After Darkness, Light

Lake Geneva has a phenomenal sculpture of influential reformers. Above the picture read the words Post Tenebras Lux – After Darkness, Light.

On October 31st, 1517 an Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral. This marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Germany and many other countries of the world celebrate October 31st as Reformation Day. After the darkness of ignorance, God brought the light of his love. This day marked a watershed in the history of the world. We went from superstition and insecurity to the beauty of faith and assurance.

Every inch of Creation is alight with the fire of God. God in creating us bestows every single one of us with common grace. Jesus succinctly said God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Yet it was his invincible and effective grace that set us free from works, from performance, and from an inherent need to prove ourselves. His freely offered grace brings light into the darkness of our ignorance and lets us know that we are loved.

We opted for darkness and fell from Grace. But God, in his infinite mercy and wisdom, brought light into our darkness. He ended our personal dark age and ushered in the light of his Son.

We are no longer slaves of performance, but sons and daughters who have been justified and adopted freely into God’s family. Martin Luther helped us rediscover the light of God’s love on the cross and the assurance of our vindication.

Terrible Beauty

Psalm 50


1 The Mighty One, God the LORD,

speaks and summons the earth

from the rising of the sun to its setting.

2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,

God shines forth.

3 Our God comes; he does not keep silence;

before him is a devouring fire,

around him a mighty tempest.

4 He calls to the heavens above

and to the earth, that he may judge his people:

5 “Gather to me my faithful ones,

who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”

6 The heavens declare his righteousness,

for God himself is judge! Selah

7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak;

O Israel, I will testify against you.

I am God, your God.

8 Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;

your burnt offerings are continually before me.

9 I will not accept a bull from your house

or goats from your folds.

10 For every beast of the forest is mine,

the cattle on a thousand hills.

11 I know all the birds of the hills,

and all that moves in the field is mine.

12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,

for the world and its fullness are mine.

13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls

or drink the blood of goats?

14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,

and perform your vows to the Most High,

15 and call upon me in the day of trouble;

I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

Read more of Psalm 50


“Surely it was the day of mine espousals”

– George Whitefield, writing on the day of his conversion.


Terrible Beauty

This Psalm is a summons to appear as a witness in court. The court is the courtroom of the Universe. The issue that is to be decided is a family dispute, you could almost say it is between a bride and groom. “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me.” (v. 5)

The term, “The Mighty One, God, The Lord” only appears twice in all the scriptures and both times it is a summons to witness. (Josh 22; Psalm 50).

The beautiful groom beckons us, “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.”

However we have a tremendous problem.

Tremendous Problem

In this relationship we want to bring to the table more than our partner is brining to the table. Yahweh knows full well this is silly. “The cattle on a thousand hills are mine” (v. 10). You actually can’t give to me what is already mine.

The community of faith at the writing of this Psalms was very keen to worship God, not unlike you and I. Much like them we offer God sacrifices that are often unnecessary. What the Psalmist begs us do is, “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,” (v.14).

The only sacrifice that the Lord requires is his people is that that they fulfill their covenant vow to Him.

This tremendous problem scares us. The idea that God would bring judgment seems like a scary concept. However, it soon appears that the judgment scene is not for passing sentence but for bringing truth to light and sinners to repentance.

Terrific Answer

This magnificent husband does not come to bring judgment, but to bear judgment. “You thought that I was one like yourself” (v.21). Often the idea of judgment scares us because we think God is like us. Voltaire jokingly said, “God made man in his image, and we returned the favour.” But this Loyal Love, this Perfect Husband says to his people “I will deliver you” (v.15), “I will show you salvation” (v.23). He is so unlike us that his perfection of beauty is Terrible Beauty.

Faith is this magnificent wedding ring by which we are espoused to Christ. Martin Luther puts it this way:

“Christ and the Soul are one flesh…[I]t follows that all they have becomes theirs in common, as well good things as evil things; so that whatsoever Christ possesses, that the believing soul may take to itself and boast of as its own, and whatever belongs to the soul, that Christ claims as his.”

On the Cross Christ says to us, “All that I have is yours.”

Let us respond to The Lover’s gracious overtures…