Justification by Works
Psalm 18:20-27
The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands has he recompensed me.…

Why did God delight in David? The Psalmist declares that the ultimate reason was no arbitrary favouritism, but that God delighted in His servant because of his personal faith and character. David asserts the sincerity of his desire to please God; he asserts the uprightness of his conduct before God. The spirit of this appeal is far removed from Pharisaism; it is not an outburst of self-complacency and vain gloriousness, but the legitimate expression of conscious integrity. If the grace of God has done anything for us, why should we not simply and candidly realise and express the fact? Nothing succeeds like success, and we are ignoring a fountain of inspiration when we timidly shut our eyes to, the clear evidences of the victories of the inner life. To the glory of God's grace let us honestly acknowledge to ourselves and others the growing dominion of righteousness in our soul.

1. God deals with us as we deal with Him. "Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me." God had dealt with him as he had dealt with God. He trusted God, and God delivered him; he loved God, and God delighted in him; he served God, and God honoured and blessed him. This is ever the great canon of the Divine rule. As we love God, He will love us. "We love God, because He first loved us"; but having known His love, there is a very true sense in which its proportion is henceforth determined by the measure of our reciprocation. As we trust God, He will succour us. A great faith sinks Alpine ranges to a plain, it crosses Atlantic depths dryshod. The lack of such faith entangles us in many embarrassments and miseries. As we serve God He will requite us. According to the measure of our love, faith, and service shall be our safety, strength, and bliss. Are any poor in joy, grace, power, and peace? Let them act more generously towards God.

2. God deals with us as we deal with one another (see vers. 25, 26). The great truth taught in these verses is, that God's dealing with us is regulated by our dealing with one another. This is the clear, hill teaching of the whole of revelation. How mistaken are those who imagine spiritual religion to be anti-social. It is a common complaint that religious faith is a weakening, impoverishing, disintegrating influence in social life: the love given to God is supposed to be subtracted from our love to humanity; the service rendered to the kingdom of God is considered as so much filched from the service of humanity. No mistake could be greater. God does not judge us apart from society, but strictly in and through our relation to it. As we deal with our brother the great Father deals with us. Some people are religious without being good; that is, they are not kind to their fellows, just, generous, truthful, helpful. This will not do. A true Christian is both religious and good. God does not test us by our ecclesiastical life, but by our social, human life. Social duty and spiritual prosperity are closely related. When we suffer stagnation of spiritual life we search for the reason in the neglect of Church fellowship or worship, the reading of God's Word, or of the sacraments; but the reason will just as often be found in our failure to do justly and to love mercy in our social relation.

3. God deals with us as we deal with ourselves. "I was also upright before Him." As we honour ourselves by keeping ourselves pure, God honours us by abundance of grace and peace. There is a true sense ill which He accepts us according to our own valuation. If we reverence our body, hallow our gifts, prize our fair name, esteem our time and influence as choice treasure, God follows up such self-respect by great spiritual enrichment and blessing. If we would realise the fulness of blessing we must respect ourselves and keep from iniquity.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

WEB: Yahweh has rewarded me according to my righteousness. According to the cleanness of my hands has he recompensed me.

God's Interpositions
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