Vos And Dabney On The Love Of God And Imprecatory Psalms

Over at my own blog I have been writing on this issue. As a pastor I often see and hear how Christians struggle with God’s love and His justice. Many simply wish to ignore the difficulties hoping that they will not have to deal with them and others aren’t even aware of the imprecatory Psalms. When brought to their attention they resort to the oft repeated cliche “God loves the sinner but hates the sin.”

Needless to say that a lack of understanding, appreciation and delight in God’s justice have not only hindered the spiritual growth of the saints but it has also stifled worship of Christ. If only believers would invest as much time in their study of the Triune God, as they do other non-spiritual matters, they would stand in awe and praise of our glorious God in all His attributes and not just the distorted view of His love. This in turn should lead them into a greater appreciation of the cross of Christ and into greater communion with Him.

Johannes Geerhardus Vos:

God’s kingdom cannot come without Satan’s kingdom being destroyed. God’s will cannot be done in earth without the destruction of evil. Evil cannot be destroyed without the destruction of men who are permanently identified with it. Instead of being influenced by the sickly sentimentalism of the present day, Christian people should realize that the glory of God demands the destruction of evil. Instead of being insistent upon the assumed, but really non-existent, rights of men, they should focus their attention upon the rights of God. Instead of being ashamed of the Imprecatory Psalms, and attempting to apologize for them and explain them away, Christian people should glory in them and not hesitate to use them in the public and private exercises of the worship of God.*

There can be little doubt that in this manner the one-sidedness and exclusiveness with which the love of God has been preached to the present generation is largely responsible for that universal weakening of the sense of sin, and the consequent decline of interest in the doctrines of atonement and justification, which even orthodox and evangelical circles we all see and deplore.*

Robert Lewis Dabney:

This age has witnessed a whole spawn of religionists, very rife and rampant in some sense sections of the church, who pretentiously declared themselves the apostles of a lovelier Christianity than that of the Psalmist of Israel. His ethics were entirely too vindictive and barbarous for them, forsooth; and they, with their Peace Societies, and new lights, would teach the world a milder and more beneficent code…All these inventions, then, must be relinquished; the admission must be squarely and honestly made, that the inspired men of both Testaments felt and expressed moral indignation against wrong-doers, and a desire for their proper retribution at the hand of God…Righteous retribution is one of the glories of the divine character. If it is right that God should desire to exercise it, then it cannot be wrong for his people to desire him to exercise it. It may be objected that, while he claims retribution for himself, he forbids it to them, and that he has thereby forbidden all satisfaction in it to them. The fact is true; the inference does not follow. Inasmuch as retribution inflicted by a creature is forbidden, the desire for its infliction by a creature, or pleasure therein, is also forbidden; but inasmuch as it is righteously inflicted by God, it must be right in him, and must therefore be, when in his hand, a proper subject of satisfaction to the godly.*

Anyone know where to find a modern day Vos or Dabney?

Soli Deo Gloria!

*  Quoted by James Adams, War Psalms Of The Prince of Peace: Lessons From The Imprecatory Psalms (Phillipsburg, NJ.; P&R Publishing, 1991), p. 50

* Geerhardus Vos, Redemptive History And Biblical Interpretation ( Phillipsburg, NJ.; P&R Publishing, 1980), p. 426

*Quoted by James Adams, War Psalms Of The Prince of Peace: Lessons From The Imprecatory Psalms (Phillipsburg, NJ.; P&R Publishing, 1991), pp.47-48




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