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The Psalms Versus Common Grace (4)

After considering Psalms 5 and 11 by David, Psalm 73 by Asaph and Psalm 92, a “Sabbath day” song, we return to a Davidic psalm, Psalm 69 and especially verses 20-28.

All agree that Psalm 69 is a messianic psalm. Verse 9a (“the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up”) is quoted in John 2:17 with reference to Jesus’ first cleansing the temple. Verse 9b (“the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me”) is cited by Paul in Romans 15:3 regarding Christ’s sufferings. Verse 25 (“Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents”) is quoted by Peter in Acts 1:20 against Judas, who betrayed our Lord. Verse 21 is alluded to in all four gospel accounts of Christ’s suffering on the cross (Matt. 27:48; Mark 15:36; Luke 23:36; John 19:28-30).

Read Christ’s amazing prayers to God (Ps. 69:22-28). “Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap” (22). There is no common grace here! The physical good things of food and drink which are served at the “table” are not given to the reprobate wicked in love; they are given in God’s judgment, as a “snare” and a “trap” (22). Jesus prays for the spiritual blindness of His reprobate enemies: “Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake” (23). Psalm 69:22-23 is quoted in Romans 11:9-10.

Psalm 69 opposes the free offer, an alleged desire of God to save the reprobate. In verse 24, Christ prays that the wicked be punished in hell: “Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.” In verse 27, Jesus prays that they not be justified and forgiven: “Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.” In verse 28, our Lord prays that they have no part in the roll of heaven: “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” Christ’s prayers are only for the elect: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine” (John 17:9). Christ’s prayers are only against the reprobate (Ps. 69:22-28).

Like Psalm 22, Psalm 69 is a song of the cross. Christ’s petitions to God (22-28) come just after verses in which He is reproached by His enemies (19-20), left without comforters (20) and given vinegar to drink on the cross (21). This passage teaches the biblical and Reformed doctrine of particular atonement. Especially since Jesus prays for the destruction of the reprobate (22-28), including Judas (25; Acts 1:20), while He was on the cross, He did not die for everybody. As He bears God’s wrath against the sins of His people, Christ opposes the notion that God wants to save everybody (Ps. 69:23-24, 27-28). While suffering hellish agonies on behalf of His church, Christ even made time to pray against the reprobate wicked and oppose the error of common grace (22). Thus Psalm 69 teaches Christ’s particular atonement, particular intercession and particular grace for the elect alone. It even presents Christ praying against common grace and the free offer as He is crucified (22-28). 

The only way to know God’s love and blessing is through faith in Jesus Christ. Because of the fall, the human race is under the curse of God. By His effectual, saving death on the cross, the Lord Jesus bore God’s curse for His people so that God’s blessing comes to those who are in Christ. Any doctrine of a love of God or a blessing of God for the reprobate, not only denies God’s perfect justice—for how can God love and speak good about totally depraved, reprobate sinners?—but also slights the glory of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. Christ alone mediates God’s love and blessing to believers! Thus, the philosophy that God loves and blesses people outside of Jesus Christ attacks the gospel. If God really loves them—and His love is divine: eternal, unchangeable and powerful—surely He will not allow them to perish in hell. Thus the advocates of common grace, especially as they go further down this line, are increasingly teaching that there is a sense in which Jesus died for everybody or even that Christ actually died for all men head for head. Believing in a love of God for all and a cross for all, it is more and more being suggested, and even affirmed, that those who remain in other religions or none may ultimately be saved.

The canonical significance of the book of Psalms is that it is the church’s song book, a book of worship, devotion, praise and prayer, as we lift up our hearts and voices in melody to God. Psalms 5 and 11 teach a hatred of God for some and oppose a love of God for everybody. Who would sing this? Psalm 73 and 92 are against the notion that the good things that God gives to the reprobate come out of a divine love for them. Many would not want to worship the Almighty using these inspired words. Psalm 69 contains the prayers of Christ on the cross against common grace and the free offer. Sadly, this Word of God in the church’s inspired song book offends many professing Christians.

Do you worship God singing these Psalms? David did. Asaph did. The church in the Old Testament and New Testament did. Many faithful churches do today. However, many slight the Psalms and especially those Psalms that we have been considering. Such Psalms would kill the supposed worship of many professing Christian churches. The #1 heresy in modern, evangelical, uninspired hymnody is a universal love of God. Most hymnbooks are filled with it. John and Charles Wesley wrote their hymns to promote Arminianism’s universal love of God and to attack predestination. The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster’s hymnal is riddled with Arminian ideas ( and most hymnals are worse. As a church departs, the Psalms are first slighted and then largely ignored; in come the Arminian hymns, designed to present a nicer, cosier god and to make people feel good. Let us return to the Psalms and their humbling presentation of the glory of God and His sovereign, particular grace in Jesus Christ, over against common grace and the free offer. 

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Additional Info

  • Volume: 12
  • Issue: 6
Stewart, Angus

Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)

Ordained - 2001

Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001


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