For God is the King of all the earth: sing you praises with understanding.
Judaism was not fitted for universality. Its rites, its laws as to meats and drinks, its localization of worship, gave it the character of a national rather than a universal religion. Yet it was by Hebrew prophets that the idea of a universal religion was propounded. Taught of God, they were able to rise above what was local and exclusive, and to rejoice in foresight of the latter-day glory, when Jehovah should be "King of all the earth." The fulfilment is in Christ, whose coming was hailed, not only as "King of the Jews," but as the "Light of the Gentiles," and the Saviour of the world. Christianity, not the Christianity of the Creeds or of any particular Church, but the Christianity of Christ, is the faith for all nations. The fact that the Bible is so fitted for translation into all languages; that the rites of the gospel are so simple and so adapted to all countries; that the laws as to Church government are so few, and so capable of being worked out according to the needs of different peoples, might be urged as arguments for universality. But there are other and stronger reasons. Christianity is fitted to be the faith of all nations, because of -
I. ITS REPRESENTATION OF GOD. It has been truly said that "Christianity alone of religions gives a clear, self-consistent, adequate view of God. It alone discloses and promises to man a complete communion with God." The cry of Philip, "Show us the Father," finds in Christ a full response (John 14:9). "In creation God is a God above us; in the Law he is a God against us; but in the gospel, he is Immanuel, a God with us, a God like us, a God for us."
II. ITS DOCTRINE OF SALVATION. The evil that presses upon men everywhere is sin. How can it be taken away? The answer is," Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." Our character and life depend upon our beliefs. Belief in Christ not only secures pardon and reconciliation with God, but restoration of purity. In the Gospels we have not only the doctrine, but facts that authenticate the doctrine. The great conversions of St. Luke (Luke 7:48; Luke 19:9, 10; Luke 23:43) are samples of what Christ has done and is doing (1 Timothy 1:15-17), and what he begins he will perfect.
III. ITS IDEAL OF HUMANITY. We have not only the Law, but the life (Matthew 5:1-11; 1 Peter 2:21). Christ not only gives us the ideal, but shows us how that ideal may be realized (Matthew 15:24-27; Titus 2:11-13). Thus in Christ God comes down to man, and man is raised up to God. The promise is unto all, without respect of persons.
IV. ITS BOND OF BROTHERHOOD. What force, and commerce, and ecclesiasticism, and all human devices failed to do, Christ has done. He treats men simply as men, and by his Spirit binds them together as brethren. The wall of partition is broken down. The divisions formed by pride and selfishness are abolished, and all the world over "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free," but all are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
V. ITS CONSOLATIONS AND HOPES. Here there is comfort for every troubled heart. Christ is our Hope. To use the words of Arthur Hallam, "I see that the Bible fits into every fold of the human heart. I am a man, and I believe it to be God's book, because it is man's book."
VI. ITS PROMISE OF IMMORTALITY. This is the climax. Godliness has the promise not only of the life that now is, but of that which is to come. The vision rises bright before every Christian. "Days without night; joys without sorrow; sanctity without sin; charity without stain; possession without fear; society without envying; communication of joys without lessening; and they shall dwell in a blessed country where an enemy never entered, and from which a friend never went away." Therefore we pray with increasing fervour, "Thy kingdom come." - W.F.
Parallel VersesKJV: For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
WEB: For God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with understanding.