Archive for June 21, 2012

Jun 21

An Invitation and a Warning in Psalm 95

2012 | by Trent Hunter | Category: Sermon Follow-Up

In Sunday’s sermon, “Oh Come! Today!,” Ryan unpacked Psalm 95, a psalm with both an invitation to praise God and a warning for failing to do so.

In verses 1-7a, God’s people are called to praise God with joyful singing (v1), but also by bowing down to him (v6). So, in this invitation we find that there are a diversity of proper responses to God. As Ryan said on Sunday, in this psalm, “there is rejoicing and reverence; gladness and gravity; it is full of wonder and weight; it should make us happy and humble; we should want to get loud and low.”

In verses 7b-11, we read a stern warning against unbelief from the example Israel in her unbelief and hardness of heart. He calls them to believe, “Today!” (7b). In Hebrews 3-4, the  author of Hebrews uses this warning to ground a similar exhortation to his readers. This warning, given to professing Christians, brings into focus the importance of continued believing for final salvation.

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
–Hebrews 3:12-15

Did you notice the, “if,” in the second to last sentence of that quote? That’s a big “if.” We belong to Christ now, if we continue believing to the end.

This warning does not technically contract the popular saying, “once saved, always saved.” What it does say, however, is that a failure to continue believing will demonstrate that one has never truly believed in the first place. For that reason, what is often meant by, “once saved, always saved,” is somewhat misleading. There should be no comfort for the persistently unrepentant and unbelieving in any past profession or previous appearance of faith.

Several resources might be helpful to you in mining out the gems from this lofty text. In John Piper’s sermon, “Eternal Security is a Community Project,” he unpacks the implications of this warning for our assurance and for our life together as the church. And on that wonderful word, “Today!”, Charles Spurgeon delivered an entire sermon, available here. That God calls us to continue believing “today,” means that there is still time, for God is patient. And it also means that now is that time, for today is now, but tomorrow is not promised to us. For more messages from DSC on perseverance as a necessary fruit of true conversion, click here. For messages on assurance of salvation, click here.