that will pervade our lives will be a delight in His law. Our delight will be in reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on the word of God, so that we might know His precepts and do them.

The Result

3He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.

The Planted Tree. We’ve looked at the authorities the blessed man denies, and we’ve looked at the authority in which he delights. Now let’s take a look at the type of man he is as a result. The psalmist says that the blessed man is like a tree firmly planted. Notice, he doesn’t say that he is like a wild tree. This tree has been taken from one place and planted in another. This demonstrates that where the tree is, it is not its natural environment. Rather it is an environment which is much more conducive for the tree’s health and vitality.

In the same way, the blessed man has not come to his place of status before God on account of anything within himself. He has been planted. He is what he is by sovereign grace. There is nothing he can claim on the basis of his own merit, but rather he stands on the merits of Christ. He is righteous, but it is not an intrinsic righteousness, but rather it is a righteousness that he has received (2Cor. 5:21).

Roots and Fruit. The streams of water by which this tree is planted point back to the law in which he delights. We as Christians are strengthened and nourished by the law, much like a tree that is planted by streams of water extends its roots toward the waters in order that it might strengthened and nourished by them. As Christians, we too are to be rooted in the Scriptures. We are not only to delight in them, but we are to see them as being as essential to our strength and vitality as water is to a tree.

We are also told that it yields its fruit in its season. Every tree bears different fruit. And every fruit is born in a different season. We are not meant to bear the same fruit in the same season as everyone else. We are not all equal in maturity; we are all different. Some of us need to learn patience. Some of us need to learn gentleness. Some of us need to learn peace and love. These are all fruits of the Spirit, but they don’t all come to us at the same time or in the same way. Rather, we each bear these fruits in our own seasons. As such, we need to bear with one another in our weaknesses, and point one another to the sources of our strength, the word of God, from which flow life-giving water.

Beautiful and Prosperous. The tree is also said to have leaves that do not wither and to prosper in whatever it does. This speaks to the value of the tree to its planter. The tree is beautiful and prosperous. Likewise, we are to be as a fragrant aroma to our God. We are to be an object of beauty and value in His sight. As we grow in our knowledge of and endearment toward his word, we will begin to grow in godliness and Christ-likeness. I find that the analogy of the parent / child relationship is useful here.

I often ask Norah, “What must you do to be my daughter?” She says a wide variety of different things, before I correct her and say, “You don’t need to do anything to be my daughter; you simply are my daughter. Now, what must you do to be God’s daughter?” to which she will often say things like “Obey Him,” or “Be good.” To this, I say, “No. You simply need to be born into His family.”

Brothers and sisters, we have been born into the family of God. We don’t have to do anything more than that. However, just as Norah pleases me when she obeys me, we please God as we grow in Christ-likeness. We don’t grow in the area of justification or union with Christ, but we do grow in sweet communion with our heavenly Father. Yes, brothers and sisters, we can be pleasing to Him, and we should earnestly desire to be pleasing to Him as we grow in the image of Christ. In this sense, we are to be like a beautiful and prosperous tree.

The Wicked

4The wicked are not so,

But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

Dead, Worthless Chaff. Notice, the wicked are not so. Not so the wicked! This introduces a contrast. Now we are looking at a brief sketch of the character of the wicked. They are like chaff which the wind drives away. What is chaff? When farmers in the Old Testament would gather in wheat, it would be accompanied by chaff, a weed that was dead and useless. The wheat farmers would toss the wheat and chaff up into the air with a winnowing fork and the wind would carry away the dead useless chaff, leaving only the wheat which was of value to the farmer.

So we see the contrast. There are two groups of men. We are either like the beautiful, fruitful, prosperous tree, or we are like dead, useless chaff which the wind drives away. Of these wicked men, God says, they are useless. They are like dead men’s bones. They are fickle. They are frail. They will not stand in the day of judgment. On the day of judgment, there will be a great outpouring of the wrath of God upon the whole of mankind. The only think that will save any of us is if Christ has taken upon Himself the wrath that we deserve, and that is what He did on the cross.

The Necessity of the Cross. When Christ died on the cross, He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf. He took the very wrath of God. It is as though, on the day of judgment, God’s wrath will be poured out upon the vast sea of humanity, and only those who stand in the shadow of the cross where Jesus has taken God’s wrath on our behalf, will be shielded from the wrath of the only just and mighty God. We who stand in the righteousness of Christ will be able to stand on the day of judgment. The wicked will not.

On that day, there will be a great separation. There will be two assemblies. The sheep will be separated from the goats. The blessed, or righteous, man will be separated from the wicked man, and the wicked will not be able to stand in the assembly of the righteous. Jesus told a parable to illustrate this: the parable of the wedding feast. After all the guests had been brought into the feast, there was a man found who did not have on the proper wedding garments. Upon his discovery, this man was cast into the outer darkness (Mt. 22:1-14). Brothers and sisters, we must be clothed Christ if we hope to stand in the assembly of the righteous on judgment day.

The Special, Intimate Knowledge of God

6For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish

Now we return to this word “way,” and we are told that the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. The emphasis here is on the knowledge of God. If God “knows” your way, apparently you are good. If He doesn’t know it, you will perish. What does this word “know” mean? Doesn’t God know all things? Can anything be hidden from God?

Special Knowledge

Well of course God knows all things and, as the catechism says, nothing can be hidden from God. The psalmist isn’t referring to God’s omnipotence. Rather, he is talking about God’s special, intimate knowledge. When Adam and Eve conceived and bore a child, it was said of them that Adam knew Eve. That means that he knew her intimately. In much the same way, God draws close to those whom He loves. There is a special love that God has for His people.

Non-Calvinists would say that God loves all people the same. They would prefer that God had a promiscuous, general type of love that extends to all mankind alike, but we know that this is not the way that God operates in the Bible. Yes, He loves all mankind generally in that He causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on both the righteous and the wicked. However, there is a special way in which He loves His elect, His bride.

Just as I am called to love my enemy, but I am not called to love him in the same way that I love my wife and my kids, God loves His enemies, but not in the same way that He loves His bride. From heaven, He came and sought her, His elect bride. In this special, intimate way, God is said to know the way of the righteous.

We Are to Be Known

We ought to also recognize what is not being said here. The psalmist is not saying that the righteous are made righteous on account of their knowledge of God, but rather His knowledge of them. There are many who have a great knowledge about God and His word (e.g. Bart Ehrmann), but will not be able to stand in the judgment. What matters is, have you been known by God in this special, intimate way? Have you been sovereignly born from above? Let us here heed the warning of Jesus when He said:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Mt. 7:21-23; NASB).

We must be known by the Lord. Are you known by Him? Do you abstain from the counsel of the wicked, the path of sinners, and the seat of the scoffers? Do you delight in His law and meditate on it day and night? Are you like a beautiful, fruitful, and prosperous tree planted by streams of living water, or are you like dry, dead, and useless chaff? Will you stand in the day of judgment, Christ having taken upon Himself your sins and the wrath of God which you deserve? Have you been born again? Does God know you in a special, intimate way? These are the questions we ought to ask ourselves in response to our study today. I pray that God blesses each of you as you consider and apply these truths to your own lives.

Catechism for Boys and Girls, Part Six: Last Things

Visit the Catechism for Boys and Girls page to read the entire catechism as it is posted.

 

Q.137: Did Christ remain in the tomb after his crucifixion?

A. No. He rose from the tomb on the third day after his death.

( Luke 24:45-47; 1Corinthians 15:3-4 )

 

Q.138: Where is Christ now?

A. Christ is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father.

( Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 10:12; 12:2 )

 

Q.139: Will Christ come again?

A. Yes. At the last day he will come to judge the world.

( Matthew 25:31-43; 2Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2Timothy 4:1 )

 

Q.140: What happens to men when they die?

A. The body returns to dust, and the soul goes to be with God or to a place of suffering and waiting for judgement.

( Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 12:7; 2Corinthians 5:1-6; Hebrews 12:22,23; Philippians 1:23; 2Peter 2:9; Romans 2:5 )

 

Q.141: Will the bodies of the dead be raised to life again?

A. Yes. ‘There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.’

( Act 24:14-15; John 5:28-29; Daniel 12:2 )

 

Q.142: What will happen to the wicked in the day of judgment?

A. They shall be cast into hell.

( Psalm 9:16-17; Luke 12:5; Revelation 20:12-15 )

 

Q.143: What is hell?

A. Hell is a place of dreadful and endless punishment.

( Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-31 )

 

Q.144: What will happen to the righteous in the day of judgement?

A. They shall live with Christ for ever, in a new heaven and a new earth.

( Isaiah 66:22; 1Thessalonians 4;16-17; 2Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1-4 )

 

Q.145: In light of these truths, what should you do?

A. I should strive with all my energy to repent of sin and believe savingly in the Lord Jesus Christ.

( Luke 13:23-24; John 6:27; Acts 16:31 )

LBCF of 1677/1689 – Chapter Thirty-Two, Of the Last Judgment

1. God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ; to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father; in which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon the earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.
Acts 17:31; John 5:22, 27; 1 Corinthians 6:3; Jude 6; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:10, 12; Matthew 25:32-46 )

2. The end of God’s appointing this day, is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice, in the eternal damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient; for then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fulness of joy and glory with everlasting rewards, in the presence of the Lord; but the wicked, who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast aside into everlasting torments, and punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
Romans 9:22, 23; Matthew 25:21, 34; 2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:48; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 )

3. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin, and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity, so will he have the day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come, and may ever be prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus; come quickly. Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:10, 11; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-40; Revelation 22:20 )

The Baptist Catechism – Questions 78-89, The Second Table of the Moral Law (Part Two)

Q.78: Which is the eighth commandment?

A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.

( Exodus 20:15 )

 

Q.79: What is required in the eighth commandment?

A. The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.

( Genesis 30:30; 47:14, 20; Exodus 23:4-5; Leviticus 25:35; Deuteronomy 22:1-5; 1Timothy 5:8 )

 

Q.80: What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?

A. The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbor’s wealth or outward estate.

( Proverbs 21:17; 23:20-21; 28:19; Ephesians 4:28; 1Timothy 5:8 )

 

Q.81: Which is the ninth commandment?

A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

( Exodus 20:16 )

 

Q.82: What is required in the ninth commandment?

A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness bearing.

( Proverbs 14:5, 25; Zechariah 8:16; 3John 12 )

 

Q.83: What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?

A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbor’s good name.

( Leviticus 19:16; 1Samuel 17:28; Psalm 15:3 )

 

Q.84: Which is the tenth commandment?

A. The tenth commandment is Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.

( Exodus 20:17 )

 

Q.85: What is required in the tenth commandment?

A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.

( Job 31:29; Romans 12:15; 1Corinthians 13:4, 7; 1Timothy 1:5; 6:6; Hebrews 13:5 )

 

Q.86: What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?

A. The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbor, and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.

( Deuteronomy 5:21; 1Kings 21:4; Esther 5:13; Romans 7:7-8; 1Corinthians 10:10; Galatians 5:26; James 3:14, 16 )

 

Q.87: Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?

A. No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed.

( Genesis 6:5; 8:21; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:9-21; Galatians 5:17; James 3:2-13; 1John 1:8, 10 )

 

Q.88: Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?

A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

( Psalm 78:17, 32, 56; Ezekiel 8:6, 13, 15; 1John  5:16 )

 

Q.89: What doth every sin deserve?

A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life and that which is to come?

( Lamentations 3:39; Matthew 25:41; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 5:6; Galatians 3:10 )

The Baptist Catechism – Questions 42-43, The Punishment of the Wicked

Q.42: But what shall be done to the wicked at their death?

A. The souls of the wicked shall, at their death, be cast into the torments of hell, and their bodies lie in their graves, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.

( Luke 16:23-24; Acts 1:25; Jude 7; 1Peter 3:19; Psalm 49:14 )

 

Q.43: What shall be done to the wicked, at the Day of Judgment?

A. At the Day of Judgment the bodies of the wicked, being raised out of their graves, shall be sentenced, together with their souls, to unspeakable torments with the devil and his angels for ever.

( John 5:28-29; Matthew 25:41, 46; 2Thessalonians 1:8-9 )

A Working Definition of Evangelism

With a view toward making disciples and covenanting them to a local church, where they will be baptized in the name of the Triune God and taught to obey all that Christ commanded, evangelism is the articulation of the holiness of God, the sin of man and its wages, Christ’s accomplishment of redemption through His incarnation, perfect life, death, burial, and resurrection on behalf of sinners, and the proper response of sinners: repentance from sin toward God, and faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.