For Lord’s Day, June 15, 2014
In the morning service last Lord’s Day, we learned that we must respect our authorities as those God has set over us to represent His own rule over us. Vern Poythress writes something in his book, The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses, that is helpful to meditate on to be able to better respect our authorities.
We must resist the modern temptation to rebel against all authority whatsoever. Such modern rebellion is rooted ultimately in rejection of God’s authority … We need to reject many ideas of modern culture to accept God’s Word.
Considering this call to be counter-cultural so as to be truly submissive to King Jesus in the holy culture of His church, may we think about how we respect our authorities in family, church, and state with this verse in mind: Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! … (Isaiah 45:9). Surely, we can understand that to strive with God’s rule over us through His appointed rulers above us will never give us peace. We will never have contentment with a life of strife. The opposite of what the world says to do to have contentment is actually what brings contented peace: to deny one’s self by being content with Christ. Remember, Paul says contentment is a learned behavior (Philippians 4:11). Thomas Ridgeley gives us practical advice on learning such contentment in Christ:
… a man’s happiness does not really consist in the abundance of what he possesses, but rather in his having a heart to use it aright.
Is your heart aright? You’ll know if you use God’s gifts correctly (including tithing, as we’ll study tomorrow morning in Exodus). If your heart is aright with your God-given possessions, and thus happy, you will see you have an entirely different world view. As Dr. Richard Gamble (one of my RPTS profs) writes, the Tenth Commandment (demanding “holy contentment”) “… gives the believer a different philosophy of life.” May you perceive this truth as you survey with spiritual eyes that ” … the world is a scene of vanity”, as Ridgeley also said. He wisely added, “God denies us earthly things so we lay up treasures in heaven.” Indeed, in heaven is where Christ is (Col. 3:1-3), so our lives there hid with Him can only be content on earth when we set our affections heavenward.
But do we find contentment all the time? No. We grievously break this commandment not to covet (or, not to be discontent) constantly. May this sad truth yet lead us into our study tomorrow evening of that reality (taught by the Larger Catechism 149) with the spirit of Chuck Baynard’s confession: “Friends, this commandment [Thou shalt not covet] will drive us to Christ constantly and continuously.”