Jesus taught that the first and greatest commandment was to love God with all one’s being (Matt. 22:37-38). Because He made known that loving God properly is the greatest priority of all, believers must focus foremost on loving God in their lives.
In keeping with that supreme priority and based on much Scriptural teaching, contemporary theology, preaching, teaching, and music all highly stress loving God because of what He has done and is doing to provide salvation for sinners through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. Similarly, believers today highly emphasize loving God for His care for His own.
Although appreciation for God’s providing salvation for sinners and for His caring for His own are both certainly reasons that we should love God, they are not the only reasons we should do so. To understand why, we must consider a key command that David gave to all believers:
O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer” (Ps. 31:23).
David here does command all believers to love God because He preserves the faithful (31:23a-b). He, however, does not stop there; he adds that all believers must love God also because He plentifully rewards the proud doer (31:23c).
To understand further this teaching from God, we must consider a closely related statement in the Psalms:
Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud (94:2).
Psalm 94:2 makes clear that God is the Judge who rewards the proud by judging them. Based on the teaching, therefore, of Psalms 31:23 and 94:2, every believer must love God for His work as the Judge who fully repays proud doers!
Psalm 31:23 thus provides us with a vital insight into an essential aspect of our loving God. Because God gives us this truth in His inspired hymnbook, the Psalms, we must adjust our music so that we teach believers this truth through our singing.
Our theology, preaching, and teaching must also be adjusted so that we properly instruct all believers that loving God properly involves loving Him both for caring for His own and for judging the proud (cf. Paul’s love for the appearing of the Lord, the righteous Judge [2 Tim. 4:8]). Doing so, we will help disciple them fully to be the saints that Jesus wants them to be (Matt. 28:18-20).
Let us all love God properly by loving Him because He is the Judge who plentifully rewards the proud doer.
 Many other passages confirm that His doing so is His judging. For examples, see Leviticus 26:19; 1 Samuel 2:3-10; 2 Samuel 22:28; 2 Chronicles 32:25; Psalms 75:7-10; Proverbs 15:25; Isaiah 2:11; Daniel 5:20; and Luke 1:51.
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