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It is impossible for a true Christian to deny the perfect justice and holiness of God. The doctrine of God’s justice has fallen out of favor, to be sure. Contemporary evangelicals are notoriously squishy on the doctrine of hell or are altogether embarrassed at the Bible doctrine that God will judge the wicked. Our passage today will not let us escape this truth. We see God prescribes severe punishment for those who break his Law. The truth of God’s justice may make us uncomfortable, but a confession of its truth is bound up closely with the doctrine of our salvation. That is, every true believer has to come to terms with the sobering truth that Jesus Christ will be their Judge and that they justly deserve to be punished to eternal hell for their sins. The beauty of Christ’s grace is that God’s wrath against us for our sins is satisfied in the blood of Christ, the righteous Son of God. When we believe in Christ and his shed blood and resurrection, we are transformed into those who glory in the righteousness of God. Christ has satisfied God’s righteous demands (which, when believing in Christ, we confess are just against us). This glorifies God’s justice. Also Christ’s righteousness, being upon us and wherein we are saved, glorifies God’s justice, for this is the beautiful robe that defines us. The glorious imputation of the righteousness of the Son of God upon us glorifies God’s righteous justice. So our great salvation, graciously received in Christ, makes us a people who delight in God’s justice and holiness. It makes us a people who can say with Psa 7:17: I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
In our prayer service this Lord’s Day, we will consider the prayer of Paul for the Ephesians again. We’ll be singing the hymn “From Heav’n O Praise the LORD” (Red 192).
The sermon this Sunday continues looking at Exodus 21. Last week we considered the laws concerning slaves and saw how God regards the poor and lowly. He wants his people, in their treatment of their own slaves, to imitate his own regard for them when they were slaves. This week, we consider the laws about murder and assault. Here he shows his people that they are to have a high regard for life, just as he did when he saved them from the oppressive and murderous Pharaoh.
Call to Worship: Psalm 7:17
Hymn 297 [Gray] Ye Servants of God, Your Master Proclaim
Congregational Reading: Psalm 7:6-11
Doxology: Gloria Patri, Red 436
Hymn 167 [Red] Lord, from the Depths to Thee I Cried
Hymn 189 [Red] The Eyes of All upon Thee Wait
Scripture Reading: Psalm 13 & Revelation 15
Hymn 282 [Red] The Son of God Goes Forth to War This hymn calls us to imitate Christ in his suffering. In Exodus 21, God wants his people to imitate him in his kindness toward lowly slaves and protection of life. Just as Israel was to imitate their Redeemer, we are to imitate ours. Our imitation of Christ takes place on several levels. We have the mind of Christ. We love sacrificially like Christ loved us. As this hymn reminds us, we suffer like Christ did: The Son of God goes forth to war, a kingly crown to gain; His blood-red banner streams afar! Who follows in His train? Who best can drink His cup of woe, triumphant over pain, who patient bears his cross below, He follows in His train. May we, like the apostles and martyrs who preceded us, take up our cross and follow Christ.
Sermon: Slaves, Murder, & The Covenant II from Exodus 21:1-32
Hymn 88 [Red] Be Gracious unto Me, O God
In Sunday School, I will be teaching the third segment on Spiritual Growth, the first of two parts dealing with the role of the Word of God in our sanctification into Christlikeness. In preparation, read chapter 2 of Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines.