Here is another gospel Psalm, in which the Holy Ghost, by the pen of his servant David, describes the Lord Jesus Christ as the glorious Mediator, head, and King of his Church. He is first described as Him by whom Jehovah made the world; and then he is pointed out both in his kingdom of providence and kingdom of grace; and a demand is made upon the heavenly gates to receive this glorious Mediator, returning from the great work of redemption with triumph and holy joy.
A Psalm of David.
The sovereignty of Jehovah over the universe is here beautifully set forth by right of creation; and all the inhabitants, in like manner, are his by the same right, as their Author and Maker. And the sovereignty of the kingdom of grace is also as beautifully set forth, inasmuch as God hath created all things by Jesus Christ, so hath he redeemed his church and his people by him. Hence he hath given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as he hath given him. John 17:2.
The Prophet having thus established the lawful right of the Mediator, as Lord of all, by virtue both of creation and redemption, to universal dominion, he here looks above the earth to the heavens, and contemplating the gospel-church, as represented by the holy hill of Zion, he puts the question, Who is the man that shall be found worthy for communion here with God, and the everlasting enjoyment of him hereafter? Reader, pause over the question. It is a solemn one; and when, you have duly pondered it, go on and attend to the answer the Holy Ghost hath given in what follows:
Who is this? Where is the man that can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from sin? Proverbs 20:9. Where shall we look among all the fallen sons of Adam for one to answer this description? All have sinned, and come short of God's glory. But there is a man, whose name is Wonderful, and who hath been found worthy, as the representative of our poor nature, both to ascend and to dwell there; even Jesus, the Glory-man, the God-man, who, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:3. How sweet that hymn in heaven, in consequence of all this, Revelation 5:8-9. Reader, pause again here, and observe in proof, that it is Jesus, and him alone, of whom this scripture speaks, that it is a single person here spoken of; and as of none but of Jesus could it ever be said, that he had clean hands and a pure heart, so it is a sad perversion of this precious scripture, to suppose it refers to any but him. Moreover, it prompts the vanity of men's minds, to fancy themselves something when they are nothing, if we look off Jesus, in supposing it can, in a single instance, be applied to any other.
This becomes a confirmation of the above: for who, but Jesus, can receive the blessing? What blessing? The blessing of covenant-redemption, surely, must be meant, and which includes every other. Hence Jehovah saith, and saith it in reference to this redemption by the Mediator, - My righteousness shall be forever, and may salvation from generation to generation. Isaiah 51:8. And doth not Jesus call God the Father the God of his salvation? Psalms 88:1; Psa_21:1-5. These are precious things. Michtams indeed, if read with an eye to Christ: but if we throw Him into the back ground of the subject, or, what is much the same thing, join ourselves with him, as though our persons are meant, and our obedience and faith, and the like, make us such characters as the one here described, we sadly corrupt this scripture, and offer a most unbecoming tribute to gratify the pride of our nature. I have dwelt the more upon this point, for two important reasons. The first is, because I am more and more convinced, every day I live, that the one design of the Holy Ghost, through all the scriptures, is to glorify the Lord Jesus (John 16:14); and the other reason is, because the life of all comfort lies in the conviction and enjoyment of this most blessed truth, that it is the perfect righteousness of Jesus, which justifies the persons of his people; and that it is this righteousness in which they are beheld and accepted before God, and which is unto all, and upon ail, them that believe. Romans 3:22.
Reader, do remark, in confirmation of what went before, that here is now a change of persons. The two preceding verses treated of one person, and one only. Here we have a plurality of persons, even a generation. And what doth all this mean, but that the generation of Christ seekers, even that seed of Christ which God the Father promised him (Isaiah 44:4-5; Isa_53:10), and concerning whom Christ himself speaks (Psalms 22:30.) shall, by virtue of his righteousness, and their right and title in that righteousness, from their union with him, be admitted also upon his holy hill, and enjoy all the privileges of his redeemed? Reader, it is beautiful, it is glorious to see our interests thus clear and incontrovertible, from our oneness with Christ. Here is all safe, all is secure. But if our admission into God's holy hill here below in church communion, or our everlasting admission into the heaven above, depended upon our clean hands and a pure heart; or even taking into our view Christ's righteousness, as a partly-procuring cause to make our hands clean and our hearts pure; when will any man, that knows what passes every day within, find confidence of ever ascending there? Surely nothing short of the righteousness of Christ himself, as the very righteousness in which his seed and the generation of them that seek his face, are accepted and justified, can give comfort now, or confidence in the day of judgment.
What a sublimity there is in these blessed words; and what a rich treasure they contain, in reference to the person and glory of our almighty Mediator! So important a doctrine was the triumph of Jesus, that God the Holy Ghost was pleased to shadow it forth in the Old Testament church, when the ark was conducted with all the splendour and gracefulness of holy worship to Mount Zion. See 1 Chronicles 15:1-29 etc. But the glorious, event itself was accomplished when the Lord Jesus Christ, having finished redemption-work upon earth, ascended to his throne in heaven. The disciples, and those that looked on, when Jesus gradually went up from the Mount of Olives, in presence of the many who were gathered together, saw, and wondered as they beheld, and were no doubt absorbed in contemplation, until the clouds received him out of their sight. Acts 1:9. But they knew not what was going on in heaven, but which this scripture records. Perhaps angels; or perhaps the church of the redeemed above, who had died in the faith of Christ before the wonders of his redemption had been wrought; perhaps both angels and the spirits of just men made perfect, were those who demanded the gates and everlasting doors to lift up their heads, at the approach of the almighty Conqueror. For angels, we are told, are at the gates of the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:12. And, surely, the souls of the redeemed in glory, who had gained entrance there by virtue of Christ's blood and righteousness, must have been longing with holy desires for the return of the Lord Jesus, Supposing then, that this holy company were those who demanded the gates to open; or supposing it was Jesus himself, how suited is the demand, by way of gracing his triumph! Angels kept the gates of heaven, and angels had kept the way to the tree of life, when man was turned out of Paradise. Genesis 3:24. Jesus had opened that way, by his blood, into the holy place, and now demanded entrance as our forerunner, into the holy place not made with hands, even heaven itself, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:11-12. The inquiry, Who is this King of glory? seems to have been made with a view to heighten the triumphs of the Lord. Angels, when Jehovah brought his first begotten into the world, were commanded to worship him. And now, when he is returned from the spoils of war, and hath led captivity captive, let all heaven adore him. Who is this King of glory? Pause, Reader, contemplate that King of glory in thy nature; and while thou art beholding him, who is one with the Father over all, God blessed forever, in the essence of Jehovah, behold him no less the Man, even thy brother, in the nature of manhood; and by the union of both in one person, even Christ, thus behold the king of glory, at whose approach those gates and doors, which but for him would have been everlastingly shut, were thrown open, and Jesus entered as the forerunner of his people, to take possession in their name. Oh, the astonishing mercies of redemption! Oh, the miracle of miracles contained in the love of Jehovah to our poor nature, as manifested in Jesus Christ! But Reader, let us not dismiss the subject yet. The Holy Ghost hath caused the demand for the opening of heaven's gates to be twice made, at the entrance of Jesus, and as often the answers of the glories of his person and victories to be made. Well may we therefore go over them again. And is there not, besides Christ's entrance into glory, another beautiful sense of these words, and, without violence to their meaning, capable of being made of them? Doth not the Lord Jesus demand admission into the hearts of his people, when, as he saith himself, Behold I stand at the door and knock? Revelation 3:20. Doth he not find in every individual instance of his redeemed, the door resolutely shut against him? And unless he who demands entrance puts in his hand by the hole of the door, and opens for himself, would not the heart remain everlastingly shut and bolted against him to all eternity? Song of Solomon 5:4; John 1:11-12. Blessed Jesus, how precious is it to know thee to be both King of grace, and King of glory!
READER, short as this Psalm is, yet what glorious things are contained in it! What volumes are folded up in its bosom. Here is enough to excite inquiry, and to exercise contemplation upon the person and work of Jesus to all eternity.
Let us seek grace to gather every improvement from it, which God the Holy Ghost evidently designed, in causing it to be written for the use of the church; and while we learn from it, that the earth, and all its inhabitants, the lower and the higher world, the kingdoms of nature, providence, and grace, are all his right, both as one with the Father, God, and by donation as God and man, Mediator; let us cheerfully give our God and Saviour the glory due to his most holy name, and know that none but the man Christ Jesus ever had, right in himself, from the perfect holiness of his nature, to ascend the holy hill; and the only claim of his people is founded in him. Reader, let us pray for grace, that we may tremble to seek acceptance in any other way. Let Jesus have all the glory, for the whole work hath been his.
And blessed it is to look to Jesus, as a whole Saviour, to whom we come in the last moment of our pilgrimage state, as we came the first moment we found our need of a Saviour, poor and needy in ourselves, and made rich only in him.
And oh! thou glorious Holy One, before whom heaven's gate and everlasting doors were thrown open for thine entrance, give me to see, Lord, that every bar and obstruction which stood in thy way to my heart thou last thrown down. Do thou, blessed Jesus, for thou art strong and mighty, even the Lord mighty in battle, do thou drive out the strong men armed, that have kept me so long in the vassalage of sin. Come in, thou blessed Lord! wherefore standest thou without. Take full possession of my poor heart, and bring down every thought into captivity, and every imagination to the perfect obedience of thee, my God. Oh for grace to be thine now, and thine to all eternity. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 24". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29