THE REVELATION OF MULTIPLE BLESSINGS AND HAPPINESS<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are becoming new." (II Corinthians 5:17)
On January 1st of each year, many people make New Year's resolutions. They may feel like they are starting over, and they resolve to "turn over a new leaf" in matters such as exercise, what they eat, what they do, and how they act. It is reported that the most common "New Year's Resolution" is to lose weight. No amount of "resolving," however, helps a person stop sinning! The Bible, which Martyn Lloyd-Jones called the most up to date and relevant book in the world, clearly declares that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Sin is like a disease which is always fatal. We inherited sin from our original ancestors, Adam and Eve, who disobeyed God's commands and passed on this dread, fatal disease to all of their descendants. It is in our DNA! Because of sin, we ultimately will do sinful things. There is only one way revealed in the scriptures to begin anew, or, to start over. That is to be in Christ.
When a man or woman IS in Christ, the scriptures reveal many blessings and much happiness that is his/hers.
The very first Psalm reveals that this "new creation" is "blessed." In fact, the word translated "blessed" is, according to Charles H. Spurgeon, a very expressive one. It actually is a plural in its original translation. Therefore, it could be read: "Oh, the blessednesses" that are appertaining to the new creation in Christ Jesus. Although a sinner, he has now been "washed in the blood of Jesus," made alive, or quickened by the Holy Spirit, and, indeed, made new in his heart. Although this person retains the "old nature," he is, nevertheless, a new creation. There are three (3) specific results of this new creation: (1) He does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly; (2) he does not stand in the way of sinners; and, (3) he does not sit in the seat of the scornful. One positive characteristic is that his delight is in the law of the Lord on which he meditates day and night.
Dead in Trespasses and Sins
There are two (2) types of people that are revealed in the first Psalm the godly and the ungodly. One might also say that the first Psalm is talking about those who are "alive in Christ"; contrasted with those who are "dead in their trespasses and sins." You can easily see that this is not just making a New Year's Resolution to "clean up one's act," but a "new creation" - a complete change of person.
Those who are dead in their trespasses and sins walk in the counsel of the ungodly. They stand in the way with sinners. They sit in the seat of the scornful. The Great Expository Preacher of the 19th Century, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, noted the progression in how people who are dead go from bad to worse. They are living in sin. Spurgeon said that "at first, they merely walk in the counsel of the careless and ungodly, who forget God the evil is rather practical than habitual." Then they become habituated. They stand in the way of open sinners who willfully proclaim sinfulness. They have gone from bad to worse. At first, they may merely have walked with those who maintain, for example, that it is okay to kill your unborn child. In America, in the 20th Century, as abortion was made "legal," in the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade, as well as, follow-up decisions by the United States Supreme Court, it is estimated that since 1973 and today, somewhere between 35,000,000 to 40,000,000 babies have been killed. There have been as many as perhaps 60,000,000 people killed. Defenseless little babies! At the end of World War II, men recoiled in utter revulsion to learn that perhaps 6,000,000 Jews had been killed by Nazi Germany. Today, in America, we are exponentially worse. In the course of this time, many doctors and politicians have walked in the counsel of the ungodly and have forgotten the sanctity of life itself.
Standing in the Way of Sinners
The gradation of this Psalm points out that once people have begun to walk in the way of the ungodly, they do not find any problem in standing in the way with sinners. If left alone, they will go even further and become themselves pestilent teachers and tempters of others. Charles Spurgeon, who has been frequently called the Prince of Preachers, describes their condition as "true Doctors of Damnation" and are looked up to as "Masters of Belial." God's people can have no communion and no fellowship with such characters as these. Light and darkness cannot have fellowship together. Oh, why can we not learn this truth? "Oh, for grace to be separate from theses sinners," said Spurgeon.
Sitting in the Seat of the Scornful
Finally, they no longer have any pretense of godliness. These ungodly persons take their seat at the table of the scornful. He has become a scorner. It is said that the scorner has "brought all religion and moral feeling to an end, in reference to himself." He has taken his seat! "He is totally and utterly confirmed in impiety and actually makes a mockery of godliness. His conscience is seared, and he is a believer in all unbelief." The wicked plotteth against the just and gnasheth upon him with is teeth." (Psalm 37:12) The wicked cannot let the righteous alone, because there is "enmity between the serpent's seed and the seed of the woman." (Genesis 3) Thus, the progression in ungodliness has brought him to be a "Master of Belial."
The Positive Characteristic
The man or woman who would be godly shuns these avenues and is blessed. Indeed, according to the Great Expository Preacher of the 20th Century, Dr. D. Martyn-Lloyd Jones, he "delights himself in the law of the Lord." This new creation delights in God's law. He delights to do God's will. He walks in God's law. He reads it by day and thinks upon it by night. "The law of the Lord" is the daily bread of this true believer. Multiple blessedness and happinesses are his. When God has determined to awaken and make him His child, he is to show himself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, but rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (II Timothy 2:15)
What about you? Are you a new creation? Is your delight in the law of the Lord? Do you meditate on His law day and night, that you may observe to do all that is contained therein? The Apostle Paul, writing to the Church at Colossae, said, "If we then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of the Father. Set your affections on things above and not on things of this world." What are your affections set upon? What are you seeking?
Secondly, this new creation shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. Thirdly, he shall bring forth his fruit in due season. Fourth, his leaf shall not wither. And finally, whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. What a contrast! This person is not dead but alive. Indeed, this new creature is not even like a wild tree, but is like a planted tree. He has been chosen; considered carefully; cultivated and secured. Indeed, "God has blessed him with spiritual blessings from before the foundation of the world."
(1) Notice also that drought does not affect this person because he is like a tree planted by the rivers of water. He has rivers of pardon, and rivers of grace, and rivers of promise, and rivers of communion with Christ that are never failing sources of supply. So even if it is dry all around him, he receives the water of life from God Himself.
(2) Thus, this new creature brings forth his fruit in due season. At the right time of the year, the fruit comes forth, or, to put it another way, he has "patience in the time of suffering, faith in the day of trial, and holy joy in the hour of prosperity.
(3) His leaf also shall not wither. Note that this man who "walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, is a new creation in Christ Jesus, and does not wither. Not only is his fruit preserved, but even his leaf does not wither. He is planted by rivers of water. He doesn't even appear to grow old. As Spurgeon says, "He shall neither lose his beauty nor his fruitfulness."
(4) "And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Prosperity is, of course, desired by all. But not all are willing to do what is necessary to prosper. It has been said by many in talking about athletic contests that it is "not the will to win that is important, but it is the will to prepare to win that is important." Here, we see that as this man delights in the law of the Lord, he receives the truthful blessings, and the multiple blessings and happinesses that are his. Among these are prosperity. Not only is it earthly prosperity, i.e., not merely outward prosperity that we receive, but it is soul prosperity. Even trials and tribulations become a blessing to the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, to the man who is a new creation in Christ Jesus. We know that, for the holy scriptures tell us that God works all things together for good to those that love him, to those who are the called according to His purposes. God is making us like Jesus, especially in the midst of trials and tribulations, and we learn from Hebrews, as well as Proverbs, that every child of God that He loves He disciplines. We also see that "all who seek to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." These are things that prune the tree and cause it to grow even stronger and to become more like Jesus.
There is a contrast set forth in this first Psalm. This is the contrast between the godly and the ungodly. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes this contrast as "the tree that is alive" and "the chaff that is dead." Chaff is what is left over once the wheat has been gleaned from the plant. Chaff is nothing but refuse or rubbage. It is garbage; it is what is left that is of no use. It is dead! This is what the ungodly are described as here. They are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. It is actually described in the Latin Vulgate and the Septuagint version more forcibly. The description is "not so the ungodly, not so." It is as if it is (doubly) strong. The ungodly are not so and cannot be so. This is a double negative put upon the ungodly. They are like chaff, intrinsically worthless, dead, unserviceable, without substance, and easily carried away. The wind drives them away.
They Cannot Stand in the Judgment
Though they stand in the way of sinners, and walk in the way of the ungodly and sit in the seat of the scornful, they shall not stand in the Judgment. Their only standing will be at the bar of justice to be judged, not to be acquitted. Fear and horror shall lay hold upon them. They will not be able to stand their ground. They shall be covered with eternal contempt. They will not stand in the Day of Judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. Unconverted sinners will not be admitted into heaven. They could not live in heaven, for they would be out of their element just as a fish could not live upon a tree out of water.
The Ultimate Result
Verse six of the Psalm says, "For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish." We see in II Timothy ". . . the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, the Lord knows them that are His. And let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." God knows those that are His. He knows the very number of hairs on your head. He will not suffer any evil to befall us. As Job says in Chapter 23:10, "He knows the way that I take: When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." "Notice the contrast, however, for the ungodly, the way of the ungodly shall perish." Spurgeon said, "Not only shall the ungodly perish themselves, but their way shall perish too." "It is as if the ungodly plows the sea, and though there may seem to be a shining trail behind his keel, yet the waves shall pass over it, and the place that knew him shall know him no more forever. The very "way" of his passage shall perish." "If there is any remembrance whatsoever of the ungodly, it will be for the bad that the ungodly is remembered. The Lord will cause the name of the ungodly to rot, to become a stench in the nostrils of the good, and to be only known to the wicked themselves by its putridity."
So are you making New Year's Resolutions? If in reading this devotional it touches your heart, and you realize that these blessings are yours together with 10,000 more, praise the Lord God. For it is He who has given them to you. If in reading this devotional you realize that you are in need of making a true New Year's Resolution to become a new creation, do so now. You can't just clean up your act. Sin is a fatal disease which is in our DNA, and the only cure is the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses us from all sin. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David rose from the dead to give you life. We are told in I Timothy 1:15 that "this a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief" said Paul. Do you sometimes feel that you, like Paul, are chief among sinners? Resolve to commit your way to the Lord Jesus Christ. Surrender your will to His will in true repentance and place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ in saving faith. Resolve to quit walking in the way of the ungodly, or standing in the way with sinners, or sitting in the seat of the scornful. Take heed to these warnings and the results that pertain to such actions. Delight thyself in the law of the Lord. Meditate on His law day and night, that you may observe to do all that is contained therein. You will be a new creation in Christ Jesus. You will also be like a tree planted beside rivers of water. You shall bring forth your fruit in due season, and your leaf also shall not wither.
May the God of Peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that Great Shepherd of the Sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.
 Charles Spurgeon, "Exposition of the First Psalm"
 Charles Spurgeon, "Exposition of the First Psalm"
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