“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)
The Basket Case Chronicles #136
“After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come”” (1 Cor. 11: 25-26).
Jesus picked up the cup in the “same manner” as He had done with the loaf. We have two elements but one sacrament. He said something through the bread, and then He said the same thing again through the wine. The bread and the wine are therefore synonyms—they both refer to Christ sacrificed. The bread represents His body, and the wine represents the life of His body.
In the third chapter of 1 Peter, the apostle Peter says this:
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Pet. 3:12).
This verse is found right after the section where the apostle Peter taught us about marriage. In the first part of this chapter, he had said that wives ought to honor and respect their husbands fully, and that husbands ought to live with their wives with knowledge, and to do so in a way that honors their wives. While in the verses that follow he has widened the scope of his discussion, what he says here is still immediately relevant to the question of how a Christian man and a Christian woman should live together.
The Lord has prepared a Table for us, and this Table is like all His other works—beyond marvelous. The Table is set simply—red wine and simple bread.
The Lord teaches us that this bread represents His body, broken for us. This wine represents His blood, shed for us. His physical body was broken outside Jerusalem two thousand years ago, but His mystical body is gathered here in this room. We are knit more closely together in that body as we, in love, partake of these elements that are, strictly speaking, not His body. But we are, strictly speaking, His body, and He is the Head of it.
The Bible also teaches that the body and blood of the Lord was a ransom payment (Mark 10:45; 1 Tim. 2:6). This payment was made, not to the devil, but rather to the holy wrath of the Father. This is how we were redeemed. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19). So Jesus Christ died as a propitiation, turning aside the wrath that we entirely deserved (1 John 2:1-2).
The Bible teaches that the heart is deceitful above all things. But when the heart lies, who is it that is being lied to? Well, the answer is that the heart has ears as well as a mouth, and the heart tells lies because the heart loves to hear them.
Self-deception is a real mystery. How is it possible for the deceiver and the deceived to be the same person? How can you tell yourself a lie, intending to do so, and then, upon hearing it, believe it? It doesn’t make sense, but of course, if it made sense, it wouldn’t be sin.
There has been a goodish bit of Internet response to this short video. A number of men were asked for their take on Reformed hip hop artists, and their response was overwhelmingly negative.
In that negative response, there were some fair points — the cult of perpetual immaturity that cool always tends to foster, the need to make a clean break with the rebellion that birthed the genre, the truth that musical forms matter, and so on. But surrounding the decent takeaway points, there was an overall failure to make appropriate distinctions, with the end result that the body of the criticism falls flat. A better and more thoughtful interaction by Russell Moore can be found here, which you probably ought to read if you want my comments below to make any sense.
What is rap for? What are the rules of the genre, and what is being attempted? I would argue that the natural form of rap is that of prophetic denunciation — the jeremiad. Now, by prophetic I do not mean the Strange Fire stuff, but rather the William Perkins stuff. As prophetic denunciation, the bulk of it should be apologetic and evangelistic, directed outwards, and not standard fare for believers.
Now, having said this, the fact that there are standards for the genre means that people can fail to meet them, and they can fail to meet them in different ways. If rap excels (if it excels) at the prophetic denunciation, this means that you have to deal with the fact of false prophets — those who denounce all the wrong things, however well they do it. Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, was a false prophet, but he may have done a really fine job with the horns of iron he made. “And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them” (1 Kings 22:11). Craft competence is not the only issue. I doubt if Micaiah spent any time at all trying to get his pants to droop the way Zedekiah’s did.
In a moment I will be going into the kitchen to lift the turkey out of the fridge for Nancy, in the full and certain expectation that she will do the rest. This year we are not celebrating at our house, but will be driving a ham and a supplementary turkey across town to celebrate with the kids.
And all of it is a celebration of gratitude. But thanksgiving ought not to be treated like a massive blanket that you throw over all the good stuff you like. No, the biblical pattern that is modeled for us is that of the grateful heart and its deep desire to itemize. Praise Him, sun and moon (Ps. 148:3). Praise Him, dragons and deeps (Ps. 148:7). Praise Him, fire and snow (Ps. 148:8). Praise Him, all you crawling insects (Ps. 148:10). God has created the world in such a way that if we set our hearts to thank and praise Him for “all things,” we will never be in danger of running out. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18).
I am grateful for my family. I have a blessed marriage and a wonderful person to share it with. My children are all grown, they all have godly spouses, and they are all walking with the Lord. There is no greater joy than when children walk in truth. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). On top of that, we have 16 grandchildren, who are faithful Christians also, each in their station. “Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel” (Ps. 128:6).
When we gather for worship, one of the things we do every week is kneel together to confess our sins. But one of the problems with doing something regularly is that you can come to believe that you are doing it. The Word of God tells us that we are to rend our hearts, not our garments.
When we kneel to confess, we want to make sure that we are not standing up in our hearts. Our external posture is one of the things that God gives us to discipline our hearts—it is not to serve as a substitute replacement for our hearts. Body and soul are supposed to be going together, they are supposed to be doing the same thing.
We come to this meal in grateful anticipation of what God has in store for all those who love Him, and who love His appearing. In this meal, God gives us Himself, but He does it by giving us tokens of what shall be.
The marriage supper of the Lamb, at the great consummation of all things, will be a meal that we will experience with all five senses, and probably some other senses we didn’t know we had. God is giving us Himself here, and we rejoice in it, but in another important sense, He is just tiding us over. The meal that is to come will be staggering beyond anything we could hope to comprehend now.