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  • Writer's pictureJonathan.Crabtree

Third Sunday in Advent

Psalm 81:6, ‘I removed his shoulder from the burden; his hands were freed from the baskets.’

 

Have you ever found yourself praying: ‘Lord, please remove this burden from me.’ I have—countless times. Depending on the Bible translation you’re reading, what comes first: the word, ‘shoulder’ or ‘burden.’ Perhaps the meaning maintains in the variance, but I think there is more significance in reading that ‘his shoulder’ is removed from the ‘burden.’ If we were to diagram this sentence, ‘shoulder’ would be the object of the subject’s [God] verb [remove]. Therefore, the person is the focus of God’s intentions. Or, rather, Israel – in this context – is the focus. Or, even more specifically, humanity, is the object that is the focus of God’s verb.

 

This verse reminds me of Paul’s in 2nd Corinthians, which God answers: ‘My grace is sufficient for you.’ Thus is the season of Advent: When God comes to humanity, not to remove us from the world, but to remove us from the weight of sin’s destructive and oppressive power over us. God’s grace is enough because it is life for us, though we deserve it not.

 

When we pray, ‘Lord, please remove this burden from me,’ know that the Lord hears and provides sufficient grace because we are the object of his actions. John 3.16

 

Questions from Robert Nelson’s work

 

If this is the first time you’re reading this Advent series, please read the first one here. This post provides the context for the readings.

 

Q8 When shall this general judgment be?

 

A, At the end of the world. When the state of our trial and probation shall be finisht, ‘twill be a proper season for the distribution of the publick justice, for the rewarding all those with eternal life, who by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for Glory and honor and immortality. And for rendring to them that obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish.

 

Q9 But if every man upon his death shall be sentenced to an eternal state of happiness or misery, what need is there of a general judgment?

 

A, Tho’ ‘tis plain from scripture, that good men that when they die pass into a state of happiness, and bad men into a state of misery; yet all the declarations of our Saviour and his Apostles concerning judgment with the parables that relate to it, plainly refer to the last and general judgment; for then it is only that the whole man shall be compleatly happy or completely miserable.

 

Then it is that the Bodies of Men shall be raised, and as they have been partakers with the soul either in obeying or offending God, so shall they then share in the rewards or punishments of it; and then only can the degrees and measures of their happiness and misery be truly adjusted, for even after death the effect of mens good or bad actions may add to their punishments, or increase their reward; by the good or bad examples they have given, by the good or bad books they have writ, by the foundations they have establish’d for piety or virtue, or by the customs they have introduced to countenance vice or immorality.

 

Moreover, this general judgment is necessary to display the majesty and glory of our blessed Saviour; that by this publick act of honour and authority, he may receive some recompence for the contempt and ignominy which he met with, from a wicked and ungrateful worl; and that his despised servants may be owned by him in the sight of angels and men, to the great confusion of all those miserable wretches that shall then be doomed to everlasting torments. But I may add further, when God has plainly declared that there shall be a general judgment, notwithstanding that good men upon their death go into a state of happiness, and bad man into a state of misery; ‘tis absolutely necessary men should entirely believe it, granting that they were not able to assign any reason to justifie such a procedure.

 

Q10 To whom has God committed the administration of this judgment?

 

A, The Lord Jesus Christ is constituted by God, to administer the judgment of the great day. God will judge the world in righteousness by that man Jesus Christ whom he hath ordained. The Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His holy angels, and then shall he reward every man according to his work. The Father judgeth no man but hath committed all judgment to his son. The Apostles were commanded to preach unto the people, and testifie, that it is Jesus that is ordained of God to be judge of quick and dead. And the tribunal is called the judgment-seat of Christ. By which text it plainly appears, that tho’ the right of judging us belongs to God, whose servants and subjects we are, yet the execution of this judiciary power is particularly committed to the Son of Man, who is the second person in the blessed trinity.

 

Prayer III

O Lord, raise up, I pray thee, thy Power and come among us, and with great might succour me, that whereas through my sins and wickedness, I am sore lett and hindred in running the race that is set before me, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver me, through the satisfaction of thy Son our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

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