Psalm 107:1-2, 8-9
1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
I remember singing as a child, and occasionally as a college student (the differences frighteningly small), the little chorus “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” Even into the middle of college, it barely struck me that the ones Christ had redeemed were to do something more than shout the word “So!” at the top of their lungs. However, a little deep inspection of the language (I thought I might amount to being a scholar one day) helped me to see that the point of this verse was that those who are redeemed by the Lord are to tell others about the fact that they are redeemed.
(For other similarities between college students and children, think back packs and naps.)
Now, looking a little further down the page in Psalm 107, I see a great type of testimony. God satisfies the hungry soul. God fills the longing soul with good things. These thoughts are not far removed from the initial call for those of us who are redeemed to say so, to tell others about our redemption.
Now comes the part that convicts me this morning: How guilty am I, in evangelism, of not telling the ones with whom I share about the fact that God satisfies the hungry soul, filling my life with good things? I do a pretty good job of explaining a legal understanding of penal substitutionary atonement. I love to help people to understand that we have infinitely offended an infinitely holy God with our sin, that such infinite sin deserves an infinite punishment, and that only an infinitely holy substitute could ever free us from the infinite wrath that we so richly deserve. And, without a doubt, such a concept must be communicated in genuine evangelism with the truth of Jesus, God the Son, making himself our perfect sacrifice, dying in our place, rising from the dead, and inviting us to be saved by his grace through faith in him. But what about all those good things from verse 9?
Why is it that I shy away from telling someone about how God has satisfied my hungry soul? Why is it that I fail to tell them about how God fills my life with his goodness? Perhaps it is that I do not wish to fall into the sort of prosperity gospel (which is in fact no gospel) that is so often preached by men and women with goofy smiles, big hair, too much make-up, and a sappiness to their voices that is like fingernails on the chalkboard of my nerves. Perhaps I am trying to be careful not to allow the “I’ll try Jesus and see if he works for me” sort of false conversion experience that Ray Comfort preaches against so well.
Whatever my motivation, I’m not quite right. Psalm 107 is a clear indicator that we are to testify to the world about what God has done for us. Verse 9 makes it clear that part of that testimony is to be of the good things that God has given us. No, I’m not talking about health, wealth, and prosperity; I am, however, talking about the goodness of the joy that he has placed in our lives. I need to be careful not to forget to testify of God’s heart-filling goodness. I need to share with the world that I am happy, that I have joy, that my life has more meaning than I ever thought possible because I have been redeemed by Jesus’ sacrificial penal substitutionary atonement.
Where do you err? Are you, like me, so focused on the legal aspect of our salvation that you forget to share joy? Are you, unlike me, so focused on the benefits of Christ that you forget to tell people that they are sinners, under God’s wrath, and in need of his grace? Let’s do what we can to balance this rightly. Let’s learn to preach the whole gospel. Let us tell of how God has saved us from his own justice by sending Jesus to die in our place, paying our penalty. But let us also tell of the joy, of the good, of the heart-filling and mind-blowing peace we now have in our lives because we are the redeemed of the Lord. With both the legal aspects and the heart aspects in mind, let the redeemed of the Lord say so!