“Whole Psalm. How admirably balanced are the parts of this missionary song! The people of God long to see all the nations participating in their privileges, “visited with God’s salvation, and gladdened with the gladness of his nation” (Ps 106:5). They long to hear all the nationalities giving thanks to the Lord, and hallowing his name; to see the face of the whole earth, which sin has darkened so long, smiling with the brightness of a second Eden. This is not a vapid sentiment. The desire is so expressed as to connect with it the thought of duty and responsibility. For how do they expect that the happy times are to be reached? They trust, in the first instance, to the general diffusion of the knowledge of God’s way, the spreading abroad of the truth regarding the way of salvation. With a view to that, they cry for a time of quickening from the presence of the Lord, and take encouragement in this prayer from the terms of the divinely appointed benediction. As if they had said, “Hast thou not commanded the sons of Aaron to put thy name upon us, and to say: The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord cause his face to shine on thee and be gracious to thee? Remember that sure word of thine. God be gracious unto us and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us. Let us be thus blessed, and we shall in our turn become a blessing. All the families of the earth shall, through us, become acquainted with thy salvation.” Such is the church’s expectation. And who shall say it is unreasonable? If the little company of a hundred and twenty disciples who met in the upper chamber at Jerusalem, all of them persons of humble station, and inconspicuous talents, were endued with such power by the baptism of the Holy Ghost, that within three hundred years the paganism of the empire was overthrown, one need not fear to affirm that, in order to the evangelisation of the world, nothing more is required than that the churches of Christendom be baptised with a fresh effusion of the same Spirit of power.”
– William Binnie.

{William Binnie, Scottish Presbyterian (August 20, 1823 — September 22, 1886) was ordained to the ministry in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland by William Symington (author of Messiah, the Prince) in 1849. He served as a Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at the College in the Craigs of Sterling and later (1875) became Professor of Church History and Pastoral Theology at the Free Church College in Aberdeen. He wrote several works but is most well-known today for The Psalms: Their History, Teachings and Use (1870), which was highly commended by Charles Spurgeon and is available today at Solid Ground Christian Books.}

“Verse 6. Then shall the earth yield her increase. An increase of wealth is but the natural result of increased piety and intelligence. There are certain qualities essential to temporal prosperity. These are industry, economy, moderation; and such are the qualities begotten of godliness. . . . Nor is it an unreasonable expectation that our globe should, under the reign of righteousness, yield all those temporal advantages of which it is capable. Science, favoured by piety, may greatly add to the earth’s fruitfulness; and mechanical genius may still farther abbreviate human toil, and increase human comforts. The great inventions and discoveries of science, by which toil is lessened and comfort enhanced, are all the product of Christian minds… Can we, then, doubt that in the era to which we look forward, labour shall cease to be a burden? Can we believe that the life of the labouring classes is to continue to be all but a ceaseless round of toil and vexation—every hand stretched out to procure something that is needed, or to ward off something that is feared? Scripture predicts the mitigation of the curse; and, in the discoveries of science, and the inventions of mechanics, we see the means by which the prediction is to be accomplished. This consummation may still be in the distant future; but if we do not grudge the oak years for its growth, the glory to be revealed is surely worthy of a process as gradual.”
-William Reid, in “Things to Come Practically Considered,” 1871.

“Verses 6-7. The promise refers directly to the visible fertility of the renewed earth at the time of Israel’s recovery, but it includes a fuller reference to higher things; for the true increase yielded by any of God’s works is the revenue of praise which redounds to his holy name. Such, then, is the promise I have to bring before you. In its widest sense, the lower creation is now made subject to vanity, because of man’s sin; but in the kingdom of Christ this curse will be removed, and all God’s works will yield their full increase—a tribute of unmingled honour and praise to his name. Let us consider (1.) The preparation for this increase. (2.) The increase itself. (3.) The blessing of God, which will crown it.
I. THE PREPARATIONS FOR THIS INCREASE. What are the means? What is the way of its accomplishment? Whence does it proceed? Our Psalm is full of instruction. Consider—

1. Its fountain: the free mercy of God. The Psalm begins, God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us. Whatever the details and steps of the work of redemption, all must be traced up to this original fountain, the sovereign grace and mercy of our God… The eternal, free, unchangeable, inexhaustible mercy of our God revealed through his dear Son Jesus Christ; this is the fountain head of the blessed increase here foretold…

2. The order in which this increase is granted may next be considered. Salvation is given to the Jew first, and then also to the Greek. The prayer of this Psalm is, Cause his face to shine upon us; that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. It is the divine plan first to choose his people and bless them, and then to make them a blessing, as we see in Abraham, the father of the faithful. It is through his church that God blesses the world… The same principle is true in every revival of pure religion… But all this order of divine mercy has yet to be more fully seen in what is before us; in the restoration of Israel, and in its effect upon the world at large…

3. The immediate precursor of this increase is the return of our Lord from heaven, the coming of Christ to judge the earth and reign over all nations. The Psalm calls all nations to rejoice in this: O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. … The world craves, and will crave more and more for righteous government. The Lord has promised to supply this natural want of the human heart, though he take vengeance on his hardened enemies. Even in the coming of the Lord to judgment, goodness will so finally triumph that the nations are to be glad and sing for joy… It is the Lord judging the people and governing the nations, and all the people praising him, that prepares directly and immediately for the promised blessedness. Then shall the earth yield her increase.

II. THE INCREASE ITSELF. This increase has many aspects. Let us view them in a climax of benefits.

1. Natural fertility. The first sentence of curse and barrenness, of thorns and thistles, was pronounced on Adam’s fall, and renewed on Cain’s murder. It seems to have been specially removed after the deluge… Even now, two thirds of our world are ocean, incapable of increase; half of the rest, and perhaps more, is almost desert, and of the remainder the largest part is very imperfectly tilled. There is room, even in the latter, for a vast increase, when the whole earth might become like the garden of the Lord.

2. The redemption of art. Its activity, its talent, and discoveries are now great and wonderful; but it is mainly turned to human self sufficiency and vanity, and bears little fruit to God’s glory and the highest benefit of man. But in the period predicted in this Psalm, every creature, when redeemed to man’s use, shall be also reclaimed to God’s glory…

3. The redemption of science….

4. Society will yield its increase to God…. Men now live as without God in the world, full though it be of proofs of his wisdom and love… What a change when every social circle shall be a fellowship of saints, and all bent to one great purpose, the divine glory and the blessedness of each other.

5. The soul shall yield its increase. The earth is only the figure of the human heart, a soil ever fertile for good or evil. Thus the apostle, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, regards it: “For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God; but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.” Then the thorns and briers of a crooked and perverse generation will cease… The fruits of righteousness will abound from the human race to the glory of God. Much praise, much zeal, much reverence, much humility, will distinguish his servants. Faith, hope, and love will all be in the fullest exercise. Christ will be all and in all, and every power will be consecrated to him. This is the best increase the earth yields to God.

6. The large number of God’s true servants, thus yielding themselves to him, is another part of this blessedness…

7. The perpetuity of this increase has to be added to this glory. This is according to the promise made to the Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

– Condensed from Edward Bickersteth’s Sermon in the “Bloomsbury Lent Lectures,” 1848.

by R.C. Sproul
Every Christian wrestles with the question, how does the Old Testament law relate to my life? Is the Old Testament law irrelevant to Christians or is there some sense in which we are still bound by portions of it? As the heresy of antinomianism becomes ever more pervasive in our culture, the need to answer these questions grows increasingly urgent.

The Reformation was founded on grace and not upon law. Yet the law of God was not repudiated by the Reformers. John Calvin, for example, wrote what has become known as the “Threefold Use of the Law” in order to show the importance of the law for the Christian life.1

The first purpose of the law is to be a mirror. On the one hand, the law of God reflects and mirrors the perfect righteousness of God. The law tells us much about who God is. Perhaps more important, the law illumines human sinfulness. Augustine wrote, “The law orders, that we, after attempting to do what is ordered, and so feeling our weakness under the law, may learn to implore the help of grace.”2 The law highlights our weakness so that we might seek the strength found in Christ. Here the law acts as a severe schoolmaster who drives us to Christ.

A second purpose for the law is the restraint of evil. The law, in and of itself, cannot change human hearts. It can, however, serve to protect the righteous from the unjust. Calvin says this purpose is “by means of its fearful denunciations and the consequent dread of punishment, to curb those who, unless forced, have no regard for rectitude and justice.”3 The law allows for a limited measure of justice on this earth, until the last judgment is realized.

The third purpose of the law is to reveal what is pleasing to God. As born-again children of God, the law enlightens us as to what is pleasing to our Father, whom we seek to serve. The Christian delights in the law as God Himself delights in it. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). This is the highest function of the law, to serve as an instrument for the people of God to give Him honor and glory.

By studying or meditating on the law of God, we attend the school of righteousness. We learn what pleases God and what offends Him. The moral law that God reveals in Scripture is always binding upon us. Our redemption is from the curse of God’s law, not from our duty to obey it. We are justified, not because of our obedience to the law, but in order that we may become obedient to God’s law. To love Christ is to keep His commandments. To love God is to obey His law.


1. The church today has been invaded by antinomianism, which weakens, rejects, or distorts the law of God.
2. The law of God is a mirror of God’s holiness and our unrighteousness. It serves to reveal to us our need of a savior.
3. The law of God is a restraint against sin.
4. The law of God reveals what is pleasing and what is offensive to God.
5. The Christian is to love the law of God and to obey the moral law of God.

Biblical passages for reflection:
Psalm 19:7-11
Psalm 119:9-16
Romans 7:7-25
Romans 8:3-4
1 Corinthians 7:19
Galatians 3:24

1. Calvin, Institutes, bk. II, 1:304-310.
2. Calvin, Institutes, bk. II, 1:306.
3. Calvin, Institutes, bk. II, 1:307.

Excerpt from Essential Truths Of The Christian Faith by R. C. Sproul ©(Tyndale 1992)