Put on Love – H. Hoeksema

col3-14Put on, therefore…

Holy and beloved, elect of God, above all put on love.

How strange an exhortation. …How utterly impossible it appears to heed it.

…this love of God was not poured out in their hearts as one pours water into a dead and earthen vessel that is utterly passive and in no way affected by the contents it receives; but as conscious and rational and willing children of God they tasted this love of God. They became co-workers of God, his imitators. God’s eternal purpose of love became their purpose by his grace. They will to love God and to walk before him unblameably in love, to manifest themselves in the light of love, that he may be glorified. And this manifestation of the love of God that is in their hearts, this walking in love in the midst of the world, in every relationship of life, is the putting on of love.

Put on, therefore!

Yes, put it on as a garment, but as a garment that is but the outward manifestation of the love of God that was realized in your hearts. Put it on in the word of your mouth, in the look of your eye, in the work of your hand, in the direction of your foot. Put it on in your thinking and willing, in your every desire, and in the expression of them all in your whole life, individually, in the midst of the brethren, in the midst of the world.

Through the power of his marvelous grace, let this love dominate all the manifestation of your life as a co-worker with God.

Communion_with_God-HHTaken from the meditation “Put on Love” (based on Colossians 3:14) in the collection of meditations Communion With God (Reformed Spirituality series, volume 2) by Herman Hoeksema, edited by David J. Engelsma (RFPA, 2011), 327-29.

Rhythms of Piety – Jon D. Payne on the Importance of the Weekly Sabbath

It should be no surprise, then, that God designed the Christian life to possess rhythms of piety. These rhythms of piety include the weekly cadence of the Lord’s Day, as well as regular (even daily) times of private and family devotion (Westminster Confession of Faith 21.6).

The Lord’s Day has fallen on hard times. We need to recover the day that God Himself established to be a spiritual blessing to His church—a weekly occurrence of rest from our ordinary activities for the purpose of God-centered worship, renewal, and fellowship (Gen. 2:1–3; Ex. 20:8–11; Mark 2:27). Our loving heavenly Father set apart an entire day of the week for us to cease from our hectic schedules, to “be still, and know that [He is] God,” and to abide in Christ through the soul-nourishing means of grace (Ps. 46:10; Acts 2:42; WCF 21.5).

The weekly observance of the Sabbath— especially in the gathering of the church for morning and evening worship—is intended to be a primary rhythm of Christian discipleship in order that our faith might grow and mature (Ps. 92:1–2). It’s no wonder that Matthew Henry wrote, “The streams of religion run deep or shallow, according as the banks of the Sabbath are kept up or neglected.”

The rhythms of piety are not limited to the Lord’s Day, however. We also seek God during the week through regular Bible reading and prayer. A consistent rhythm of private and family devotions, in addition to weekly Lord’s Day observance, helps to foster a consistent and growing walk with the Lord (Deut. 6:7–9; Ps. 63; Mark 1:35; Eph. 6:4).

To neglect these rhythms of piety can leave one vulnerable to the attacks of Satan, the seductive temptations of the world, and the sinful wanderings of our own hearts. The disciplines of grace are means by which we daily put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10–20).

Dear Christian believer, perhaps it’s time to renew your commitment to the rhythms of piety.

Drawn from the weekend Tabletalk devotional for Oct.20-21 (cf. link below). After describing how God has designed and built the “beautiful and instructive rhythms of nature” into the creation, Dr. J. Payne writes about the “rhythms of piety” God has also designed and built into the Christian life.

Good food for thought as we begin this new week and seek ” a consistent and growing walk with the Lord.” Fellow believers, shall we renew our commitment to God’s “rhythms of piety”?

Source: Rhythms of Piety – October 2018

Reading for Virtue’s Sake: A Conversation with Karen Swallow Prior and Joshua Gibbs | Public Discourse

The authors of two new books on reading agree: reading good literature well is not only enjoyable, it is also a veritable school of virtue. The pleasure to be gained by reading well is a skill that, like virtue itself, is achieved through practice.

Such is the brief description of this instructive interview with authors Karen Swallow Prior and Joshua Gibbs. Both present an interesting perspective on the power and purpose of good reading, by which we also mean reading good literature, books that teach universal virtues and, of course, book that teach distinctively Christian virtues.

We post a portion of the interview here; there is plenty more to read and digest in the rest of it. Follow the link below for that.

David Kern: Both of your books are about the ways literature can cultivate virtue in readers, so I have been thinking about the extent to which a teacher should explicitly state that the books she is teaching have been chosen for that end. Should a teacher directly tell her students that she is teaching, say, Persuasion, because of its capacity to make readers virtuous? Or should she let the book do its work secretly, if you will?

Joshua Gibbs: I think it depends on the audience. When I read my little girls The Velveteen Rabbit or Frog and Toad Are Friends, I don’t tell them that I want these books to help them develop virtue. Similarly, on the rare occasion that I teach a room full of adults, I don’t often lay all my cards on the table and say, “All right, people, let’s learn to be good.”

High school students are a little different, though, because they are more apt to believe that the value of a book depends on its being entertaining, enjoyable, thrilling, funny. If a lit teacher passes out copies of Augustine’s Confessions to high school sophomores and pretends the book is going to be a page-turner, he is deceiving his students. If you give a high school student a book that is difficult and dull (when compared with, say, The Maze Runner), you need to explain why these qualities should not turn them off from reading it. “When the book is difficult to read, the book is doing its work on you.” Acknowledge that the difficulty comes from the moral gauntlet the book throws down. A book suited to virtue often requires multiple readings, although exciting books generally do not. That is what makes them exciting. But explaining that a book is hard to read (yet worth reading) will usually lead to a discussion of virtue.

What you do not want is for high school students to believe that adults find Augustine’s Confessions as enjoyable to read as they find The Maze Runner, and that once you’re forty, Augustine is downright titillating.

Karen Swallow Prior: When I teach general education courses in English, the students are usually first- or second-year students who are not majoring in English. I like to begin these classes with something that I refer to as the biblical basis for the study of literature. I’ve found that students, especially Christian students, are so utilitarian and pragmatic in their worldviews that describing the sheer goodness of literary study helps them overcome barriers to reading literature and reading it well that they don’t even realize they have. I cover over a dozen points in this lecture, and only one of them addresses virtue directly. In other words, there are many, many reasons to read good literature (particularly for the Christian), including the joy of it. Yet all of these reasons contribute to cultivating virtue in the reader who reads well.

How do you respond to these initial thoughts about reading and virtue? Would you consider this a goal of your own reading? What type of books are going to help you accomplish this goal?

Source: Reading for Virtue’s Sake: A Conversation with Karen Swallow Prior and Joshua Gibbs | Public Discourse

Young Men, Be Strong! ~ Rev. Josh Engelsma

sb-logo-rfpaThe latest issue of the Standard Bearer includes the next installment of Rev. Josh Engelsma’s series on biblical manhood, penned under the rubric “Strength of Youth.” While he intends to write on biblical womanhood too, pastor Engelsma is addressing young men first, because that too is biblical. To men God gives the position of headship and the charge of leadership in marriage, the family, and the church. So men – young men too – bear the responsibility to grasp this position and to grow in leadership.

This particular article focuses on the calling to “be strong.” And by that Rev. Engelsma means in the sense of Eph.6:10 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Listen as he explains what this strength is:

When you think about what it means to be a mature man, one of the things that probably comes to mind is his strength. Generally speaking, men are physically stronger than women. If the woman is the “weaker vessel” (1 Pet. 3:7), this implies that the man is the stronger vessel.

Especially is it the case with young men that they are characterized by strength. When I was a teenager it was not uncommon for me to work all day in the scorching heat of the summer and then after work spend the entire evening running up and down the basketball court. The point is not to make you think that I was so strong (I wasn’t), but rather to illustrate the point that young men in general are strong.

The Bible speaks of young men in the same way. Proverbs 20:29 says, “The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.” We read in 1 John 2:14, “…I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong…” And in Isaiah 40:30, when it describes our dependence upon Almighty God, it speaks of young men as the epitome of earthly strength: “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall.”

But when the Bible speaks of the strength of youth, it does not have in mind merely muscles. After all, God “taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man” (Ps. 147:10, a verse oft repeated to a sports-crazed young man by a wise grandmother).

Rather, the Word of God has in mind spiritual strength. This is evident from the rest of 1 John 2:14 when it says to young men, “… because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” What ought to characterize mature Christian men, and young men in particular, is that they are strong spiritually.

He then goes to define what this spiritual strength is, and does so from a specific point of view, that of saving faith. After explaining what this faith looks like, he begins to make application, pointing out this practical truth:

It seems almost paradoxical, but the reality is that spiritual strength is found in acknowledging that you are weak. The proud man, the one who imagines himself to be strong, falls. The humble man, the one who knows he is weak and depends entirely on Christ for strength, stands. “When I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).

If the strength of youth is faith, then one who is spiritually strong is one who possesses this hearty trust in and dependence upon Christ.

And this is strength! By faith in Christ we are strong to withstand the fiery darts of the devil. By faith in Christ we are strong to overcome the world and its pressures. By faith in Christ we are strong to wage war against our old man of sin. By faith in Christ we are able to bear up under heavy burdens. By faith in Christ we are able to carry out our callings in life. By faith in Christ we are able to be strong and courageous leaders.

Young men, you are strong! Because you’ve received the gift of faith!

Read the rest of this edifying article in the October 1 issue of the SB. And if you are not yet receiving it so as to read it, visit the subscription page of the website and get signed up!

The Destructive Power of Idols – Derek Thomas

The three cultural giants of the nineteenth century – Ludwig Feuerbach, Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche – insisted that mankind is fueled by a propensity to idolatry. Of course, in their eyes, Christianity is an example of such idol worship. But they were right in pointing to this human weakness and failure. Calvin said the same when he wrote in his Institutes of the Christian Religion that the human mind is a perpetual factory of idols.

An idol is something or someone inflated to function as God. Sometimes conservative Christians are little better at identifying idols than modern secular individuals.

Yet the prohibition is clear.

You shall have no other gods before me. (Ex.20:3)
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)

Isaiah will return to this theme again in chapter 45, speaking of those who carry gods around, praying to those that have no power to save (Isa.45:20).

Ancient idols required the sacrifice of a life. Make no mistake: modern idols do too. Idols want all of you. They promise everything and deliver nothing. We sacrifice to them, and they in turn manipulate and control. Idols are abusive and tyrannical. They cheat like the characters in a trashy daytime soap opera.

Not only that, they are powerless to save, heal, or restore. They offer hope and a purpose but return only disappointment and guilt. Like the One Ring, so captivatingly referred to as ‘the Precious’ in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, idols allure and beckon only to return to total, uncompromising evil.

We may find it hard to believe that Israel would be so allured by man-made objects so as to displace the Lord who had saved them. But the truth is, we give our allegiance to idols, too. We sacrifice to them. We believe they will bring us true and lasting purpose. They go by different names: money, power, houses, ambition, sports, or leisure.

As an antidote to this idolatry, Isaiah called upon God’s people to consider the Lord. He alone offers something better and surer – a new thing [Isaiah 43:19-21]:

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.

Strength-weary-thomas-2018Taken from Derek W.H. Thomas’ new book Strength for the Weary (Reformation Trust, 2018), chapter 2 “Who Rules the World?” based on Isaiah 43:10-11 (pp.28-30).

Servants of the Lord in Our Daily Occupation

On this Monday evening of Labor Day 2018, we consider some pertinent thoughts of PRC pastor (now emeritus) Rev. Arie denHartog, who, writing in the Sept.1, 1984 issue of the Standard Bearer(Vol.60, #20), expressed himself on the idea of serving the Lord in our daily occupations this way:

Even as we must serve the Lord in all areas of our life so also we must serve Him in our daily occupations. In fact, of course, for most of us our daily occupation takes up most of the time and energies of our life. We must not imagine that we need to serve the Lord only in church. Our service in the church is of supreme importance. Without serving the Lord in church we cannot serve Him in any other area of our life. That we are servants of the Lord must have a tremendous effect on how we conduct ourselves in our daily occupation. The apostle Paul speaks of this most beautifully in Ephesians 6:5-10.

Servants be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye service as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing that any man doeth, the same shall receive of the Lord whether he be bond or free. And ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your master also is in heaven; neither is respect of persons with Him.

As long as we are on this earth we have a calling to labor in an earthly occupation. Our Lord despises the sluggard and the man who refuses to work. It is through laboring with our hands the thing that is good that the Lord blesses us with material things. Through these things we are enabled of the Lord to raise up a Christian family and to provide a home and provisions for such a family. But our earthly occupation is secondary. It is only temporary. Above this we are called to be the servants of the Lord in His everlasting kingdom which is manifest here already on this earth. We must use our earthly occupation even for the purpose of seeking the kingdom of our God and the glory and righteousness of that kingdom. We must in our earthly occupation live righteously and holily before the Lord, for this is our highest calling.

Good thoughts to keep in mind as we start or continue this work week – with our eye on our heavenly Redeemer-Master.

To read the rest of his article, visit the PRC website link below, or the SB one above.

Source: Servants of the Lord in Our Daily Occupation

Becoming What We Behold – B. Thune

Today before our worship services I did some more reading in the August 2018 issue of Tabletalk. Besides reading a few more articles on the featured theme (“The Lord is My Shepherd” – Psalm 23), I also read a couple of the regular columns. That included the one titled above by Rev. Bob Thune, for the rubric “Heart Aflame.”

Thune writes about our ongoing calling to be conformed to the image of Christ, an aspect of our sanctification. And, perhaps a bit surprisingly, he ties it to our worship. This is what he says about that connection at the beginning:

Deep within every true Christian is a longing to be more like Christ. We are not content as we are; we want to be changed. This longing comes from the Holy Spirit, who not only gives the new birth (John 3:5–8), but fills regenerated people with a zeal to glorify God (Rom. 8:1–5).

The question is, How can we become more like Christ? The biblical answer to this may be surprising to us pragmatic modern folks. We tend to look for methods, strategies, and action points. But the Bible teaches that we become like Jesus as we worship Jesus.

And then, toward the end of his article, he points us to three ways in which this transformation through beholding Christ in worship takes place. Here are his thoughts:

Here, then, are three biblical ways we can purposefully worship the Lord and be changed into His likeness.

  1. Contemplation/meditation (reflecting on God’s worth). The Bible urges us to think on the Lord (Ps. 1:2; Phil. 4:8). In contemplation, we slow down our minds and hearts to ponder God’s goodness. We mull over His promises, allowing them to sink into our souls. We read His Word thoughtfully, pondering its implications for our lives.
  2. Praise/thanksgiving/singing (declaring God’s worth). The Scriptures encourage us to make our praise explicit by singing and making melody to the Lord (Ps. 96; Eph. 5:19). When we sing, we join our voices together to testify to God’s worth and beauty. Singing also lightens the heart and engages the body in purposeful worship of God.
  3. Obedience/action/service (displaying God’s worth). The Bible is clear that our worship of God must find tangible expression in works of merciful neighbor-love (Isa. 58; James 1:27). As we serve the church, help the poor, and meet the needs of others, we demonstrate that Jesus is our true treasure (Matt. 6:21) and we learn afresh that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

We become what we behold. So, empowered by the Holy Spirit, let’s behold the glory of the Lord Jesus by meditating on His Word, singing His praise, and obeying His commands. The more clearly we see Him, the more we will become like Him.

Having been in the house of the Lord for worship today, we find these thoughts fitting and applicable as we face a new week of striving to be like our Savior. Let us behold our Lord in these ways and then behold how He works in us to make us more like Him.

Source: Becoming What We Behold

Strength for the Weary: The Blessedness of the Sabbath – Derek Thomas

Recently I received a new title from Reformation Trust (publishing arm of Ligonier Ministries), which website gives this summary of the book:

In Strength for the Weary, Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas explores the final chapters of Isaiah, laying out the remarkable promises that God makes to His people. In these pages, there is consolation in the struggles of this life and encouragement for the road ahead. The God of Comfort has promised to be with His people always.

I have appreciated and been blessed by Derek Thomas’ writing in the past and tonight I began to read in it, jumping ahead to chapter 6, “A Well-Watered Garden,” an exposition of Isaiah 58, which includes promises concerning God’s sabbath. Concerning these Thomas has some fine thoughts about how we ought to approach the sabbath as NT Christians.

First, he deals with the general question, “What obligation do Christians have to law keeping?” In part he says this:

Are Christians obligated to keep the moral law? A negative answer here will find us on the wrong side of something that Jesus makes very clear [Here he quotes John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”]

We are obligated to obey everything God commands. And obedience results in joy. That is what Isaiah is insisting in this chapter. There is an essential delight about walking in the paths that God has established.. Lawbreaking never ultimately satisfies. [And here he quotes from Psalm 19:7-11.], p.95

But, then, second, the author gets specifically at the sabbath question, putting it in proper biblical perspective for us:

The Sabbath is, after all, a creation ordinance. It is part of the created rhythm of the cycle of the first week. Work is followed by a day of rest. In the new covenant, and following perhaps a gospel logic, the order is reversed: rest is followed by work.

To approach this issue of Sabbath keeping from the perspective of ‘What is God forbidding me to do on the Sabbath?’ is essentially wrongheaded. It is a bit like Satan’s suggestion in the original temptation in Eden. If God prohibits eating from one tree, He might as well prohibit from all trees. Hence Satan’s statement to Eve that all trees were out of bounds (Gen.3:1). The very form of the question suggests God doesn’t really want His creatures to experience any real joy at all. The additional restrictions Satan imposed revealed him to be a legalist at heart.

And legalists never experience joy.

Do we ever think of the Sabbath (Lord’s Day) as ‘a delight’?

And it is not the Sabbath itself that is the ultimate delight but the God whom we meet in worship on the Sabbath. He is our chief delight. The Sabbath brings us near to Him and He to us. And there can be no greater joy than that.

It is God’s gift to ensure our liberty from the slavery of the unrelenting demands of work. The gift of the Sabbath is the gift of a day given to worship and rest and the blessings that flow from it. It is the greatest gift imaginable. To doubt it suggests we have never really known the blessings of God-centered worship and the freedom and joy that it brings.

The Sabbath is designed as help for the weary. It provides a taste of gospel rest and a foretaste of eternal rest. [pp.96-97]

Is that what we experienced today? Did we delight in God’s appointed day of rest? And did we enjoy its great blessings then? Good things to think about as we end the sabbath.

Source: Strength for the Weary: Derek Thomas – Hardcover, Book | Ligonier Ministries Store

Blessed Are the Meek – Rev. C. Haak

Beatitudes-1

This week’s message on the Reformed Witness Hour radio/Internet program (Sunday, June 17, 2018) was “Blessed Are the Meek” by Rev. C. Haak, pastor of Georgetown PRC.  Radio pastor Haak is currently doing a series on the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-12, and this past Sunday he spoke on the third one as recorded in Matt.5:5, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

The audio file of the message is linked above on the PRC website and it may also be found on the RWH’s website and on her Sermonaudio channel.

Tonight I post a portion of the transcription of the message, finding it fitting for our reflection today.

 Meekness is the result, it is the fruit, of being poor in spirit and of knowing what it is to mourn before God.  It makes one receptive in his heart before God.  In one word:  meekness is the absence of pride.  A meek heart is the antithesis, the opposite of pride.  It is the opposite of stubbornness and fierceness and vengefulness.  Meekness is the dethroning of sinful pride and making us now teachable of God, gentle toward one another, submissive to God, confident and strong in God and in His faithful love to me.

Not only does one not assert himself, but he also sees the sin of that.  A meek person does not glory in himself.  He is not always interested in himself.  He is not watching always after his own interest.  He is not always on the defensive.  He is not always saying, “What about me?”

Beloved, by nature, we spend our whole life watching out for ourselves.  We worry about ourselves and what others are going to say about us.  We talk to ourselves.  We say, “You’re having a hard time.  Too bad people don’t understand you.  How wonderful I am and if only people would give me a chance.”  That is pride.  The meek are self-emptied people.  They are not defending the citadel of me.  They are lowly before God.  They are ready to leave everything in the hands of God, to leave themselves, their rights, their cause, their whole life, in the hand of God.  Meek.

This meekness will be seen in the attitude that we carry.  The fruit of meekness is, first of all, seen in an attitude toward God, an attitude of submission and quietness.  How often do we not struggle with the sovereign ways and the sovereign will of God?  I am not talking, now, of accepting our sinful ways or being indifferent.  But I am referring to the fact that God sovereignly appoints my portion in this life.  He arranges my life, personally and in my family, and economically, in all the details of my life.  Very often we struggle with that.  We find it very hard to be submissive to the way and to the will of God.  That is our pride.

Meekness, now, is submission, submission to the great God of heaven.  And, thus, meekness is strength!  The meek person is strong because he knows that God is holding him up.  We read in Psalm 147, “The LORD lifteth up the meek:  he casteth the wicked down to the ground.”  In meekness we are able to bear God’s chastenings in quietness and hope.  We are able to do that with a meek and a quiet spirit.  There is an example of this in the Bible.  I bring to your memory the high priest called Aaron.  Aaron’s two sons had been killed by God for offering strange incense in the tabernacle.  They had worshiped God in a manner that He had not prescribed.  And God consumed them in fire.  God, then, told Moses to tell Aaron that Aaron could not mourn over his sons.  He had to submit, in his grief, to the hand of God.  And Aaron did.  Now Aaron was far from perfect.  The Bible makes that plain.  The Scriptures tell us of all of his faults.  Yet God gave to Aaron a meekness.  He suffered quietly before God.

…The second fruit of meekness is our attitude toward others.  Meekness makes us the most approachable persons on earth.  Not bristling in pride, not sharp, cruel, spiteful.  It is the meek in Christ with whom you feel a great kinship.  Meekness attracts others.  Meekness is mildness of manner, gentleness, harmlessness.  Remember what we read in Matthew 11:28.   The Lord said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.”  Why?  “For I am meek and lowly in heart.  You are safe with Me,” said Jesus.  “Because I am meek, you may come to Me.  I’m not dangerous.  You may set your heart upon Me.”

Still more.  In meekness, we will bear patiently the insults and the injuries that we receive at the hands of others.  In meekness we will not become inflamed, vindictive.  In meekness we will not assume a demeaning attitude toward those who differ with us.  We will not show ourselves to have a harsh, censorious temperament.  We will not enjoy finding fault in others.  Meekness will be seen in gentleness, humility, and patience.  It is the absence of retaliation.  It is the absence of paying back.  It is the absence of saying, “They’re gonna get theirs.”  No, it is longsuffering and patient, especially when we suffer wrongfully.  Then we will be meek.  Listen to Galatians 6:1.   “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”  The Word of God is saying that only a spirit of meekness qualifies you to deal with another who may be embittered and resentful, to deal with someone who has fallen away.  You can deal with such a person only in the spirit of meekness.  Meekness means that you are emptied of yourself.  You are dependent upon and submissive to God.  You are gentle and you are teachable.  Blessed are the meek, said Jesus, for they shall inherit the earth.

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The Law in the Psalms: “It is grace to know God’s commands.” ~ D. Bonhoeffer

psalms-1

The three Psalms (1, 19, 119), which in a special way make the law of God the object of thanks, praise, and petition seek to show us, above all, the blessing of the law. Under ‘law,’ then, is to be understood usually the entire salvation act of God and the direction for a new life in obedience. Joy in the law and in the commands of God comes to us if God has given the great new direction to our life through Jesus Christ.

…It is grace to know God’s commands. They release us from self-made plans and conflicts. They make our steps certain and our way joyful. God gives his commands in order that we may fulfill them, and ‘his commandments are not burdensome’ (1 John 5:3) for him who has found all salvation in Jesus Christ.

Jesus has himself been under the law and has fulfilled it in total obedience to the Father. God’s will becomes his joy, his nourishment. So he gives thanks in us for the grace of the law and grants to us joy in its fulfillment. Now we confess our love for the law, we affirm that we gladly keep it, and we ask that we may continue to be kept blameless in it. We do that not in our own power, but we pray it in the name of Jesus Christ who is for us and in us.

Psalms-prayer-book-BonhoefferQuoted from Psalms, The Prayer Book of the Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Augsburg, 1974), a translation of Das Gebetbuch der Bibel (the 8th ed. published in Germany in 1966). These thoughts are found in the eighth section, “The Law” (pp.31-33), where the author continues to treat the Psalter according to classification by subject.