Rejoicing in Our King’s Rejoicing (Psalm 21)

O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices, and in your salvation how greatly he exults!

…For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. —Psalm 21:1, 6

In this psalm, the people of God rejoice in their king’s rejoicing. The people are rejoicing, but they are not singing about their joy, and yet it is their joy. The salvation the king exults in is their salvation. His joy is their joy. When David is saved, the kingdom is saved.

As this is fulfilled in Christ, it speaks to the joy that was set before Christ, for which He endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). This is not simply the eternal and infinite joy that the Son has always had in the Father. This is the joy which follows the Son’s salvation, meaning the deliverance from and destruction of His enemies (Psalm 21:8–13). This the the joy that falls on the incarnate Christ, our King, who acts as our covenant head. When He is “anointed… with the oil of gladness beyond [his] companions,” that oil covers His people who are in union with Him in the Spirit. His salvation is our salvation. His joy is our joy.

In John 17:13 Jesus prays that His joy might be filled in us (cf. John 15:11). Is there any joy like this? Spurgeon comments, “The rejoicing of our risen Lord must, like his agony, be unutterable. If the mountains of his joy rise in proportion to the depth of the valleys of his grief, then his sacred bliss is high as the seventh heaven.” Here we see the highest joy, the infinite God delighting in what is infinitely delightful. But again, we are not seeing the Triune God’s joy as it has always existed, but as it is in the redemption of man. This is no self-contained joy. This is a joy we are invited into.

No Adam, No Christ

We need salvation. How does salvation come to bear upon our need? Racial solidarity in Adam is the pattern according to which salvation is wrought and applied. By Adam sin-condemnation-death, by Christ righteousness-justification-life. A way of thinking that makes us aloof to solidarity with Adam makes us inhabile [not fit or qualified] to the solidarity by which salvation comes. Thus the relevance of the Adamic administration to what is most basic, on the one hand, and most necessary, on the other, in our human situation. —John Murray, The Adamic Administration

The Folly of Fancy Fig Leaves (1 Timothy 6:17–19)

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty…”

The sin addressed here is being haughty, not  being rich. Beware of haughtily rebuking the rich. It’s easy to look down on a person with a big head and a big wallet with a big plank in our own big head because of our thinner wallet (Matthew 7:1–5). But righteousness cannot be measured in correlation to the thickness of wallets. Always more obnoxious than arrogant materialism is arrogant legalism.

The reason we so often revolt against pride isn’t because we think it’s a sin against God, but against us. The reason we don’t like materialistic pride is because we have the same ego, but we can’t pull off the dress, or, at least, we can’t afford it. “Who do they think they are? Do they think they’re me? I’m me, and I’m humble. They’re not me, and they’re arrogant. How dare they.”

Materialistic pride is a sin because it’s against God. It’s an expression that one is finding their identity in money. This is like a grown man finding his identity in a Batman costume. Come back to reality. The young man strutting his stuff down the street because he is something big in some virtual video game world, needs to wake up, as do any who place their identity in wealth.

Our identity is first found in this, we’re made in the image of God. Finding your identity in anything else, save one related thing (see number three below) is finding our identity in something less. Imagine a guy with several wonderful children. His quiver is full of golden arrows (Psalm 127:4–5). “You’re children are so well-behaved and talented.” “Yes, but… but… have you noticed my oil can collection?” Likewise, “You’re made in the image of God.” “Yes, but look at this green! Look at all these pieces of paper with no intrinsic value.”

Second, and more detrimental to our ego, devastatingly so, is that we’re all born legitimate sons of Adam, inheriting his guilt and corruption. It’s because of the first identity marker that this one is so serious. It is because we are made in the image of God that our rebellion is so vile. In Adam, we’re covenant-breakers, law-trespassers, and God-haters. Thus, morally bankrupt, at best,and only by grace, we’re beggars.

Third, for the saints, we are a new creation in Christ. He is our righteousness. In Jesus we’re adopted as sons, fellow heirs with the Prince. Therefore, for a rich Christian to boast over a poor Christian is like once billionaire boasting over another billionaire because he has more Monopoly money. Come back to reality.

Imagine two pilgrims journeying to an eternal kingdom of bliss where they are to both be joint heirs with the prince of that realm. One chap is dressed exquisitely, the other in rags. The richer joe’s nose is upturned during the journey. Finally, though sinfully, the guy in rags responds, “You know, your clothes are so this age—faddish. They’re going out of style because of the prince. That swoosh won’t mean anything there.”

But, if indeed we are joint heirs in Christ, there is no need to respond in sinful, haughty, insecurity. We can rebuke our brother in love, because it’s not about us. The gospel strips all of us of our green fig leaves, and clothes us with the Lamb.

The Dogmatician: Federal Headship in a Paragraph

When a father plunges his family into misery along with himself, or a king his people, or a philosopher his followers, or a boss his workers, we can go back behind these persons and to some extent find some explanation and satisfaction in the solidarity that prevails in humankind as a whole and in its various circles. But in the case of Adam and Christ, we cannot do this. They have the human race not behind them but before them; they do not spring from it but give rise to it; they are not sustained by it but themselves sustain it; they are not the product of humankind, but are, each in his own way, the beginning and root of it, the heads of all humanity. They are not explained by the law of solidarity but explain this law by their own existence. —Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics

The Dogmatician: The Second Adam Is More Intense

The way things go in the case of the sin and death that accrue to us from Adam is identical with the way the righteousness and life that Christ acquired accrue to us. There’s a difference in intensity: Grace is more abundant and life is more powerful, but the manner in which both are imparted to us is just the same. —Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics

1 Corinthians 15:12-28 & If I Don’t Rise, Jesus Didn’t

The Corinthians were affirming Jesus resurrection, but denying their own. Paul says you can’t do this. You would think that you could. Imagine you are about to appear before a judge for sentencing. The judge has the power to pardon at will. Just before you are sentenced the judge’s son, with whom he has no tiff, comes before the judge to be sentenced for the same crime. You reason that if the son is pardoned, there might be a chance for you, but if the son is not pardoned, you haven’t got a prayer. That is how you might expect Paul to relate Jesus’ resurrection and ours. But Paul flips it. Imagine the son is pardoned. It would take some gall to exclaim, “If I’m not pardoned, then your son wasn’t.” That is akin to what Paul is arguing. He isn’t saying, Jesus was resurrected, so there is a chance for you. He is saying that if you don’t burst some sod with a new bod, then Jesus is rotting in a grave.

You might expect Jesus’ resurrection and yours to relate to one another like a tree trunk and branches. In some ways they do. Our resurrection blooms out of His. But Paul says that our resurrection and Jesus’ relate more like a husband and wife than a trunk and branches. If the trunk falls, the branches fall, but if the branches fall you can still have a trunk. But with a marriage, if either party dies, the marriage is dissolved. If Jesus is didn’t rise we won’t. If we don’t rise, Jesus didn’t.

Why is this so? Lets go back to court. When could you say with confidence to the judge who pardoned his son, “If I’m not pardoned, then your son wasn’t?” What if you were tried as a single entity? This is what happened in Christ. Jesus rep work didn’t end on the cross. Jesus didn’t fly solo from the grave; He led a host of captives. Jesus didn’t rise independently. Jesus wasn’t a lonely acorn busting potting soil in some individual’s hobby hothouse. He rose as the firstfruits of a greater harvest of a huge field. His resurrection and yours are part of the same event. Further, Paul says, Jesus is the second Adam. He represents a new humanity. His resurrection was the beginning of new creation. The rest must necessarily follow.

How sure can you be that if your body is under dirt that God will begin cultivating the earth to make it new by ripping you out of her? As sure as you are the Jesus is risen. The degree of faith you have in the risen Christ is to be same measure of faith you are to have in your resurrection. Further, it is the very same faith.