The Coming Judgment
This is an exposition of Psalm 50:1-23. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, May 1, 2016.
With rare exception these days, we don’t like to talk in terms of “judgment.” The idea of someone being held accountable or responsible is considered by many to be anathema. With the exception of course of “child abuse” or terrorists attacks or those “greedy corporate hotshots! We want to see them “get theirs.” But it seems in other areas – no one is responsible. We are all “victims.” It is never anybody’s fault. Have you noticed that? Even Christians have developed a mindset that believes it is wrong to pass judgment on someone. Yet I will suggest to you that judgment is a major theme throughout the Scripture. It’s New Testament as well as Old Testament. We will give an account. We are responsible.
We love the doctrine of the “priesthood of the believer”. The problem is the biblical doctrine has been perverted into meaning, “I’m free to believe whatever I choose to believe.” It’s just me and my Bible.”
The biblical doctrine of priesthood of the believer is not that I’m free to believe as I wish but rather I am responsible before God. Judgment is dominant theme throughout the Scripture and it is the theme of our text found in Psalm 50.
Text: Psalm 50:1-23
It has long been suggested that the best interpreter of Scripture is Scripture.
By that we mean that often insight into a passage can be found in other passages.
In many respects 1 Peter 4:17 is a commentary on the Psalm that is before us.
“For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
Often when we think of judgment we think immediately of that wicked world “out there.”
We think about how awful it will be for those heathens; those nasty pagans.
We often, wrongfully assume, that as God’s children we have nothing to worry about.
We are too quick to presume upon the grace of God.
This is a fine line between trust in and presumption upon God’s grace.
I’m confident that is part of the message of this Psalm.
Psalm 50 is a Judgment Psalm.
It is courtroom drama at its finest.
But it may leave you a bit uncomfortable with our role in this drama.
We have somehow thought that to be accepted by grace is to be free of responsibility.
Such is not the case.
Careful consideration of this text reminds us that:
Thesis: The fact of God’s grace does not nullify God’s setting in judgment of his people.
As a Father, God still makes demands of his children.
I am responsible for my life.
I am responsible for my obedience before him.
I will give an account some day.
There are four things I want us to note in this Psalm.
- The Sovereign Judge of the whole Earth summons His people to judgment. (50:1-6)
- The Sovereign Judge rebukes his people for substituting empty ritual for genuine worship. (50:7-15)
- The Sovereign Judge condemns the hypocrisy of alleged believers. (50:16-22)
- The Sovereign Judge delights in a grateful heart and a repentant spirit. (50:23)
Being a child of God, accepted by his grace, clothed in the righteousness of Christ is not a free pass to do as you please. Woe to those who presume upon God’s grace. With the privilege of God’s acceptance comes the responsibility to order our lives accordingly. To trust in God’s grace is not to be freed from accountability. To whom much is given, much is expected.