Typology in Psalm 18

This is a somewhat roundabout response to RINE, pp. 176 to the end of the chapter. Wilson is making his point with regard to Psalm 35 “Judge me, O Lord my God.” I am changing the text slightly to deal with something more sharp: Psalm 18.

Psalm 18 also has vindication language in verses 20ff. However, it would be a rare Christian who could pray this prayer comfortably. There are three main ways that people go with it. One is to downplay in an abstract sense the extent of the author’s righteousness, and say that he was as faithful as he could be, and that the text does not claim for David a perfect righteousness. The second way is (noting the historical background of this Psalm), to say that David’s righteousness is comparitive to Saul’s. In my opinion, this is better than the first interpretation, which does not take into account the historical background. However, there is a third interpretation, which is better yet, in my opinion. That is, that David is speaking typologically of being justified in Christ’s perfect righteousness. I believe that it is true that Christ is the ultimate Singer of the Psalms. The terms of the passage are fairly eye-opening: “my righteousness…kept the ways of the Lord…have not wickedly departed from my God…I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.” Two other signs point in a Messianic direction. The first is verse 43 “You made me the head of the nations.” The second is the last verse “to David and his offspring forever.” In other words, I interpret the language of vindication in the Psalms messianically. One could also say it is proleptic with regard to being justified by Christ before Christ came. The same argument can definitely be made regarding Psalm 26.

In other words, I am not necessarily saying that the thrust of page 176 is wrong. I am saying that it needs this additional nuance. The interpretation of the Psalms does not lead in a direct line to our own application, by-passing Christ. Wilson points in this direction, actually, when he mentions the key qualification introduced by Psalm 143:2 and 130:3.

Query: what does Wilson mean by “justifying vindications” on page 178, third full paragraph? Does this imply some sort of process justification?

I must take issue with his phrasing on page 179. The paragraph seems to indicate that since we do not have access to election in the mind of God, that therefore we should look at things through the lense of the here and now covenant. I was just reading in Turretin something very helpful indeed. He said that the secret decrees of God do not always remain secret. What God has ordained becomes visible when it actually happens. So, although we cannot know our election a priori, before the event, we can most certainly know it after conversion, a posteriori. This gets at what is a serious bone of contention between the FV and its critics: can we know that we are decretally elect? The answer is yes, as long as put the previous qualifications on it. This in no way hints at an uncertain assurance. Rather it hints at the way in which we can say that we know what God’s decree states after the fact. In the eschaton, we will know much more of the secret decree of God, since the finality of all things will have come to pass. I certainly do not want to say that we will know all the secret decree of God. But we will know more of it. God’s secret decree is called secret only before it has been revealed. God’s decree is revealed in God’s providence. Therefore, we can speak in terms of God’s decree, and not just covenantally.